Microsoft Loop was one of big announcements at Microsoft Ignite. I wrote about Microsoft Loop, Mesh for Microsoft Teams and other Ignite news in my earlier blog post. Now that I have had more time to think about Loop and the change is brings to collaboration I decided to write a separate post about it. This one. And of course I wanted to give you a heads-up how you can already start familiarize yourself with the Loop. So let’s Loop in!
Microsoft Loop components enable a new way to collaborate and work together. Instead of sharing files, notebooks or relying on chat Loop enables simultaneous way to create and edit content. You don’t have to be working synchronously but work can happen at the same time and synced simultaneously. What is important that Loop enables the “single source of truth” where all changes are visible to everyone participating in the process. When working asynchronously this is a very important piece: we all know we are up to date. Loop is ideal for modern work from that alone.
Loop is based on Microsoft Fluid and can be considered the next evolution version of Fluid, or Fluid v2. The components are live and you can loop them in when they are stored in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online. There will be more Loop components in the future like Voting, Status Tracker, Whiteboard and components that are hosted in business systems like Dynamics 365 or Jira. Some of that is still on the roadmap but overall Loop should appear during H1/2022 : in other words summer 2022. On the road I expect we will be seeing it appear gradually, so we can already Loop people in Teams. For more generic information about Microsoft Loop application, pages, Context IQ and so on please do read my Ignite announcement post.
In this post I am taking a look how you can utilize, manage and discover your Loop Components.
Currently these components are titled Live Components and they are available in Microsoft Teams chat when using Microsoft Teams Desktop app. You have to have access to OneDrive for Business also to be able to use these. At this moment you can see components if you have turned on Public Preview in Teams. I expect that Live Component naming will be replaced with Loop component soon. Unlike in the future, these components must be stored to OneDrive for Business for live capabilities to work. If a component is copied to SharePoint document library it fails to load. This will change in the future, so for now: just use OneDrive.
There are plenty of use cases where you can use these for enable hybrid, synchronous and asynchronous work.
- Team status / daily stand up. Everyone can write their status and plans at the same time. Everyone can see what everyone else is going. Somebody not present at the moment? They can fill in their details later and everyone can see what they added.
- Planning an event, meeting, webinar and so on. Instead of putting ideas to a chat, you can collect agenda and preliminary tasks / responsibilities in the Loop when you create the event together.
- Taking notes while in a meeting. Not everyone remembers to add that OneNote to the meeting to put everyone in the same page. It may be more natural to add notes to a Loop in a chat.
And so on. You can see the theme: working together, collecting ideas, staying up to date. You can even copy the component (or actually you copy the link!) to other chats to engage more people to work and ideate. And when anyone is doing changes, we can see this reflect and sync to all locations where it is used. And sharing happens automatically when it is pasted to the chat.
Let’s get started then! You can see Loop(Live) component icon in the chat toolbar.
When you click on that you can get started.
Let’s pick a table.
When we select the component it is first posted as a draft to chat.
At this point others don’t see it because you haven’t sent the message yet.
Let’s give it a title and some content and Send it.
Now we can see the component is live. The only editor currently is me.
Looking both chats side-by-side you can the following
- Amy can see me (Vesku) is editing it
- I can see Amy is editing it
- I can see Amy is going to edit the first cell
And when I join in the editing we can see
- I am editing the second row (VN displayed for Amy)
- Amy is editing the first cell (AC)
and I can even jump into the cell Amy is editing and add my comments.
To the same component I can add other components. At this point you can realize that this component is a kind of both Loop component AND a Loop page at the same time. But because it looks like a component in the chat, and not a page, it is more user friendly to keep on calling it a component.
Using / we can start adding more content. We can also use the component as a note-taking canvas without even adding a note or paragraph section. Just type in your ideas.
We can add more tables, people mentions, dates, task lists, agenda, Image or checklist.
Adding a date adds a date-picker.
When you select any text you can do formatting to it
Hitting three dots … menu opens the next level menu for more choises.
It is possible to paste pictures to the text, or insert them. It is quite a rich canvas already.
What about planning for a meeting or event? If you add Agenda component you get a cool view.
Agenda, Tasks and Notes are coming to Teams Meetings! You can plan and work ahead your meeting with Loop component “soon”. Whatever Microsoft “soon” means here, but my guess is Q1/2022.
Mobile Teams didn’t have Loop Components yet on my tenant, but you can also use these on mobile Teams chat in the future.
Pin Message is very useful with Loops
You can also Pin Loop components (or any other chat message) to the top of the chat so people can find it easily.
Using message three dots … menu you can choose Pin.
There Amy can see I pinned an another Loop component called Event Planning to the top.
Clicking the pin takes me directly to the message. This is very useful especially with Loop components.
Where are my Loops stored?
You can find them on Office.com or on your OneDrive for Business. They are just files (.fluid) in there. The person who creates these Loops will own them and manage them.
Looking at Office.com we can see them in the recent files list
Those are all three Loops I did use when creating demo videos and testing them. I can see Amy is editing one of them.
Clicking open the Blog post demo Loop I can edit it in web version too. So sharing a link with someone makes it possible to enable them to edit it even outside of Teams.
The exact locations is where every other file shared in a Teams chat is: OneDrive files –> Microsoft Teams Chat Files.
In this list I can see them named .fluid extension. You can copy this one if you want and as long as it is inside OneDrive it is Live and can be shared and used as a Live component. And since it is in the OneDrive it can be recovered from the trash and there is a version history!
There is a version history!
We can get back to the earlier version in case someone made a mistake and wiped out the contents – or perhaps we want to see how the ideation process progressed – or we want to retrieve something from the earlier version.
Managing Loop permissions
You can check out sharing information from the top-right corner. In Teams you can see who has access to this and you can copy the link.
Doing this in a web browser gives you much more control.
And from this point on, you can manage sharing on Loop just like on any other file in your OneDrive
At this point anonymously sharing link is disabled.
Sharing with external user is not working at this phase. I tried sharing to external account, but despite being shared it doesn’t enable editing. You can however to use Loops inside your organization very fluently.
If I go and delete all sharing links to the Loop component people loose access.
From this point forward, the Loop is visible only to you. Don’t remove permissions until you want to “freeze” the contents.