- The new Outlook app for Windows 11 (and 10) is now generally available.
- The email client replaces the classic Mail and Calendar apps with a new unified design.
- Anyone can switch to the new Outlook app with or without a Microsoft 365 subscription.
UPDATED 9/26/2023: Microsoft has made the new Outlook app generally available for anyone running Windows 11 (or Windows 10). The company began testing the new client app in May 2022 with participants of the Office Insider program. Then, in September 2022, the app became available for everyone in preview, but with limited functionalities. And now, after more than a year, the app is generally available.
The new version of the Outlook app replaces the legacy Mail and Calendars apps with a single application that offers a unified experience for emails and calendars. (Eventually, it’ll also replace the classic Outlook desktop app from Office.) The app is basically the web version of Outlook but tailored for the desktop with offline support (feature yet to arrive), the ability to add multiple accounts from various providers, including Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, and IMAP, and support for the mica material to match the design style of Windows 11.
In the new experience, you can write better emails with new AI features to help you write impactful, clearer, mistake-free messages. Furthermore, some other changes include integrating the Microsoft Editor for rich editing, spelling, auto-complete suggestions, and sending emails with polls to help make quicker decisions. (This last feature is only available for work and school accounts.)
The Outlook app for Windows 11 includes an “undo” sending feature that delays a message, giving you a few seconds to cancel it so you can make additional changes or discard the message entirely. In addition, you can start a Skype or Teams call directly from the email client and pin important emails to the top of the inbox.
In the Calendar experience, you will find some interesting improvements, including support for Google Calendar when adding a Gmail account, multiple time zones, daily weather, and you can add multiple shared calendars.
The new version of Outlook retains some of the legacy features, including tracking packages and checking in to flights directly from your inbox, reminders for important messages that require a reply, search folders, and the ability to customize your email density and views.
Microsoft will start bundling the new version of its email client with the release of Windows 11 23H2 and higher releases. You can switch to the new experience by clicking the “Try the new Outlook” toggle switch in the Mail and Calendar apps. When you start the process, the system will transfer everything from the old to the new app, but you may need to sign in again on your accounts.
On the Outlook app, you can add and remove email accounts from different providers, and with the available settings, you can customize the experience in different ways. For example, you can use the dark mode or change the theme to make the experience more personal and fun, but you cannot use a custom background.
It’s possible to create an email signature to append to every message you send out. The app can suggest replies for certain emails or while composing a new message, but you can always disable these smart suggestions. You can always decide whether others can see if you open an email by turning off read receipts and more.
Although the app is generally available with the new interface and features, the experience may still feel incomplete for some. I recently switched from the legacy experience to the new Outlook, but I quickly rollback to the legacy Mail application because notifications for new emails took too long to arrive, there was no option to change the name of the accounts, and I couldn’t get used to those advertisements in form of emails.
While it’s possible to switch back from the new to the old version of the email client, Microsoft is planning to retire the legacy Mail and Calendar apps in 2024.
Also, it’s important to note that the Outlook experience is available as a free application, but a Microsoft 365 subscription will be required to get access to the full version of the Microsoft Editor services and Copilot, as well as other perks, such as more storage and no advertisements.
Finally, the application is available for enterprise and education customers, and network administrators should refer to this Microsoft article to learn more about the new policies and configurations.
Updated September 26, 2023: A new update for the app is rolling out with support for iCloud accounts. Also, sometime in October, the company plans to bring offline support to the new Outlook app, which will allow you to manage emails (such as flag, move, delete, and compose messages) without an internet connection.