Microsoft Loop launches preview so you can try it for free – here’s how it could help remote working businesses

Microsoft Loop is attempting to solve one of the biggest problems businesses face in the 2020s - how to easily collaborate when working remotely.

Microsoft has launched a preview of its new Loop app in a bid to make remote working easier for businesses and their employees.

Microsoft’s new Loop app is a virtual studio for teams to share, update and sync documents remotely, and it could be a game-changer for those already plugging away on other Microsoft tools.

In a bid to make hybrid and remote working easier (and to keep people off Google Docs), Microsoft Loop ensures all staff are seeing the same documents wherever they are.

Loop pulls in all of Microsoft 365's programmes - such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Copilot - to one place so staff can easily collaborate on projects when in different locations.

Any time the document is changed by someone on the team, it is updated on the Loop Workspace.

Plus, certain elements such as lists, tables and notes, can even be shared outside the Loop, to places like email or in Teams, and the document will be updated in all the places it's been shared.

This eliminates the nightmare of having to re-download, save and delete older versions of assets and wondering - is 'marketing_version53' the right one?!

Wangui McKelvey, general manager at Microsoft, said in a blog post: "The way we work together has gone through significant changes over time. Now, in our current landscape, we encounter more ambiguity and uncertainty than ever, requiring us to co-create in fast-paced and dynamic environments. We need tools that embrace the messiness of our creative process and can adapt to our ever-evolving needs."

There is also an element of Slack in there, with users able to comment on and react to docs. You may or may not find this a positive!

The three elements of Microsoft Loop:

Loop Workspaces: Think of this as a dashboard with all the relevant information to your project in one place. Workspaces have all your pages and components inside.

Loop Components: These are portable documents that are synced so changes are applied to the same document wherever it has been shared. Eg. You've written a to do list in your workspace and then email it to someone outside your workspace. They add another item to the list and the version in the workspace is updated.

Loop Pages: These are the different documents and elements that make up your workspace. You can add relevant items like spreadsheets, briefs, or components to the workspace.

Is Microsoft Loop for me?

If a lot of your team works remotely or on flexitime and they collaborate on projects, it could be a useful tool to keep documents in one place and pool ideas without the ping pong of emails or lengthy Teams meetings.

A lot of businesses already use the free Google Docs and Sheets, which allows people to access the same document online at the same time. Plus there are other free tools such as Slack and Trello, so you may decide that is enough for you if you don’t collaborate lots. The benefit of Loop is that it keeps all programmes and types of documents in one place, so you don’t need an endless list of saved bookmarks on your web browser.

The good news is, Microsoft is offering a free trial for its so-called public preview, so it can gather feedback and improve the experience. Click here to download and try the public preview of Microsoft Loop.

Not all elements are available to preview yet, with workspaces limited to 5GB in space.

Personal Microsoft accounts are also only allowed to create five workspaces and have 50 members in one workspace while the tech is being tested.

Microsoft's AI programme, Copilot, has also not been integrated into the preview version but it will be when the full app is released.

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Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.