The New And Improved Outlook 2013

The New And Improved Outlook 2013

Outlook, the email, communication and calendar side of the Microsoft Suite, is getting a new look for 2013.  Many people who regularly use the Microsoft package of software rely on Outlook syncing with other programs to get the most out of productivity.  The new Outlook 2013 will surely make life easier as program features are streamlined and the user interface is updated.

The newly updated email features will make the user’s experience more streamlined and efficient.  First off, email messages can now be previewed.  At a glance, users will be able see the first line of the body of the email so they can be prioritized for importance.  With previous versions, the subject of the email shows up, but not the first line of the email.

Outlook 2013 will also allow users to send email replies with just one click.  Inline replies will be possible so users can respond right in the Reading Pane or start a Lync IM conversation with the email sender for real-time chat.

Another efficiency feature introduced in Outlook 2013 is the ability to tag emails with just one click.  This means flagging, deleting, and marking messages read or unread can be done with handy commands right in the message list.  Users will no longer have to go through several clicks or right-click menus to tag their emails.

Organization of emails will also be easier for users with Outlook 2013.  Users will be able to rename folders, create subfolders, and move items around.  This was rather restrictive before, making email management rather frustrating.  With the ability to rename and move folders around, users will be able to better save, organize, and manage their emails.

When users want to take a quick peek at their calendars and schedules while writing an email will be able to do so without having to click out of email, into calendar and back.  There is now a “sneak a peek” feature that allows users to grab a quick glance at the schedule or appointment details.

A newly added feature to the calendar page is the weather forecast for the user’s location.  In calendar view, users will be able to access the forecast as well as details about the current weather conditions.  A weather bar can be seen to help set up this feature.


The contacts section of Outlook 2013 has received a huge makeover.  All key information about contacts is now all in one place, including: phone number, email, mailing address, company info, social media links, and whether or not they are available.  From this “contact / People” card, users can schedule a meeting, send an instant message, or place a call. 

Users of the new Outlook 2013 will also be able to better organize contact groups.  Outlook 2013 is now fully integrated with Sky Drive and SharePoint, allowing project managers to instantly access, collaborate, and share documents with team members from remote locations.  This makes syncing between Outlook and SharePoint more seamless and less cumbersome.  This improvement allows users to switch between contacts, calendar appointments, and tasks efficiently.

One area that has not improved much is in exporting Outlook email messages to different formats. Outlook is still limited to .msg and text formatted output.  In our tests, which involved converting email messages to pdf format, we found it beneficial to install the MessageExport add-in to extend Outlook’s email export abilities.

Overall, it seems that Microsoft has put some thought into making Outlook 2013 more efficient and user-friendly.  While we noticed that some operations are a bit slower than previous versions while Office 2013 connects to cloud services, the impact on the overall experience was negligible. Users will click through a less screens, to do what they want and get where they want.  With a whole new interface, it will take users some time to get used to Outlook 2013. However, productivity should increase in the long run. 

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