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Enhanced text editor in Outlook Web App

Ef Regalado is a senior program manager on the Exchange engineering team, and Steve Chew is a senior product marketing manager on the Exchange technical marketing team.

Ever pasted content from Word or a web page into a new email and found that you had to spend time fixing little formatting issues? How about trying to make changes to the layout of a table pasted from Excel?

Outlook Web App features an enhanced text editor that is easy to use  and provides many new capabilities.  Both Office 365 and Exchange Server 2013 SP1 customers will benefit from this enhancement.  Let’s take a closer look.

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More pasting options

When you compose a new message in Outlook Web App, it displays a paste menu that allows you to switch between different paste modes for your content.

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The new Outlook Web App paste menu.

Sometimes you want to maintain the source formatting as closely as possible. Use Paste As Is (P) for a high fidelity rendering of the copied content from Office applications like Word or Excel.

Or maybe you are more interested in the content than the format. Use Paste Simple HTML (C) to get rid of the font colors and sizes, while preserving the basic layout. This is great choice when pasting tables and bulleted lists from a busy web page.

Finally, if you just want to paste the text, Paste Text (T) does exactly that.

One of the other new features supported in the enhanced text editor is the ability to paste images directly from the clipboard.

Rich hyperlink previews

When you compose a new email message and type the URL for an external web page, Outlook Web App automatically generates a rich preview that lets you and your recipients take a peek into the contents of the site. This also works with YouTube videos.

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Rich hyperlink preview in Outlook Web App.

Create and modify tables

There is a new Insert table button at the far extreme of the editor that lets you create new tables in Outlook Web App.

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Insert table menu.

Selecting the inserted table displays a menu which allows you to modify the layout by adding rows, deleting columns, merging cells, and more. This works even with tables pasted from other sources like PowerPoint or a web page.

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Inserting a row in a table in Outlook Web App.

Alternative text for images

Outlook Web App also now supports adding, modifying and deleting alternative text for images. Alternative text, or alt text, is helpful in different scenarios, including reading messages on low speed connections and when using a screen reader. To access alt text, users selecting an image and then click the Alt text icon ( Enhanced text OWA 06) in the Format bar.

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Add alt text to images.

The enhanced text editor in Outlook Web App is easy to use, provides more pasting options, creates rich previews to linked content, lets you create and modify tables, and supports alternative text for images. With it, you’ll spend  less time formatting and more time communicating.

–  Ef Regalado and Steve Chew

Frequently asked questions

Q. Is pasting images from the clipboard supported across all browsers?

A. No, currently only Google Chrome supports pasting from the clipboard into Outlook Web App, other major browsers support coming at a later time.

Q. Is rich hyperlink preview available for all Outlook Web App users?

A. No, currently rich hyperlink previews are only available in Office 365.

Join the conversation

5 comments
  1. What mean: A. No, currently rich hyperlink previews are only available in Office 365.

    I have Office 365 Small Business and it don’t work

    Too often you don’t specify if Office 365 mean all plann or just Small Business, Enterprise, ecc, please be more precise

      • Thanks,

        OberstDanjeje – Office 365 Small Business will get these improvements to the Outlook Web App. These features were just released and are rolling out worldwide over the next few weeks. We appreciate your patience.

        In response to your other question:
        A. No, currently rich hyperlink previews are only available in Office 365

        That means that rich hyperlink previews are not yet available for Exchange Server 2013 users.

        • Hi Andy. Thanks for clarifying that the new editor is still rolling out. It’s good to have that detail in the FAQ, similar to Mark Kashman’s announcement about larger OneDrive for Business storage, or the announcement for mailboxes increasing to 50GB as standard for Office 365 users.

  2. I can see more and more, that the ‘Online first’ mantra is starting to relate to the Office suite for desktop, not just the server products such as SharePoint and Exchange. This will emphasize the richer experience of working in the browser with Office 365. Even now, you can get a lot done with just an E1 / web only subscription.
    I expect the URL preview feature will be available later in Outlook for your desktop.

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