Microsoft Outlook Groups Collaboration Comes to Mac, iOS, Android

Mac and mobile users can now access the collaboration-enhancing Groups feature already available in Outlook for Windows and on the web.

Outlook Collaboration

Microsoft is turning the email inbox into a less insular experience for users of Outlook on macoS, iOS and Android.

The software maker has begun distributing updates for commercial Office 365 customers that will enable the Groups feature that's already available in Outlook for Windows PCs and the web-based version of the software (not to be confused with Outlook.com).

"Groups in Outlook offers huge improvements over traditional distribution lists, with a shared space for group conversations, calendars, files and notebooks, the convenience of self-service membership and much more," stated Microsoft in an April 18 announcement. "Today, we're pleased to announce Groups is now rolling out to Outlook for macOS, iOS and Android. Groups is already available in Outlook for Windows and on the web—so now you can access your group conversations and content no matter which platform you use."

Windows Phone users are out of luck, however.

"We're working on the best way to integrate Groups in Outlook for Windows 10 Mobile," said Microsoft in a related FAQ. "In the meantime, the Outlook Groups app for Windows 10 Mobile helps customers stay on top of all group activities, including conversations, files, calendar and notebook."

The company also released a handful of new features to the Outlook client applications, including the ability to extend guest access to people outside of an organization. Users can now also create invitation links that can be shared via email or chat.

In Outlook for Windows, group owners are now able to select and delete multiple conversations in one sweep. Finally, group members can send emails on behalf of an entire group, provided that Exchange administration center is configured with the appropriate permissions.

More enhancements are on the way, teased Microsoft. The Outlook team is working on the ability to add appointments to a group calendar without sending invitations to everyone in the group using Outlook for Windows. They are also planning add the ability to add guest mail contacts to company directories.

Microsoft also announced the April 2017 release of Office Online Server, which now includes support for Windows Server 2016. The software enables businesses to provide access to web-based versions of Office applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote) from their own data center instead of Microsoft's cloud.

The update includes a new navigation pane, improved undo/redo functionality and equation viewing in the Word Online component. PowerPoint Online gains brisker performance in co-authoring mode.

Overall, the product now offers better W3C accessibility support for those relying on screen readers and other support technologies. Finally, the latest version of Office Online Service includes accessibility checkers for all applications, helping to ensure that documents created in them are accessible to people of practically all ability levels.  

Corporate customers can download the updated Office Online Server software in from the Microsoft Volume License Servicing Center.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...