Slack is integrating Microsoft's Office 365 services today. While applications such as OneDrive and Azure Active Directory were previously available in Slack, the messaging service will now have much deeper integration with Office applications and files, including a new Outlook mail and calendar application, an updated OneDrive application and the ability to preview Office files directly in Slack.
The new Outlook calendar application for Slack is designed to bring all your meetings and calendar invitations to the messaging service. It will send you a message when an invitation to the meeting arrives, which will allow you to respond with a single click. It will also include reminders to join Skype, Webex or Zoom meetings. The Outlook calendar application will even set your Slack status automatically based on your calendar, and will add "out of office" to a state if you have enabled it in Outlook.
Slack is also adding Outlook mail integration, with the ability to take emails directly to Slack channels. Previously, I needed a third-party solution to enable this. You can forward emails from Outlook directly to a Slack channel or a direct message, as well as add a note and even include mail attachments. Similar email functionality already exists for Gmail, and the Outlook add-on will be available today.
Slack's OneDrive application is also being updated to allow users to quickly import files from Microsoft's cloud storage service. Like the existing integration of Dropbox and Google Drive, OneDrive users can click on the + icon to search for files and add them to a channel or direct message.
Along with these OneDrive enhancements, Slack also allows full previews of Office files such as PowerPoint slides, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets. You can preview Office files without even opening them, and Slack also aims to provide similar functionality to OneDrive files.
All these application improvements will be welcome additions for any company or team that relies on a combination of services. Both Slack and Microsoft teams have been going hand in hand to try to win over companies that are interested in using chat services, but it is clearly better for their mutual customers that companies integrate instead of fighting against it.
Microsoft has shown in the past that it is willing to partner with rivals such as Dropbox, but the integration of Office 365 with Slack was created through public APIs and without special help from Microsoft. This Slack integration comes just a few months after Microsoft released its free version of Teams to compete with Slack, just a few weeks after the company introduced new and creative conference call features for its competitor Slack.