Outlook and Excel for Mac Beta gain new features, including IMAP support for Outlook

Macbook Pro Touch Bar Hero
Macbook Pro Touch Bar Hero (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Outlook and Excel for Mac Beta have new updates available.
  • The Outlook update brings IMAP support.
  • In Excel, you can now set icons for buttons that are assigned to macros.

Microsoft recently rolled out updates for Outlook and Excel for people on the Mac Beta Channel. The updates bring new features to test out, including IMAP support for Outlook. The release notes came out this week, but the features rolled out gradually to Mac Beta Channel users between November 19 and December 18, 2020.

Here's everything that's new in Excel:

  • For the Quick Access Toolbar, you can now choose an icon for buttons that are assigned to macros. Go to Excel > Preferences > Ribbon & Toolbar, then go to the Quick Access Toolbar tab, add a macro, and press the gear icon to rename it. You'll see a gallery of icons to choose from.
  • The formula Watch Window has recently been added to Excel for Mac. If you use "Tell Me," it wasn't showing up when you searched for it, and now it will show if you type "watch."

The ability to choose icons for buttons assigned as macros is a nice touch that should make Excel look a bit cleaner. Outlook, however, has a more meaningful update. Here's everything that's new:

  • IMAP Support – Your IMAP accounts are now supported in the new Outlook! Add your IMAP accounts via Accounts preferences, or for those with IMAP accounts already added in current Outlook, you will be prompted to migrate your account into the new Outlook. Note: support will roll out gradually in Beta Channel over the next few weeks
  • Search – You can now customize your search the way you want and get to what you are looking for faster. Use the search scope selector to pick which folder or mailbox to search from, include or exclude top results and deleted items, to refine your search results
  • Calendar – The new Outlook now supports calendar widgets on macOS Big Sur. The widgets also come in different sizes, so you can pick the one that works best for you

IMAP support makes Outlook a much more versatile client. IMAP is a popular email protocol, and Outlook's lack of IMAP support makes the app impossible to switch to for some people. Hopefully, we'll see IMAP support roll out to general availability soon.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.