Here are some of the tasks you can perform with Outlook:
- Send and receive e-mail and fax messages.
- Maintain a personal calendar of appointments, events, and meetings.
- Schedule meetings with your co-workers.
- Store information about your business and personal contacts.
- Create to-do lists and manage personal or group projects.
- Keep a journal of messages you send or receive, Microsoft Office documents you access, or other events.
- Jot down miscellaneous information on electronic "sticky notes."
- Access and maintain the files on your local or network disks.
- Explore sites on the Internet.
Microsoft has added many features to Outlook since the original Office 97 version. Here are some of the new Outlook 98 features:
- A new "home page" folder called Outlook Today summarizes and lets you access current information from your Calendar, Tasks, and mail folders all in one place, and allows you to perform common tasks.
- Web-style tools let you quickly find and organize Outlook items.
- A Preview pane allows you to view your messages without having to open them.
- A News command on the Go menu lets you run Outlook Express to access Internet newsgroups.
- Use of the HTML format lets you send and receive e-mail containing formatted text, graphics, background colors and textures, or anything else a Web page can include.
- Predesigned e-mail stationery gives you a head start in creating attractive e-mail messages.
- Conditional formatting lets you mark certain e-mail messages or other Outlook items; for example, you could color-code all messages from your boss in red.
- User-defined rules automatically move or delete junk e-mail or other messages, or perform other actions.
- Support for standard Internet e-mail protocols lets you send and receive messages using SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) for outgoing messages, and either POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) or IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) for incoming messages.
- Use of LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) lets you verify e-mail addresses and find information about people.
- Support for additional Internet protocols lets you share information on the Internet: the vCard format for sharing contact information, vCalendar for exchanging appointment requests, and iCalendar for publishing schedules of free/busy times.
Receiving messages with the IMAP protocol, checking e-mail addresses using LDAP, and scheduling meetings using the iCalendar format all require the Internet Only installation of Outlook, which is explained in the next section.
And here are a few of the new features debuting in Outlook 2000:
- The home page feature lets you associate a Web page or disk file with any Outlook folder and display that page when the folder is opened.
- The Favorites menu allows you to browse Web locations stored in your Favorites folder and to add Web-page addresses to Favorites. Web pages are opened directly in the Outlook program window.
- Distribution lists that you create in your Contacts folder let you send e-mail messages to entire groups of people by adding only a single entry in the To field.
- Access to Microsoft Word's mail merge feature lets you print form letters, envelopes, or labels using selected items from your Contacts folder.
Don't confuse Outlook 2000 with Outlook Express. Outlook 2000 is a full-featured personal information manager and messaging client, and it's one of the major members of the Microsoft Office 2000 family of applications. Outlook Express, by contrast, is a specialized e-mail and newsreader program that's included with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Note that choosing News from the Go menu of Outlook 2000 runs the newsreader feature of Outlook Express.