Inline suggestions in Outlook

Inline suggestions in Outlook are brief data and AI-driven notifications that appear in Outlook while you are either reading or composing an email or a meeting invitation.

Inline suggestions can help boost your productivity and that of your team by displaying useful suggestions, tips, and best practices around managing email and running meetings. They help inform and guide you in making effective email and meeting decisions. They can also help you reclaim focus hours and build better collaboration habits, in addition to other practical benefits. Types of inline suggestions lists some of what you might see in Outlook.


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How to see inline suggestions

Inline suggestions are available in the latest versions of Outlook on the web and Outlook for Windows with Microsoft 365 or Microsoft 365 licenses. To see inline suggestions in Outlook for Windows, be sure that the following is in place on your computer:

  • Outlook for Windows 2016 version 1808 or greater and build 16.0.10730 or greater.
  • Outlook Insights add-in version or higher. To check the installed version of the add-in, see Exchange admin center. The add-in is installed at the tenant level, after which it can take up to eight days for the upgrade to propagate to all users. If you notice that the proper add-in version isn't installed in Outlook, you can add it by following the steps in Add the Viva Insights Outlook add-in.
  • Actionable messages are supported and enabled; see Actionable messages in Outlook and Microsoft 365 Groups.

In Outlook for Windows and Outlook on the web, inline suggestions will show up while reading or composing an email or a meeting invitation.

Types of inline suggestions

The following are a few of the suggestions you might see in Outlook:

Opt out of inline suggestions

  1. To opt out of inline suggestions in Outlook, select the Viva Insights icon on the Outlook Home ribbon. Or if you are using Outlook on the web, the Viva Insights icon is in the ellipsis (...) menu when reading an email message or when sending a new message.

  2. Select the Settings (gear) icon in the Viva Insights add-in.

    Viva Insights settings

  3. In Settings, for Productivity inline suggestions, change the setting to Off.

If I am opted out, can I opt back in?

Yes. If you opt yourself out, you can opt back in any time to regain access to inline suggestions.

Providing feedback

You can provide feedback for the inline suggestion by selecting Feedback in the suggestion. In the Feedback section, select the "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down" and any other applicable feedback. If you select thumbs down, you'll see less of that suggestion.

You can also select Turn off all notifications if you would prefer not to receive any of the inline suggestions in the future.

You can also provide general feedback on anything by selecting the smiley face icon at the upper-right of the Viva Insights Add-in pane.

Schedule send suggestions

When you're composing an email in Outlook, Schedule send suggestions shows you suggestions for scheduling email deliveries. Learn more about this feature and how to use it in Schedule send suggestions.

Suggested outstanding tasks

When composing or reading an email or a calendar invitation, you might see a suggestion to review suggested outstanding tasks for the sender of email or calendar invitation. There are task suggestions based on your email communications with the sender in the last 14 days and can help you keep tab of tasks you promised to get done or that team members asked you to complete.

Suggested outstanding tasks

You can select See my tasks to see and follow up on the potentially outstanding task in Insights. As shown in this image, you can open the related task (RE: Kat - Anisa chat) for more details, or select Mark as done or Not a task to remove it from your task list.

Mark tasks as done

Get more time to focus

While reading a calendar invitation, you might see a suggestion to Book time for focused work (if you have a heavy meeting load) so that you get more time to do deep work and reclaim your calendar for work that matters most.

Select See suggested times to open a pane that displays all the time available to focus in the coming week, with a couple of available slots every day. With one click you can add focus time to your calendar and get ready for distraction-free deep work. You can also book all available time for focused work with one click, thus setting you up for focused work over a longer duration.

Book focus time

Plan your time away

When composing an email or calendar invitation in Outlook about your upcoming time away from work, you might see a suggestion similar to the following.

Plan your time away inline suggestion

Reduce the stress of planning for time away from work with the Plan your time away checklist. When you see an inline suggestion about it, select Plan to open the checklist and do the following:

  • Resolve all your meetings in one place with a custom message about your scheduled time off.
  • Compose your automatic replies and notify your team about your planned time off.
  • Schedule focus time to wrap up tasks before you go and to catch up on work when you get back.

Plan your time away checklist

For more details about how to use the checklist, see Plan your time away.

Protect your focus time

If a meeting request conflicts with an existing focus-time block, you might see a suggestion to protect your focus-time block by moving the focus time to another time or to meet at another time.

Protect focus time

Select See other available times to open the Insights add-in pane and display all the available time in the coming week to reschedule the meeting. By selecting a time block you can propose a new time to the meeting organizer.

Focus time send email

Select Move your focus block to open the Insights add-in and display all the available focus-time blocks in the coming week. By selecting a time block you can move the focus block that is "in conflict" to a new time, ensuring you have some time for deep work.

Move focus block

Book time to prepare for meetings

Applies to: users with Viva Insights subscription


We're in the process of rolling out these changes to customers.

When you get a meeting invitation, you might notice a suggestion to book meeting prep time.

Meeting prep time insight within a meeting invitation, with the buttons Accept and book time and Feedback.

Viva Insights suggests booking time to prepare for meetings—like reviewing documents and completing related tasks—when these conditions are met:

  • The meeting:
    • Has 11 or fewer invitees.
    • Is scheduled to last between 30 and 60 minutes.
    • Doesn't recur.
    • Hasn't been canceled.
    • Requires attendee response.
    • Isn't private.
    • Doesn't have a "Free," "Working elsewhere," or "Away" status.
  • You:
    • Open the meeting invite at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts.
    • Have at least 15 minutes available for prep time during your working hours.
    • Didn't dislike any attendee meeting prep nudge in the past seven days.
    • Haven't booked any prep time for this meeting yet.
    • Are a required meeting attendee.
    • Haven't declined the meeting.

When you select Book time in the suggestion, Viva Insights accepts the invite, opens the Outlook add-in pane, and prompts you to schedule your prep time. You'll pick from these options:

Screenshot of the Book meeting prep time option in the Viva Insights Outlook add-in pane.

Screenshot that shows the Viva Insights Outlook add-in pane with a summary of the meeting time and location. Three options, described in the article, appear under a button that says, 'Book 30 min one day before.' The cursor is hovering over 'End of the week, before the meeting' > '30 min.'

  • Time:
    • Right before the meeting
    • One day before the meeting
    • The last working day of the week before the meeting
  • Duration:
    • 15 minutes
    • 30 minutes
    • 1 hour

Based on the options you picked, Viva Insights searches for an empty spot on your calendar and schedules an appointment named "Preparation time for [Meeting name]."

Screenshot of a calendar that has an appointment named, 'Preparation time for Weekly design sync.'

Shorten a meeting

Applies to: This suggestion is currently available only to people who are enrolled in an applicable service plan.

When composing a meeting invitation with a duration of one hour, you might see a suggestion to shorten the meeting by 15 minutes to build some buffer time and save attendees time.

Shorten a meeting

Select Shorten meeting to decrease the meeting time by 15 minutes. This also opens the Insights add-in, where you can see the amount of time saved by all the participants in the meeting.

Shorten a meeting; nice work

Shorten meeting is triggered when:

  • You're composing a one-hour meeting.
  • You're not scheduling a same-day meeting.
  • For recurring meetings, there are at least three attendees, including the organizer. Attendees can be either optional or required.
  • For meetings that don't recur, there are at least four attendees, including the organizer. Attendees can be either optional or required.

Track email open rate

Applies to: This insight is currently available only to people who are enrolled in an applicable service plan

While reading an email that you've sent, you might see an insight that highlights what percentage of the email's recipients have opened the email.

Track email open rate

Select See more insights to see how many people have opened or forwarded your email and the average time that they spent reading that email, plus similar information for any attachments on that email. This information can help you follow up with recipients if needed and/or tailor your communication style to get the job done.

Email open rates

Track email

Applies to: This suggestion is currently available only to people who are enrolled in an applicable service plan.

When composing an email to more than five recipients, you might see a suggestion that reads "Insights can track the email."

Select Track this email to see the email open rate and more statistics about this email. This information becomes available 15 minutes after you sent the email. You can see this information by opening the sent email or by opening the Insights add-in and selecting Track email open rates.