Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager from Microsoft, available as a part of the Microsoft Office suite. The current version is Microsoft Office Outlook 2013 for Windows and Microsoft Office Outlook 2011 for Mac.
It can be used as a stand-alone application, or can work with Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server for multiple users in an organization, such as shared mailboxes and calendars, Exchange public folders, SharePoint lists and meeting schedules. There are third-party add-on applications that integrate Outlook with devices such as BlackBerry mobile phones and with other software such as Office and Skype internet communication. Developers can also create their own custom software that works with Outlook and Office components using Microsoft Visual Studio. In addition, Windows Mobile devices can synchronize almost all Outlook data to Outlook Mobile.
Versions of Microsoft Outlook include:
|Name||Version Number||Release Date||Notes|
|Outlook for MS-DOS||-||-||Bundled with Exchange Server 5.5|
|Outlook for Windows 3.1x||-||-||Bundled with Exchange Server 5.5|
|Outlook for Macintosh||-||-||Bundled with Exchange Server 5.5|
|Outlook 97||8.0||January 16, 1997||Included in Office 97 and bundled with Exchange Server 5.5|
|Outlook 98||8.5||June 21, 1998||Freely distributed with books and magazines for coping with newest Internet standard such as HTML mail. Outlook 98 setup was based on Active Setup which also installed Internet Explorer 4.|
|Outlook 2000||9.0||June 27, 1999||Included in Office 2000 and bundled with Exchange 2000 Server.|
|Outlook 2002||10||May 31, 2001||Included in Office XP|
|Office Outlook 2003||11||November 20, 2003||Included in Office 2003 (incl. Standard Edition for Students and Teachers) and bundled with Exchange Server 2003|
|Office Outlook 2007||12||January 27, 2007||Included in Office 2007, except Office Home and Student edition|
|Outlook 2010||14||July 15, 2010||Included in Office 2010 Home and Business, Standard, Professional and Professional Plus|
|Outlook 2011 for Mac||14||October 26, 2010||Included in Office for Mac 2011 Home and Business|
|Outlook 2013||15||January 29, 2013||Included in Office 2013, except Home & Student edition|
Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000 of two configurations:
- Internet Mail Only or IMO mode: A lighter application mode with specific emphasis on POP3 accounts and IMAP accounts and including a lightweight Fax application.
- Corporate Workgroup or CW mode: A full MAPI client with specific emphasis on Microsoft Exchange accounts.
Outlook 2007 
Outlook 2007 was available in retail stores at the end of January 2007. Features that debuted in Outlook 2007 include:
- Office Fluent "ribbon" user interface (though not for the main window)
- To-Do bar added to the shell UI that shows a snapshot of the user's upcoming appointments and active tasks for better time and project management, and provides navigation entry points into calendar (e.g. selecting calendar dates in Date Navigator, clicking on day/date names in appointments area)
- Changed calendar views that display the tasks due below each day on the week view and supports overlaying multiple calendars
- Send your calendar information with calendar snapshots, which creates an HTML representation of your calendar so you can share this information with anyone
- Ability to publish calendars in Internet Calendar format to Microsoft Office Online or to a WebDAV server
- Send text and picture messages from Outlook with Outlook Mobile Service to a mobile phone. Forward Outlook email messages, contacts, appointments, and tasks as text messages. Automatically send email messages, reminders, and your daily calendar as text messages to a mobile phone Outlook SMS Service Provider
- Integrated RSS aggregator
- 'Instant Search' through a context indexer based search engine with Windows Desktop Search
- Enhanced integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server
- New programmability features
- Preview Handler extension for previewing email attachment (including reading pane) without leaving Outlook
- Ability to add a picture or company logo to a contact or electronic business card
- Color Categories give you an easy, visual way to distinguish any type of information from one another, so it's easy to organize your data and search your information
- Save as PDF or XPS
- Discontinuation of Common User Access cut and paste support
- Improved anti-phishing filters
- Office Outlook 2007 Email Postmark is designed to make it very time-consuming to send email. This makes it technologically detrimental for users to send mass email with Outlook, prompting spammers to use other e-mail clients.
- Information Rights Management (IRM) restricts and/or expires distribution of email using Windows Server 2003 or later running Windows Rights Management Services (RMS)
- Managed policy compliance features integration with Exchange Server 2007
- Now renders HTML-formatted e-mails using Microsoft Word instead of Internet Explorer (making the rendering less standards-compliant, but more in line with what a user sees when composing e-mail using Word)
Outlook 2010 
Features that debuted in Outlook 2010 include:
- Ribbon interface in all views
- Contact cards to show pop-up details of all message participants from GAL or user contact records
- Grouping of conversations improved - includes messages from all folders, and optionally from separate accounts
- Improved To-Do bar, for example showing how many appointments are not shown when space is limited
- "People Pane" and Social Networking features
Microsoft also released several versions of Outlook for Mac OS, though it was only for use with Exchange servers. It was not provided as a component of Microsoft Office for Mac, but instead made available to users from administrators or by download. The final version was Outlook for Mac 2001, which was fairly similar to Outlook 2000 and 2002 apart from being exclusively for Exchange users.
Microsoft Entourage was introduced as an Outlook-like application for Mac OS in Office 2001, but it lacked Exchange connectivity. Partial support for Exchange server became available natively in Mac OS X with Entourage 2004 Service Pack 2. Entourage is not directly equivalent to Outlook in terms of design or operation; rather, it is a distinct application which has several overlapping features including Exchange client capabilities. Somewhat improved Exchange support was added in Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition.
Entourage was replaced by Outlook for Mac 2011, which features greater compatibility and parity with Outlook for Windows than Entourage offered. It is the first native version of Outlook for Mac OS X.
Outlook 2011 initially only supported Mac OS X's Sync Services for Contacts, not Events, Tasks or Notes. It also does not have a Project Manager equivalent to that in Entourage. With Service Pack 1 (v 14.1.0), published on 12 April 2011, Outlook can now sync calendar, notes and tasks with Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010.
Internet standards compliance 
HTML rendering 
Outlook 2007 was the first Outlook to switch from Internet Explorer HTML rendering to Microsoft Word 2007 HTML rendering. This means HTML and CSS items not handled by Word are no longer supported. On the other hand, HTML messages composed in Word will look more or less as they appeared to the author.
This affects publishing newsletters and HTML/CSS reports, because they frequently use intricate HTML and/or CSS to form their layout. For example, forms can no longer be embedded in email.
Support of CSS properties and HTML attributes 
Outlook for Windows has very limited CSS support compared to various other e-mail clients. Neither CSS1 and CSS2 specifications are fully implemented and many CSS properties are only to be used with certain HTML elements. Some HTML attributes help achieve proper rendering of e-mails in Outlook, but most of these attributes are already deprecated in the HTML 4.0 specifications. In order to achieve the best compatibility with Outlook, most HTML e-mails are created using multiple tables, as the table element and its sub-elements support the width and height property in Outlook. Outlook might recognize unsupported HTML attributes or CSS properties and will then display the notice "If there are problems with how this message is displayed, click here to view it in a web browser." in the header of the email. The link will open the email in Internet Explorer, ignoring your browser-preference.
Outlook for Mac however supports most of the CSS specifications.
Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format 
Outlook and Exchange Server internally handle messages, appointments and items as objects in a data model which is derived from the old proprietary Microsoft Mail system, the Rich Text Format from Microsoft Word and the complex OLE general data model. When these programs interface with other protocols such as the various Internet and X.400 protocols, they try to map this internal model onto those protocols in a way that can be reversed if the ultimate recipient is also running Outlook or Exchange.
This focus on the possibility that emails and other items will ultimately be converted back to Microsoft Mail format is so extreme that if Outlook/Exchange cannot figure out a way to encode the complete data in the standard format, it simply encodes the entire message/item in a proprietary binary format called Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format (TNEF) and sends this as an attached file (usually named "winmail.dat") to an otherwise incomplete rendering of the mail/item. If the recipient is Outlook/Exchange it can simply discard the incomplete outer message and use the encapsulated data directly, but if the recipient is any other program, the message received will be incomplete because the data in the TNEF attachment will be of little use without the Microsoft software for which it was created. As a workaround, numerous tools for (partially) decoding TNEF files exist.
Calendar compatibility 
Outlook does not fully support data and syncing specifications for calendaring and contacts, such as iCalendar, CalDAV, SyncML, and vCard 3.0. Outlook 2007 claims to be fully iCalendar compliant; however, it does not support all core objects, such as VTODO or VJOURNAL. Also, Outlook supports vCard 2.1 and does not support multiple contacts in the vCard format as a single file. Outlook has also been criticized for having proprietary "Outlook extensions" to these Internet standards.
Security concerns 
As part of its Trustworthy Computing initiative, Microsoft took corrective steps to fix Outlook's reputation in Office Outlook 2003. Among the most publicized security features are that Office Outlook 2003 does not automatically load images in HTML emails or permit opening executable attachments by default, and includes a built-in Junk Mail filter. Service Pack 2 has augmented these features and adds an anti-phishing filter.
Outlook add-ins 
Outlook add-ins are small helping programs for the Microsoft Outlook application. The main purpose of the add-ins is to add new functional capabilities into Microsoft Outlook and automate some routine operations. Add-in also refers to programs where the main function is to work on Outlook files such as synchronisation or backup utilities.
From Outlook 97 on, Exchange Client Extensions are supported in Outlook. Outlook 2000 and later support specific COM components called Outlook AddIns. The exact supported features (such as .NET components) for later generations were extended with each release.
Hotmail Connector 
Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector (shortened Hotmail Connector, formerly Microsoft Office Outlook Connector), was a free add-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 that allowed users to access Hotmail accounts through Microsoft Outlook. It uses DeltaSync, a proprietary Microsoft communications protocol.
In version 12, access to tasks and notes and online synchronization with MSN Calendar was only available to MSN subscribers of paid premium accounts. Version 12.1, released in December 2008 as an optional upgrade, used Windows Live Calendar instead of the former MSN Calendar. This meant that calendar features became free for all users, except for tasks synchronization which became unavailable. In April 2008, version 12.1 became a required upgrade to continue using the service as part of a migration from MSN Calendar to Windows Live Calendar.
Social Connector 
Outlook Social Connector was a free add-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003 and 2007 by Microsoft that allowed integration of social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin and Windows Live Messenger into Microsoft Outlook. It was first introduced in 18 November 2009. Starting with Microsoft Office 2010, Outlook Social Connector is an integral part of Outlook.
Importing from other email clients 
Traditionally, Outlook supported importing messages from Outlook Express and Lotus Notes. In addition, Microsoft Outlook supports POP3 and IMAP protocols, enabling users to import mails from server that support these protocols, such as Gmail. Microsoft Hotmail Connector add-in (described above) helps importing email from Hotmail accounts. Outlook 2013 later integrated the functionality of this add-in and added the ability to import email (as well as calendar) through Exchange ActiveSync protocol.
There are some ways to get the emails from Thunderbird; the first is to use a tool that can convert a Thunderbird folder to a format that can be imported from Outlook Express. This method must be processed folder by folder. The other method is to use a couple of free tools that keep the original folder structure. If Exchange is available, an easier method is to connect the old mail client (Thunderbird) to Exchange using IMAP, and upload the original mail from the client to the Exchange account.
See also 
- Address Book
- Comparison of email clients
- Comparison of feed aggregators
- Comparison of office suites
- Evolution (software)
- List of applications with iCalendar support
- List of personal information managers
- Microsoft Exchange Server
- Outlook Web App
- Windows Calendar
- Windows Contacts
- Lextrait, Vincent (July 2010). "The Programming Languages Beacon, v10.3". Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- Top 10 Reasons to Use Outlook - Business Center - PC World
- The version numbers follows the Office numbers.
- "Microsoft Outlook Life-cycle Information". Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "XCLN: Microsoft Outlook for Windows 3.1x". Support.microsoft.com. 2005-08-18. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
- HTML Mail with Microsoft Outlook
- OL98: How to Troubleshoot Active Setup Problems in Windows 98, 98 SE or ME
- Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 product overview
- What's New for Developers in Outlook 2007 (Part 1 of 2)
- Add, change, or remove a picture for a contact
- Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 product overview
- Overview of the Office user interface in Office 2010
- The Outlook Social Connector
- Welsh, John C. (October 1, 2010). "Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011". Macworld. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
- "Microsoft Outlook 2007 Report | Email Standards Project". Email-standards.org. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
- Guide to CSS support in email
- HTML 4.0 Specification
- Outlook Data Model Reference (page on the MailItem object class members), MSDN development documentation, , retrieved May 2011
- Preface of the TNEF specification, Outlook 2010 edition, , retrieved May 2011
- See list of some TNEF decoders in the main TNEF article
- "Microsoft Office 2003 editions comparison". Microsoft. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
- "MS-STANOICAL - v1.01 Outlook iCalendar Standards Compliance" (PDF). Microsoft. Retrieved 2008-03-09.[dead link]
- Microsoft 'Security at Home' website
- "Microsoft Office Outlook Hotmail Connector overview". Microsoft Office website. Microsoft. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "What's new in Outlook 2013". TechNet Library. Microsoft. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Thomas, Doug (24 August 2010). "How to install the Outlook Social Connector (video)". Office Casual blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Announcing the Outlook Social Connector". Outlook Blog. Microsoft. 18 November 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Changes in Outlook 2010 (for IT pros)". TechNet Library. Microsoft. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Export messages and folders from Thunderbird to Outlook / Outlook Express / Windows Mail
- Official website
- Office 2010 product guide
- Outlook Developer Portal
- Microsoft Office Outlook Team Blog
- Desktop Email Clients that are suitable alternatives to Microsoft Outlook