Microsoft Improves Contact Management in Outlook Mobile

Microsoft focuses on contact management in its latest Outlook app updates for iOS and Android.

Outlook Mobile Email

Microsoft is making managing contacts on Outlook for iOS and Android easier with a new update.

On the latest iOS version of the mobile email client, users can now add and edit Outlook.com and Office 365 contacts. The feature will soon be available in an update to the Android version of the app as well.

"To create a new contact in Outlook, simply go to the People tab and tap the + sign. You can also add a new contact directly from a message or event by tapping the name of a person and then tapping Add Contact," Microsoft advised in a blog post.

"Lastly, you can also use the search bar in the People tab to find and add contacts from your company directory." After adding or editing a contact on the app, the changes are synchronized across all versions of the email app.

Outlook mobile's contact cards have also been given a makeover. They now more prominently display key details such as phone numbers and email addresses. The redesigned contact cards also list shared documents, upcoming meetings and recent conversations.

Microsoft is also making it possible to save Outlook contacts directly into the built-in contacts apps in iOS and Android, enabling features like caller ID that displays the full name when a colleague calls or sends a text.

However, limitations in the way those mobile operating systems manage contacts means that process is a one-way street. While updating a contact in Outlook will push the changes to a phone's contact list, edits made within the native iOS or Android contact apps won't transfer over to the Outlook app.

Also this week, Microsoft pledged that OneDrive will support the new Files app in iOS 11, which Apple unveiled during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday. Similar to Finder in macOS, Files is a file manager that offers drag-and-drop functionality, along with features that will enable iPhone and iPad users to search, browse and organize their files.

When Apple releases iOS 11 this fall, the OneDrive integration will extend those features to the cloud-based file storage, sync and share offering from Microsoft as well as SharePoint sites. It builds on existing iOS-specific functionality in OneDrive, including split-screen viewing on the iPad, Apple Pencil support and iMessage compatibility.

For Office 365 administrators, Microsoft recently announced the general availability of the new Office 365 Centralized Deployment service. First introduced during last month's Build develop conference, the feature enables organizations to tailor add-in bundles to specific departments or roles and automatically distribute them using the Office 365 Admin Center.

Office 365 Centralized Deployment supports Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Windows, Mac and Office Online, the web-based version of the productivity software suite. Deploying Outlook add-ins currently requires using the Exchange management interface but Microsoft plans on adding the functionality to Centralized Deployment soon, Microsoft stated in a related FAQ. Microsoft is also working to enable the feature's telemetry gathering capabilities, allowing administrators to view deployment and usage data.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...