Microsoft is preparing two major advancements for its email and calendar service, Outlook, with an aim to improve user experience and provide better cost management tools for organizations. The company has announced the introduction of a new conditional formatting feature and an optical character recognition (OCR) cost estimation tool, marking significant developments for its widely used platform.
Innovative Email Customization
The conditional formatting feature enables a more personalized email management experience. It allows users to set specific rules that highlight incoming messages in the message list using a variety of font colors based on predetermined conditions, such as the sender's name or email address. This new functionality, available in the new Outlook for Windows and Web versions as of December, is designed to provide users with enhanced control over their inbox, thereby streamlining their email sorting and prioritization process.
Cost Prediction for OCR Services
Regarding cost estimations, Outlook's OCR capability allows organizations to convert different types of documents, including images and scanned paper documents, into searchable and editable data.
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. It is a technology that can convert scanned images or PDF files into editable text or other formats. OCR can be useful for extracting information from documents, photos, or handwritten notes. The OCR cost estimation feature, which rolls out in January 2024, aims to provide organizations with a clearer understanding of potential expenses associated with enabling OCR functionality across various Microsoft services, such as Exchange Online, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and EndPoint. Crucially, it enables them to do so without incurring any immediate charges or requiring an Azure subscription, thereby facilitating budget planning and resource allocation.
Microsoft is making swift moves to enhance its email platform, Outlook, with the introduction of various features. Primarily known as a mailing platform, the new tools will convert Outlook into a business management app as well. The company's additions range from the integration of Microsoft Copilot to the inclusion of Loop Components to designing novel ways to categorize mail.
Earlier this month, Microsoft brought the new Business Management Tool Org Explorer to Outlook. Expected to launch this month, with Org Explorer, Outlook users can see and manage their company's structure, work, and roles. This feature makes Outlook a one-stop solution for business management needs. Leaders, such as CEOs, can use Org Explorer to get in-depth information about their organizations for reporting or presenting purposes.