Microsoft has been working on a totally redesigned version of Outlook for Mac since last fall and the public release of the big update is slated for mid-October. The new Outlook for Mac is designed to look and work great with macOS Big Sur, includes speed improvements, new UI, tools, improved customization, and more.

Microsoft detailed the improvements and changes it has made with the upcoming version of Outlook for Mac in a press release and blog post today. Notably, the new design will be available to use via an in-app toggle (found in the top-right corner).

With the new Outlook for Mac, we have reimagined the experience that you know and love, bringing even more power and simplicity to the product. Re-designed from ground up and available via a toggle – the new Outlook for Mac connects to accounts using Microsoft sync technology for enhanced performance and reliability, with functionality that showcases the best of Outlook.

Here’s a look at the main Outlook screen that features the My Day integration and the all-new design:

Microsoft’s goal with the new Outlook was to make it feel at home with macOS, specifically adding changes for Big Sur.

One of the Outlook design principles is to make Outlook feel native to your preferred operating environment. The new Outlook for Mac has been crafted specifically for the Mac, including the latest macOS Big Sur. You will find rounded corners in the buttons, message list, and conversation pane that are influenced by Big Sur. The light, airy design utilizes white surfaces for increased contrast on text and icons. This helps Outlook feels natural on the OS while still nesting well with elements from Microsoft’s design language. We wanted you to feel at home while using Outlook for Mac without sacrificing what makes Outlook, well, Outlook.

Microsoft highlights the improved customization with the redesigned Outlook:

The new Outlook for Mac provides customizable settings across the message list, calendar, and main mail canvas that can be personalized to you. From drag-and-drop arrangement of your accounts and folders to marking important people as favorites, you have the flexibility to interact with Outlook in a way that works best for you. Even the toolbar is customizable, enabling you to add, remove, and rearrange buttons to ensure those commonly used controls are only a click away.

More changes include a customizable sidebar and My Day panes:

The sidebar and My Day panes have modifiable views based on your preferences that allow you to easily adjust your focus to be at your most productive. My Day lets you choose what calendars you want to see and take action right in the pane, such as joining a meeting or sending an RSVP. For additional updates to the calendar, we have introduced a new 3-day view setting that helps you concentrate on your schedule a few days at a time.

Another major update is the “People experience”:

We have added a brand-new People experience to bring your valued contacts and connections to a focused, dedicated place that is easy to access and manage. People view helps you separate your contacts and colleagues from your messages and events by providing a central place to manage and explore those you collaborate with often. Whether they are someone you need to follow up with or an important coworker, you can add notes to their contact information, start a Teams chat with them, or mark them as a favorite contact – all within the focused People view.

Support for Google accounts in addition to Outlook is ready to go, while iCloud and IMAP support is still in the works.

Updates across mail and calendar simplify your experience and ensure you have what you need, right when you need it. Support for unified inboxes streamlines how you receive messages, allowing you to receive all mail in one place, without needing to switch between individual inboxes. The new Outlook for Mac supports Office 365, Outlook.com, and Google accounts (with iCloud and IMAP support coming soon) so you can have a centralized view of all your email and calendar items.

While Apple has only shared that macOS Big Sur is “coming this fall” Microsoft having this Big Sur-focused release slated for “mid-October” could be an indication that it will arrive alongside Apple’s Big Sur debut.

Microsoft also highlights that users can now set Outlook as the default email app on iPhone with iOS 14 (however there is a pesky bug with that at the moment).

Have you been testing the Outlook for Mac beta over the last year? Or are you excited to see this major update officially roll out? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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