Microsoft’s redesigned Outlook is now available on Windows and the web

Microsoft first unveiled a redesign of its Outlook email app last fall, and now that visual overhaul for the software is available publicly starting today. Microsoft is making it available for the Windows app version of Outlook, as well as the web version. Similar to Google’s recent Gmail redesign, Microsoft will let you toggle the redesign on with the press of a button or revert back to the classic look if you aren’t too keen on the changes.

The company is stressing control and customizability with the refreshed Outlook, so many of the new features and visual changes are optional and can be stripped away if you want a simplified interface that’s far less cluttered than past versions of the software. If you want a more complex system, you can add items to the Outlook ribbon, while a left navigation panel will let you manage multiple accounts, access folders, and switch between your email inbox, calendar, and address book.


Image: Microsoft

In many ways, the redesigned Outlook is taking cues from the mobile version of the app, which, over the years, has become a design-centric and forward-looking venue for Microsoft to experiment with app design and more modern approaches to productivity software. The new Outlook is not yet available on Mac, but the redesign is available now for Windows users in the Targeted program, while Targeted Release users will get it in the next few weeks. You can, however, use the new version of Outlook on the web any time.

Microsoft will keep classic Skype alive ‘for some time’ after user backlash

Last month, Microsoft announced it would be shutting down the desktop version of Skype 7.0, otherwise known as classic Skype, in September and transitioning users and businesses to the redesigned Skype 8.0. Following what the company describes as “customer feedback,” classic Skype will be sticking around for “some time” to “bring all the features you’ve asked for into Skype 8,” per Windows blog Thurrott. Skype 8 was first unveiled as a mobile redesign last year, inspired by trends set by Facebook and Snapchat, and it was widely disliked at the time as well.

The announcement was made by a Microsoft representative on the initial forum post announcing classic Skype’s discontinuation, which had filled with complaints from dedicated users and critics of the new direction of the product. Some users were concerned over product changes like Skype 8’s new all-in-one approach that lacked simultaneous chat window support, and there seemed to be broad distaste for the user interface overhaul and other visual tweaks Microsoft had made to the product to keep it in line with its chat-focused mobile redesign.

While this seems mostly like a case of users feeling discontent with Microsoft’s more forceful exertion of control over a product many people many think works just fine, there are legitimate complaints about the new Skype that may get more readily addressed now that Microsoft is actively listening to feedback and forestalling a discontinuation of Skype 7.