Over the last several years, social networks have changed the way we communicate. In our personal lives, we show our approval by “Liking” a friend’s status update on Facebook and we “@Mention” others in a Twitter post to call attention to it. In our workplace, these same social concepts became popular through enterprise social tools such as Yammer. Today we’re taking the next step and introducing Like and @Mention to workplace email in Outlook on the web.
Likes—bubbles up the best ideas
Email is a great way to share and collaborate on ideas, make plans and drive consensus with friends and co-workers. Email threads often grow in length with any number of suggestions, thoughts and counter-points added through the course of a discussion. The new Like feature in Outlook on the web provides an easy way to visibly endorse a specific email and call it out as something worth attention—perhaps a statement or idea you support.
To Like a message, simply click the thumbs-up icon in the reading pane. This turns the icon from gray to blue, notes within the email that you liked the message and adds a thumbs-up icon in the email list view. Anyone on the thread can Like a message, and their Likes are identified and captured within the message as well. If someone likes your email, you’ll receive a notification letting you know.
Likes allow you to easily highlight individual messages.
Mentions—highlights the individual
While the focus of Likes is on specific emails, the focus of Mentions is on specific individuals. When collaborating on email, it is common to call out a specific person for an action or request. Another scenario is adding a person to an existing thread for their attention—perhaps you are on a thread and know that the person who can answer a question was not initially included. Using the Mentions feature ensures that the person is not only aware of the request but is also included in the thread.
To use Mentions, simply add the @ symbol in the body of an email. This will bring up your frequent contacts as well as access to your directory. Select the person you want to highlight, and they will automatically be added to the To: line if they were not already included. In addition, their name will be highlighted in the message in blue and they will receive an @ flag in their inbox view next to the message. Furthermore, they can sort by their @ messages to ensure they respond to all messages in which they were mentioned.
The Mention compose experience—highlight a person for action with the @ symbol.
When you’ve been mentioned, you will have an @ flag next to the message and can sort by Mentions.
Rollout of these changes
The Like feature in Outlook on the web will begin to roll out today to Office 365 First Release customers whose Office 365 plan includes Exchange Online. We expect the feature to roll out broadly to eligible Office 365 commercial customers starting in late October. The Mention feature will begin rolling out to First Release customers in mid-October and broadly to all eligible Office 365 commercial customers in mid-November.
In addition, our Outlook.com users who have been migrated to the new version of the service will start seeing Mentions in the December time frame as well.
Frequently asked questions
Q. When will other versions of Outlook support Likes and Mentions?
A. We expect to roll out the Mention feature to the Office 2016 clients for Windows and Mac, as well as Outlook for iOS and Android, in the first half of 2016. We will provide updates in the expected availability of the Like feature at a later date.
Q. Which Office 365 plans will have access to the Like and Mention features in Outlook on the web?
A. The Like and Mention features will be available to all Office 365 commercial subscriptions that include Outlook on the web, including Business, Enterprise, EDU and Government plans.