Upgrading your Office suite? Week 5 – Outlook 2010
Outlook 2010 gets a Ribbon! It has caught up and now has the fluent user interface in line with the other 2010 applications including the Quick Access Toolbar and Backstage View.
It feels quicker, slicker and is easy to use. Once you have become accustomed to the environment and made peace with the Ribbon then you have some great new toys to take advantage of.
On first view the interface feels rather busy but the views are totally customisable to suit your way of working. The Ribbon can be hidden or custom tabs can be created. Commands you use most often may be added to the Quick Access Toolbar to make them always visible and accessible.
If you use a previous version of Outlook to manage your communications or appointments then Outlook 2010 will legitimately enable you to manage those tasks more efficiently.
Conversation view automatically groups related email replies into conversations by their subject regardless of the folder that contains the messages. This really helps to track conversations and makes it easy to review message history as you can see the complete course of the conversation. When you delete a conversation then all of the messages within that conversation are deleted even from the Sent Items folder.
Clean Up will remove redundant messages from a conversation so they are not duplicated and taking up unnecessary space.
If you have ever been an uninterested bystander trapped on a cc line then the Ignore Conversation feature will be most welcome. The new “Ignore” button will automatically move entire conversations into your Deleted Items folder the moment they arrive. For me, this is worth the upgrade.
Quick Steps will save you numerous small amounts of time as they allow you to apply multiple actions to a message or appointment by simply clicking a button. For example you can quickly organise mail into folders by setting up a quick step to mark items as read and move them into folders with a single click.
The Search is hugely improved and a genuine time saver. You can enter a keyword into the search box in any of the Outlook features and it instantly displays items that contain the keyword in the address details, subject line or content.
The tagging of messages is simple with the ability to quickly categorise items by colour or follow up flags and dates. The filter can then be used to find any tagged items such as flagged items or particular categories.
You can manage email messages from multiple mailboxes and synchronise multiple email accounts from just about any service provider to Outlook 2010.
New calendar management tools enable you to save frequently used groups of calendars so they can be quickly displayed whenever you need them. Schedule View is a new horizontal layout for the Calendar that displays many calendars at the same time making it easier to schedule time with your co-workers.
Another enhancement that has been rolled across all of the Office applications is the integration with OneNote. Integration works well and email messages may be sent to OneNote and tasks can be created in OneNote and managed in Outlook.
There is certainly a learning curve but the consistent nature of the Office 2010 applications will enable you to quickly get to grips with Outlook 2010.