Microsoft Outlook update brings reactions, because emails aren't bad enough already

A laptop showing lots of email notifications
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Showing your joy (or disgust) at receiving an email may soon get a lot more public thanks to a new update coming to Microsoft Outlook.

The email service is following in the footsteps of many social media networks by introducing reactions, allowing users to quickly signal their feelings to receiving a message.

Users will be able to select from a variety of reactions covering a whole gamut of emotions, with a thumbs up, laugh, heart, celebrate, or shed a tear reactions among the initial selection available.

Microsoft Outlook reactions

Microsoft says that the addition will allow users to "apply your sentiment" to Outlook emails, also giving them the opportunity to see the reactions of other users without sending or receiving emails.

In the official Microsoft 365 roadmap entry for the feature, the company noted that the move would initially only be available for Outlook users on Mac devices.

Currently still listed as "in development", Microsoft expects to be able to show off a preview of the update in July 2022 before a general launch in August 2022. Microsoft had previously announced a similar-sounding feature back in February 2022, but appears to have now rolled that in with this new update.

The news comes shortly after Microsoft announced a boost to its own reaction system for Teams, with more than 1,800 of its emojis getting a makeover.

The company said that the the new Fluent Emojis selection will bring "a modern and delightful new version of the emojis we use every day".

The company also recently released its "Microsoft Teams Expanded Reactions" feature that will "allow users to apply any emoji as a reaction to chat messages", with users able to pick from over 800 emojis "to react the way you want", with reactions shown in the chat window.

The email service is also getting a new "notifications pane" that will act as a central location for all your pings, mentions and other updates, meaning users should never miss a key event, including updates like @mentions that users may have missed.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.