Introducing Outlook Spaces: Microsoft’s Take on Modular Productivity Tools

Microsoft has quietly entered the modular productivity software market with its own tool called Outlook Spaces. This new tool aims to redefine the workspace and provide an alternative to traditional solutions like Asana and Jira. In this article, we will explore what Outlook Spaces is and how to use it effectively.

What Is Outlook Spaces?

Outlook Spaces, codenamed Project Moca, is Microsoft's way of bringing modularity to Outlook web. Currently available to select users, Outlook Spaces integrates with Microsoft 365 and can serve as a versatile tool for various tasks. Let's take a closer look at its features and functionality.

Where Is Outlook Spaces?

Currently, Outlook Spaces is in the preview stage and is accessible through Outlook web. Simply sign in to your Outlook account and look for the Project Moca icon at the bottom of the left menu bar. While it's not widely available on mobile or desktop yet, Microsoft is continuously testing and improving the tool.

project moca home

Outlook Spaces Home

Navigating and understanding Outlook Spaces is straightforward. On the home page, you'll find two sections: Templates and Your Projects. Choose a template that suits your needs, and you're ready to start your project.

Outlook Spaces Templates

Currently, Outlook Spaces offers five templates: Weekly plan, Project plan, School plan, Meal plan, and Personal Wellness. While this selection may seem limited, Microsoft is expected to release more templates in the future. Additionally, there may be support for user-created templates, similar to other modular project management apps.

project moca template

You can hover over any template to create a project or preview it before use. Alternatively, you can build a space from scratch by providing a name, adding people associated with the space, and using relevant keywords for easy searchability.

project moca getting started

Outlook Spaces Features

To illustrate the functionality of Outlook Spaces, let's consider the example of using the Project Plan template to manage articles at TechWiser.

Think of Outlook Spaces as a digital whiteboard where you can pin different elements anywhere on the board. Unlike other software, there are no limitations or fixed lengths for placing elements on the space. You can add various elements such as Collection, Note, File, Weblink, Task, Goal, Weather, and Person by simply dragging them from the left menu bar.

project moca in action

When you select an element, Outlook Spaces provides rulers in the background to ensure perfect alignment between objects and elements. Additionally, the Milestone block offers a reminders function, allowing you to set due dates and times for tasks.

project moca reminders

What sets Outlook Spaces apart from its competitors is its seamless integration with Microsoft 365. Tasks can be synced with Microsoft To-Do, and access to Sticky Notes, OneNote, Outlook Calendar, and Outlook Email is just a click away. If you already use Microsoft products, you'll appreciate the collaborative nature of the ecosystem.

My Experience With Outlook Spaces

It's important to note that the current version of Outlook Spaces is still in its early stages. As an alpha product, it lacks certain features that users may expect, such as the ability to import tasks and boards from other services like Trello and Asana. Additionally, an Arrow element would be useful for visually connecting thoughts on the board.

project moca to-do

On the positive side, I found the Microsoft 365 integration to be a highlight. As a power user of OneNote and To-Do, I appreciate how Outlook Spaces seamlessly integrates with these services. Despite some minor glitches, the overall experience with Outlook Spaces has been smooth and bug-free.

Give Outlook Spaces a Try

While Outlook Spaces may not be for everyone, if you're already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem and have access to the preview version on Outlook web, it's worth giving it a try. Although it may not replace your current setup with tools like Trello or Asana, Outlook Spaces offers unique features and integration that can enhance your productivity within the Microsoft environment.