Office 365 Groups and Outlook 2016 for Mac

Recently announced, hot off the press, Office 365 Groups are coming to Outlook 2016 for Mac!  More about this and what the scope of this release is yonder on the Outlook for Mac Insights blog on 2 March 2017 titled “Support for Groups in Outlook for Mac.”

Caveat, this is by way of the Insider builds fast ring at the moment, so if you’re a corporate user and you’re wondering where this is, give it sometime and keep on accessing groups through either a Windows VM in your favorite hypervisor on Mac (whether that be Parallels, VirtualBox or VMWare Fusion) or through Safari / Chrome / Firefox.

What does this look like you ask?Screenshot 2017-03-05 10.18.17.png

Pretty standard. If you’re used to the web view then you’re probably familiar with something that looks a little more like this:

Screenshot 2017-03-05 10.24.37.png

The interactions with the UI are pretty decent. The caveat is that within the Outlook for Mac 2016 UI, you don’t have the ability to “easily” create a new thread in that discussion unless you go and create a new message and then lookup the discussion list name whereas in the Web UI you merely click on “New”. Of course the other thing to make note of is that since Groups make use of distribution lists, if within the Outlook for Mac client you click on “Reply” you’ll notice that you’re sending a note directly back to the original poster rather than a note to the entire group, thereby segmenting your conversation.

Screenshot 2017-03-05 10.30.30.png

However, if you click Reply All, you’ll notice that you’re pushing to the Distribution list…

Screenshot 2017-03-05 10.31.14.png

And as mentioned, to create a new message within the context of the Group, you’ll need to know the distribution list name of the group when you click on “New Message” within Outlook 2016 for Mac…

Screenshot 2017-03-05 10.32.43.png

After you work through your message you’ll notice that when you press send it will post back into the thread as one might expect it to…

Screenshot 2017-03-05 10.33.47.png

Screenshot 2017-03-05 10.34.37.png

If you’re curious about other capabilities like Calendars and such… they’re coming soon (hopefully) but as the blog article mentions there are supported scenarios at the moment as follows:

Scenarios to try out:
  • View your top 10 list of groups in the left navigation pane.
  • Select a group in the left navigation pane to view conversations and attachments in the group shared space
  • Compose/Reply/Forward messages and send attachments.
Know issues:
  • Groups calendar view is out of scope for V1 release.
  • Scenarios that not enabled yet but are slated for V1 release:
    • Add groups events to your personal calendar
    • View group details, and manage my subscription settings from the group card
    • View entry points to other group workloads and navigate to them from the group card

To make suggestions, UserVoice is your best friend in this case or through the “Contact Support” button located in the upper right hand corner in the Outlook 2016 for Mac client as shown here.

Screenshot 2017-03-05 10.40.35.png

which then takes you to the feedback dialog that looks something like this…

Screenshot 2017-03-05 10.40.59.pngProps to Microsoft for continuing to integrate these capabilities into the desktop client software!

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