If you look at the updated Outlook in the Microsoft Office 2013 Suite, you won’t see huge changes. There are a few changes to the menus and a few added features, but I wanted to focus on two that are important in our modern lifestyles.
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Outlook 2013 Goes Social
The first is “social integration” in your address book. Outlook 2013 has added a feature to integrate you social media accounts with your Outlook Contacts (now called “People”), this allows an Outlook user to have more information, such as alternative email addresses and profile photos. It integrates Facebook and Linkedin directly into your Outlook screen.
Another move that Outlook has made is that you can now integrate other email accounts, so that a user’s Outlook will now have the same look and feel of using a Smartphone. Outlook can now add a user’s Facebook emails, Linkedin requests and Twitter direct messages in one convenient box. I realise that this is not a huge change for most users and that every user might not be happy with it, but if you are a heavy social media user (like I am) you should find it makes life a lot easier.
Quick to Reply
The second is the long overdue reply feature. If you scroll over a message in the preview pane, you can click on reply and a new message will appear in which you can start typing immediately. I think the feature is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to saving time for users and was very happy to see the feature. It should save each user a few seconds per email, but when you add it all up, it could save a lot of hours for a large company.
Overall, I’m happy with the new Outlook upgrade. I wasn’t expecting huge changes, because huge changes require time. Time that companies (Outlook’s main user base) don’t want to waste to learn an entirely new program. So, as it is, Microsoft is forced to take baby steps in order to keep their users happy. I think they got this one right.
I’ll be writing about other features of Outlook 2013 in the following weeks, so make sure you check back.