I’ve been running the newest version of Office for quite a while I am must say that I am extremely impressed. While the whole suite of software has been updated, Outlook has received a lot of attention this go round. I thought I would share with you my top five favorite new productivity enhancing features.
- New Meeting with All – Outlook 2007 introduced the ability to layer calendars, but still left one big whole. Have you ever had five or six calendars open and found that mythical perfect meeting time, only to open the New Meeting record and then have to remember all of the people that you want to include? Outlook 2010 includes a New Meeting with All option that will open a New Meeting record and automatically add all of the people whose calendars are currently open.
- Quick Steps – Do you do something ALL OF THE TIME? Are you always emailing the same people? Are you always forwarding mail to someone? Do you make use of flags or categories and want to reduce some right clicks? The new Quick Steps options can reduce those tasks down to a single step. You can use the system default (there’s even an option to send an email to your manager defined in Active Directory) or customize and make your own. Either way, this is a great way to minimize the time it takes you to complete common tasks.
- The Ribbon – Outlook has finally received the face lift everything else got in Office 2007. The addition of the Ribbon is a welcome change that brings common tasks forward and streamlines working with the application. I know this is one of those things that take some getting used to, but the time investment is well worth it.
- Team Calendars – The new concept of a Team Calendar is a major time saver. Like the quick steps above, Outlook will poll Active Directory for your team (based on shared direct managers) or you can customize this based on your own needs. Either way, with the single click of the mouse, you can open an entire workgroups shared calendars to schedule meetings or just find out what you team is working on.
- Conversation View – I’ll be honest, I have this one turned off, but not forever. Outlook is able to instantly turn your emails into a conversation, allowing you to read the top level of a 16 level email chain. You can also decide you don’t want to see that chain and with a single right click all future messages about why the break room floor was wet this morning will go straight to your recycle bin. This takes some getting used to and I admit that I lost some patience, but I know that Microsoft is still working on this to make it a bit more intuitive and reduce the chances of accidentally deleting emails you mean to keep.
There are many, many more improvments, and these are simply my favorite. What are yours?