The biggest change to Microsoft‘s Office documents in decades begins soon, with the company’s Fluid framework arriving on Microsoft Teams, Outlook, OneNote and Whiteboard.
Microsoft first unveiled Fluid last year and demonstrated how the framework allows blocks of Office content to exist independently across the web.
This idea is now a reality, with collaborative content that can be copied, pasted, and shared with others. Instead of static tables, graphs, and lists linked to specific documents, Fluid components are collaborative modules that reside across different applications.
The components begin appearing in Microsoft Teams first this summer, and can be included in meetings and conversations.
The launch of Fluid coincides with the return of employees to their offices and the emergence of the new blended work experience.
What Microsoft has built with Fluid is the biggest change to Office in decades. And while Fluid looked like a futuristic concept at its unveiling last year, its launch this week highlights just how much that has changed.
Each Microsoft Teams meeting soon comes with a collaborative built-in feedback experience. Notes appear in a Microsoft Times meeting or in an Outlook calendar. And anyone on the call can start typing in real time.
And if you add a task, it instantly syncs with your other tasks across Microsoft 365. Meeting notes are automatically synced to your Outlook calendar where you can also edit them in real time.
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“We want collaboration to be available before the meeting starts,” Microsoft said. And since meeting notes are live and in real time, you can even copy them into an app like OneNote and still see everyone making edits to them.
Fluid components have the potential to change how everyone gets to work across Microsoft Teams and Office. It is fast and without sync time, just like Google Docs.
Microsoft has had similar collaboration tools in Office for a while. But it is limited to fixed documents. She is also turning its Whiteboard app into a canvas for hosting Fluid components.
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New collaboration indicators appear in Whiteboard, letting you see what coworkers are adding to your document in real time.
And there’s a new virtual laser pointer that you can use to get people’s attention, or interactive stickers to make your Whiteboard look more lively.
Fluid components such as tables or to-do lists can also be embedded in Whiteboard, and the entire app now looks the same across all devices and platforms.