The Bottom Line
For Outlook 2010, see Microsoft Outlook 2010 Review.
- Outlook comes with solid and effective spam filtering and blocks phishing attempts
- Snappy, flexible search, virtual folders and mail grouping help you organize mail
- Outlook integrates email messages, to-do lists and scheduling well
- Outlook is a bit confusing to set up and can be confusing to use with its myriad of options, too
- You cannot create smart folders or flags 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, 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 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, 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.
Guide Review - Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 SP2 - 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. The included RSS feed reader lacks sophistication, but it does turn up news items as emails automatically — and typically that's just right.
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 2007 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 only and even sports a custom, more secure, 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.
While email editing works like a charm and with all the comfort you know from Word, there is one thing you'll find Outlook cannot do: rewrap the text if you prefer to write your email replies with the original message text indented the way some internet purists prefer.
More annoyingly, Outlook seems sluggish at times, when previewing an attachment in an IMAP account, for example, or — when opening a message.