The Bottom Line
Outlook's message templates could be more flexible, though, and its smart folders could learn from example.
- Outlook comes with solid and effective spam filtering and blocks phishing attempts
- Snappy, flexible search, virtual folders, conversations and mail grouping help you organize mail
- Outlook integrates email messages, to-do lists, scheduling and social networking updates well
- Outlook is a bit confusing to set up and can be confusing to use with its myriad of options
- You cannot create smart folders, flags or rules that learn by example
- Outlook lacks useful message templates, and its RSS feed reader flexibility
- Microsoft Office Outlook manages multiple POP, IMAP, Exchange, MSN and Hotmail accounts.
- Outlook offers powerful filters and ways to organize, thread, label and find messages.
- Effective junk mail and phishing filters move unsolicited messages to a "Junk E-mail" folder automatically.
- Outlook offers "Search Folders", which automatically contain all items matching certain criteria.
- Searching for any message in any folder or account is pleasantly fast and sufficiently powerful in Outlook.
- Outlook supports S/MIME email encryption and IRM access control (e.g. mail can't be forwarded).
- To protect your privacy, Outlook doesn't download remote images and can display all mail in plain text.
- Outlook attachment preview lets you view many types of attached files right inside the message.
- An integrated RSS feed reader treats news items like emails.
- Microsoft Office Outlook supports Windows XP/Vista/7.
Guide Review - Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 - Email Program
Its easy to use spam and phishing filters effectively sort out the junk (set the filtering level to "high"), and Outlook's intelligent use of virtual folders, fast message searching, flagging, grouping and threading make dealing with even large amounts of good mail a snap. It's easy to set up "Quick Steps" buttons in the toolbar, for example, that afford one-click access to filing mail, new messages to oft-mailed recipients, replies, flagging and more.
The included RSS feed reader lacks sophistication, but it does turn up news items as emails automatically — and typically, that's just right.
Another inclusion, social networking, does deliver another kind of news in often helpful a manner. Once set up to work with the networks you're using, "Outlook Social Connector" not only picks up photos and status updates, it includes previous emails exchanged, meetings planned and attachments received in the mix, too.
It's a pity you can't train the junk mail filters — or even Outlook's otherwise so perfectly helpful categories. They could learn by example how you sort your mail. Unfortunately, Outlook also offers no way to apply categories to messages in IMAP accounts (they do work and roam perfectly with Exchange accounts).
Utility and ubiquity aside, Outlook is probably as well known as a target for viruses as it as a personal assistant. In spite — or because — of this history, Outlook 2010 goes to great lengths protecting your privacy and security. Outlook supports S/MIME message encryption, lets you display all mail in super-secure plain text and even sports a custom, more secure (albeit a tad clumsy), HTML message viewer.
Of course, Outlook has powerful filters and can be programmed to do many tasks automatically or expanded to learn new tricks with add-ons. Setting up flexible message templates for boilerplate replies isn't included, though.
Email editing works like a charm and with all the comfort you know from Word. This, alas, may result in large messages showing jumbled text for certain recipients. Plain text is available as a safe alternative to HTML and rich-text formatting, however.