What's new in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

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Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 provides you with a comprehensive time and information manager. Using new features such as Instant Search and the To-Do Bar, you can organize and instantly locate the information that you need. New calendar sharing capabilities, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 technology, and improved access to Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 information enable you to safely share data that is stored in Office Outlook 2007 with coworkers, friends, and family, no matter where those people are located. Office Outlook 2007 makes it easier for you to prioritize and control your time, allowing you to focus on the things that matter most. This article provides an overview of Office Outlook 2007, with an emphasis on new and improved features.

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Manage time and information

To help you better manage your time and information, Office Outlook 2007 offers a number of new and improved features, from Instant Search to integration of tasks on the calendar. These features make it easier for you to locate, manage, prioritize, and act on the volumes of information that you encounter every day.

Quickly find the information you need

  • Instant Search     Office Outlook 2007 provides a new fast way to find your information, no matter which folder it is in. Outlook now uses the same search technology that Microsoft Windows does, to deliver fast results regardless of mailbox size. In addition, an improved visual design displays each individual result of your search immediately, as soon as it is available, while the search is still running. Search now appears in the same place no matter where you are in Outlook. You can also forward your search query to Windows Desktop Search for a broader search of your entire computer. For more information, see Find a message or item by using Instant Search.
  • Color Categories     New Color Categories give you a quick, visual way to customize items and to distinguish items from one another, making it easy to locate information. Suppose, for instance, that you want to assign a color category to all items related to a certain project. You can add the same color category to e-mail, calendar, and task items so that you can easily locate all items from that project at a glance. When you need to find the information later, you can search and sort by Color Categories to quickly and visually identify what you are looking for. For more information, see Assign a color category to an e-mail message.
  • Color Category roaming     Color Categories are now saved in your default data file, instead of in the Windows registry. If you use a Microsoft Exchange account, your categories are now available on all of the computers that you work on.
  • Results-oriented user interface     Office Outlook 2007 has a redesigned user interface that makes it easier and more intuitive for you to compose, format, and act on your e-mail. You can now access all of the rich features and capabilities in Outlook in at one easy-to-find location within your e-mail message.
  • Attachment previewing     Using the new Attachment Previewer, you can view your attachments from within the Reading Pane by making only a single click. This improvement saves you time and allows you to view attachments in context with the e-mail message. For more information, see Preview messages.
  • Minimized Navigation Pane     The Navigation Pane can now be minimized into a vertical button bar, to provide you with a larger work area while allowing quick access to Favorite Folders and other views. For more information, see Minimize or expand the Navigation Pane.
  • Yomi names     Office Outlook 2007 supports Japanese Yomi names in Contacts.
  • Week view changed in Calendar     Office Outlook 2007 features a new week view. The former week view was a two-column layout of days, similar to a day planner. The new week view is similar to the work week views in previous versions.
  • Default detail level     The default detail level of the month view has changed.

Easily manage your daily priorities

  • To-Do Bar     The new To-Do Bar integrates your tasks, e-mail messages flagged for follow up, upcoming appointments, and calendar information in one convenient place. It also includes tasks from the Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 note-taking program, Microsoft Office Project 2007, and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Web sites. The To-Do Bar gives you a consolidated view of your priorities for the day. For more information, see Track your to-do and task items.
  • Flagging mail for follow-up     Flags are now more useful throughout Outlook. You can use a flag to quickly create a follow-up item that can be tracked in the To-Do Bar, in your Inbox, and even in Calendar. They are also still handy for setting reminders for yourself and other people. For more information, see Track e-mail messages that require follow up.
  • Task integration on the Calendar     Office Outlook 2007 integrates tasks on the calendar into the Daily Task List so that you see them displayed beneath your daily appointments and meetings. To allot time for working on a task, you simply drag the task onto your calendar. When you complete a task on a given day, the task sticks to that day, providing a visual record of the work that you performed. Tasks that you do not complete roll over to the next day, and accumulate until you mark them as complete. For more information, see View your tasks.
  • Improved scheduling capabilities     Improved scheduling capabilities in Office Outlook 2007 and Exchange 2007 help you to schedule meetings easily and in less time. When you use Exchange 2007, attendee schedules are reviewed, and an ideal meeting time and location is recommended. A number of other improvements in Office Outlook 2007 make the calendaring experience easier for people who are using Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007. When changes are made to the meeting location or agenda, attendees receive an informational update, rather than having to reaccept the meeting. Additionally, changes are highlighted in the meeting update, making it easier to locate the information that has been modified. For more information, see Schedule a meeting.

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Connect across boundaries

To help you to connect with others who are working in other locations and on other platforms, Office Outlook 2007 delivers significant enhancements — from easier calendar sharing, to native Really Simple Syndication (RSS) support and the integration of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 information.

Put relevant information at your fingertips

By bringing relevant information directly to your Inbox, Office Outlook 2007 puts you in touch with the information that you need every day.

  • Connect Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Lists to Outlook     Office Outlook 2007 allows you to interact from anywhere, anytime, with information stored in SharePoint lists. You can connect calendars, document libraries, discussion boards, contacts, and tasks into Office Outlook 2007, and then preview, search, or edit that content. Any changes that you make to this information is updated both on the server version and in your Web browser. New Office Outlook 2007 features (such as calendar overlay, electronic business cards, and the To-Do Bar) also incorporate SharePoint content. For more information, see Open, edit, and update files from a SharePoint site.
  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Feeds     RSS Feeds provide a convenient way for content publishers to distribute information in a standardized format. A common example of RSS content is the sources for information that is updated frequently, such as news headlines and personal Web logs (called blogs). The benefit of RSS is the aggregation of all content from multiple Web sources in one place, along with not having to provide your e-mail address to content publishers to receive the information. You no longer have to visit various Web sites to obtain the latest information on your topics of interest. For more information, see Introduction to RSS.
  • Auto Account Setup     The new Auto Account Setup feature makes adding accounts to Office Outlook 2007 easy. You simply enter the account name and password from your Exchange, POP3, or IMAP e-mail account. Office Outlook 2007 configures the account for you. You do not have to remember your server name or any other arcane information, configure the ports, or do anything else. When you use an Exchange 2007 account, your account remains up to date because it has a dynamic connection to the server running Exchange. This way, if your mailbox is moved from one server to another,Office Outlook 2007 automatically detects the change and continues to support your daily work without any interruption. For more information, see Add or remove an e-mail account.

Easily share information with anyone, anywhere

  • Calendar Snapshots     You can send your calendar to anyone in an e-mail message. The recipient can open the calendar either in their Web browser or in Outlook. For more information, see Share your calendar information.
  • Internet Calendar Subscriptions     Internet Calendars are calendars that are shared over the Internet. These calendars, whether created in Outlook or in another application, are downloaded from a calendar publishing service or from a special Web site where people can host and subscribe to calendars. Included in the Internet Calendar Subscription is information for instructing Outlook about where and how often to query for updates. For more information, see Introduction to Internet Calendars.
  • Calendar overlays     Viewing calendars in overlay mode enables you to navigate multiple calendars on top of one another, making it easier to compare your calendar with a coworker's or team calendar to find a free time to meet. For more information, see View calendars side-by-side or overlaid.
  • Publish calendars to Microsoft Office Online     You can share your calendar with everyone, or with only designated people, by publishing your Internet Calendars to Office Online. For more information, see Share your calendar on Office Online.
  • Electronic Business Cards     You can create and share customized Electronic Business Cards, which provide a personalized way to communicate your information. You can share your card either as an attachment or as part of your e-mail signature. Electronic Business Cards allow you to customize your contact information, and also to add logos and photos, making contacts more personally relevant and easier to locate. Electronic Business Cards can be exchanged easily through e-mail messages, and can be saved to your Contacts folder. For more information, see Create Electronic Business Cards.
  • Save as PDF or XPS     Office Outlook 2007 supports exporting your file to the following formats:
    • Portable Document Format (PDF)     PDF is a fixed-layout electronic file format that preserves document formatting and enables file sharing. The PDF format ensures that when the file is viewed online or printed, it retains exactly the format that you intended, and that data in the file cannot be easily changed. The PDF format is also useful for documents that will be reproduced by using commercial printing methods.
    • XML Paper Specification (XPS)     XPS is an electronic file format that preserves document formatting and enables file sharing. The XPS format ensures that when the file is viewed online or printed, it retains exactly the format that you intended, and that data in the file cannot be easily changed.

 Note   PDF and XPS creation is available only when you open an item in Office Outlook 2007. The File menu in the main Outlook window does not provide access to this functionality.

You can save as a PDF or XPS file from a 2007 Microsoft Office system program only after you install an add-in. For more information, see Enable support for other file formats, such as PDF and XPS.

For more information, see Save as PDF or XPS.

  • Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 integration in Outlook     The full integration of Office Outlook 2007 with Office InfoPath 2007 makes it possible to embed an InfoPath form within an e-mail message, and to send it to people along with a request that they fill in the needed information. The only actions required of the recipient are replying to your message and completing the embedded form. After you have collected the respondents' answers, you can export the data to Microsoft Office Excel 2007 for analysis, or merge the answers from the form that you distributed into one master form.
  • Out of Office Assistant     Previously, when you started Outlook, and your Out of Office Assistant was turned on, an information alert dialog box appeared. In Office Outlook 2007, when you have Out of Office autoreplies turned on, a notice appears on the status bar. When you use an Exchange 2007 account, you can now schedule your Out of Office times in advance and not have to worry about forgetting to turn the Out of Assistant on or off. Additionally, when you use Exchange 2007 e-mail accounts, you can specify separate messages for recipients who are inside your organization and those who are outside of it. For more information, see Automatically reply to incoming messages while out of the office.
  • Unified messaging     Using Exchange 2007, you can have voice mail and faxes delivered to your Office Outlook 2007 Inbox.
  • Support for Internationalized Domain Names     Office Outlook 2007 now supports Internationalized Domain Names in e-mail addresses. Internationalized Domain Names support allows people to register and use domain names in their native languages instead of only in English.
  • Improved Data Caching     Office Outlook 2007 now supports caching — or making a local synchronized copy — of shared data that you work with. For example, if you work with another person's shared folders, a copy of that information is stored on your computer. This provides better performance, and allows you to work with shared data even when you don't have a connection to the server running Exchange.

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Remain safer and in control

To help you protect personal and company information, Office Outlook 2007 provides a number of powerful tools, from junk e-mail and anti-phishing technologies to new Managed E-mail Folders. As a result, you gain more control over the information that reaches you, so you stay safer and can focus on your daily tasks.

Effectively control which e-mail messages reach you

  • Outlook E-mail Postmark     Outlook E-mail Postmark is a new technology from Microsoft to help stop junk e-mail. This technology asks the sender's computer to perform a computation or puzzle, and then assigns this work to the message as a token of legitimacy. Creating an Outlook E-mail Postmark makes it difficult and time-intensive for spammers to send mass e-mail messages, but it does not change your experience when sending legitimate messages. When a message that has a postmark is received by Office Outlook 2007, the system can easily verify the validity of that message. If the postmark is valid, that is evidence that the sender's computer incurred a certain cost in sending this message. As a result, messages that have a postmark appear in the Inbox, rather than in the Junk E-mail folder. For more information, see How Outlook E-mail Postmarking helps reduce spam.
  • Junk E-mail Filter/phishing protection     Office Outlook 2007 features an improved Junk E-mail Filter that sorts out even more unwanted e-mail messages that before. There is also new protection against phishing (the use of fraudulent e-mail messages that might trick you into divulging personal information). Office Outlook 2007 tracks suspicious e-mail messages, and helps protect you by automatically disabling links within such messages until you approve them. You are warned from within the e-mail message of potentially threatening or malicious sites. For more information, see How Outlook helps protect you from viruses, spam, and phishing.

Keep personal and company information safer

  • Managed E-mail Folders     When you use Exchange 2007, Managed E-mail Folders help companies to enforce e-mail retention and storage policies for workers' mailboxes, including ways of specifying other people's access to such mailboxes.
  • E-mail records repository     You can save and archive e-mail messages in a Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 document library. Office Outlook 2007 provides you with access to these repository folders along with your mail folders, enabling you to use them just as you would other folders. However, these folders can be made publicly accessible to other people, and they are optimized for long-term archival and compliance purposes.
  • Information Rights Management (IRM)     Improved IRM is a policy-enforcement technology available in the Microsoft Office System that helps protect documents, worksheets, presentations, and e-mail messages from unauthorized access and use. IRM allows you to specify who can access a document or an e-mail message, and to control whether each of these people is allowed to edit, copy, forward, and/or print the contents, including attachments. For more information, see Restrict permission to confidential information in e-mail messages.
  • Free/busy information management     When you use an Exchange 2007 account, you can specify who can view your free/busy information, which keeps you in control of your personal data.
  • Trust Center     The Trust Center is where you can find security and privacy settings for 2007 Microsoft Office system programs. The Very High, High, Medium, and Low security levels used in earlier versions of Office have been replaced by a more streamlined security system.

Help prevent losing work

  • Office Diagnostics     Microsoft Office Diagnostics is a series of diagnostic tests that can help you to discover why your computer is crashing. The diagnostic tests can solve some problems directly and may identify ways that you can solve other problems. Microsoft Office Diagnostics replaces the following Microsoft Office 2003 features: Detect and Repair and Microsoft Office Application Recovery.

For more information, see Diagnose and repair crashing Office programs by using Office Diagnostics.

  • Program Recovery     Office Outlook 2007 has improved capabilities to help avoid losing work when the program closes abnormally. Whenever possible, Office Outlook 2007 tries to recover some aspects of the state of the program after it restarts.

For example, you are working on several files at the same time. Each file is open in a different window with specific data visible in each window. Office Outlook 2007 crashes. When you restart Office Outlook 2007, it opens the files and restores the windows to the way they were before Office Outlook 2007 crashed.

For more information, see Avoid losing work when an Office program closes abnormally.

Send the correct message

  • Proofing Tools     The following are some new features of the spelling checker:
    • The spelling checker has been made more consistent across the 2007 Microsoft Office system programs. Examples of this change include:
    • The 2007 Microsoft Office system spelling checker includes the post-reform French dictionary. In Microsoft Office 2003, this was an add-in that had to be separately installed. For more information, see Change the way spelling and grammar checking work.
    • An exclusion dictionary is automatically created for a language the first time that language is used. Exclusion dictionaries let you force the spelling checker flag words you want to avoid using. They are handy for avoiding words that are obscene or that don't match your style guide. For more information, see Use exclusion dictionaries to specify a preferred spelling for a word.
    • The spelling checker can find and flag some contextual spelling errors. Have you ever typed a mistake similar to the following? I will see you their. In Office Outlook 2007, you can enable the Use contextual spelling option to get help with finding and fixing this type of mistake. This option is available when checking the spelling of documents in English, German or Spanish. For more information, see Choose how spelling and grammar checking work.

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