What's so great about Outlook? I don't get it. Tips?

coip

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I have recently purchased Office 365, which comes with the full slate of Office programs: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, Access, and, Outlook. I've long been a user of the first four I listed, but have never used Outlook before. I currently use Outlook.com and I also use the Mail app built into Windows 8/RT. I love the UI of Outlook.com, and I also like the interface of the Mail app too, which I use to integrate my other email accounts (Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) into one place. I've heard that the Mail app has gotten a lot of flack, but I think it's not bad: it's simple, easy to use.

But, because I now have Outlook, and because it's coming to my Surface RT next month with the 8.1 update, and because I've heard how fantastic it is of a program, I thought I would try to make use of it. I set it up and linked my outlook.com and 2 other accounts (1 university one and 1 Yahoo one). The Outlook.com and university accounts said they connected fine, but the Yahoo did not (even after trying out several guides on how to connect Yahoo Mail to Outlook). Regardless, I thought I would just go ahead with the outlook.com and university accounts and try out Outlook. First, I noticed that neither account fully synced: they're both giving me thousands of emails from way back to 2006, then stops and jumps to '2 weeks ago', then 'yesterday' (ignoring those emails that came between 2006 and 2 weeks ago, as well as those emails that came between 2 weeks ago and yesterday). That is, even though Outlook says "All folders are up to date" there are thousands of them missing (both from years ago and days ago).

Furthermore, the entire UI seems needlessly complex and is confusing to me: and, again, I have been using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher for well over a decade, so even though the basic interface is familiar to me, the way it's organized in Outlook seems unintuitive. I can't figure out what I'm supposed to be doing and I don't trust the program to be up-to-date on all my emails (because it's not).

So, what am I doing wrong? Everyone talks about how great Outlook is--and maybe it makes more sense or has more appeal for a business, but for personal use, I'm thinking of just going back to the Mail app or Outlook.com. If Outlook really is that great, though, I would like to try to learn it. I guess I just don't seen any benefits to it, initially, just more headaches. Help?
 

kevynpm

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I think you'd be better sticking to Mail and Outlook.com for personal use. In the enterprise environment, though, Outlook is pretty handy.
 

fatclue_98

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Outlook is definitely an enterprise program. For personal use, I would recommend Hotmail (outlook.com). Exchange Active Sync (EAS) can be an adventure if you don't know all the correct settings, server names & addresses.
 

Smyrna5

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I agree with the "enterprise" comment. I am a sole proprietor and have never liked Outlook. Back in the old days, I prefered Outlook Express to it, and I still like Thunderbird or just plain old Gmail's web based email better. At least its not hell like Lotus Notes was.
 

jaimeastin

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I like the mail app on rt, but outlook is king for work. I own my own business too, and I would nor want to do without outlook. At the corporate office where I do IT work, we would deply anything else but outlook. The features ir offers for end users and network administration are wonderful.
 

spaulagain

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Like others have said, Outlook.com and the mail apps are great for personal use.

But when it comes to Enterprise, Outlook is amazing. Extremely powerful tool. Meetings, contacts, tasks, email, etc. are all synced and managed through it. Its a great tool for any company with more than a couple employees.
 

rdubmu

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I agree with the "enterprise" comment. I am a sole proprietor and have never liked Outlook. Back in the old days, I prefered Outlook Express to it, and I still like Thunderbird or just plain old Gmail's web based email better. At least its not hell like Lotus Notes was.
I use it for the calendar function. I also use it for outlook.com tasks. I can set up reoccurring tasks at different intervals. Which windows phone and outlook.com you can't set up, outlook 2013 sets my tasks, and the reoccurring tasks work across the cloud to my phone. The calendar options are endless as well. Outlook 2013 calendar and tasks are the best I have found so far.
 

spaulagain

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I use it for the calendar function. I also use it for outlook.com tasks. I can set up reoccurring tasks at different intervals. Which windows phone and outlook.com you can't set up, outlook 2013 sets my tasks, and the reoccurring tasks work across the cloud to my phone. The calendar options are endless as well. Outlook 2013 calendar and tasks are the best I have found so far.


Oh, good point about the recurring tasks. That is actually probably my biggest pet peeve with Windows Phone. I should try that out on the Outlook app. I'm assuming those recurring tasks sync to your phone right?
 

blehblehbleh

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Furthermore, the entire UI seems needlessly complex and is confusing to me: and, again, I have been using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher for well over a decade, so even though the basic interface is familiar to me, the way it's organized in Outlook seems unintuitive. I can't figure out what I'm supposed to be doing and I don't trust the program to be up-to-date on all my emails (because it's not).

So, what am I doing wrong? Everyone talks about how great Outlook is--and maybe it makes more sense or has more appeal for a business, but for personal use, I'm thinking of just going back to the Mail app or Outlook.com. If Outlook really is that great, though, I would like to try to learn it. I guess I just don't seen any benefits to it, initially, just more headaches. Help?

It definitely can be overwhelming at first, but stick with it and you'll get the hang of it. The ribbon in Outlook has pretty much everything you need. Regarding the emails between 2006 and 2 weeks ago, have you tried checking your Archive folder?
 

rdubmu

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Oh, good point about the recurring tasks. That is actually probably my biggest pet peeve with Windows Phone. I should try that out on the Outlook app. I'm assuming those recurring tasks sync to your phone right?




yes it works perfectly, once you check one of your reoccurring tasks off, the next tasks automatically appears





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coip

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Okay, I've decided to give it more time. I finally was able to get it to connect to Yahoo mail, so now I have my 3 main accounts there. However, the syncing is still taking forever (it's been 2 days and I've literally, at times, sat there and watched it pull in 1 mail at a time from years on back. I don't get why it is taking so long, but once it gets all caught up, all should be well.

What other features should I be using? Previously I'd just go to Outlook.com and send emails from there, switch over to the People tab for contacts, and use the Calendar there. I see I can use those same tools here in Outlook, but what else is there that is great? I see many of you have gushed about 'recurring tasks'. This is just like setting up regular reminders, like "take my vitamin at noon every day)?
 

xandros9

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I use Outlook 2013 for my personal use and I like it. Main reasons are that its offline, brings all my stuff in one place, and is independent of a web browser.

I've linked my Google, Outlook.com, and another email, through EAS and IMAP.

It's nice for me because it syncs Tasks and whatnot, and syncs with my Palm OS device if I happen to be using one. (with a third-party hack though).

It has a lot more features than I will probably ever use or care to learn, but they're handy for the enterprise user.
 

Laura Knotek

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One feature of Outlook that I like it delaying delivery. I am able to compose emails at midnight and schedule them to be sent at 8:00 AM.
 

blehblehbleh

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Okay, I've decided to give it more time. I finally was able to get it to connect to Yahoo mail, so now I have my 3 main accounts there. However, the syncing is still taking forever (it's been 2 days and I've literally, at times, sat there and watched it pull in 1 mail at a time from years on back. I don't get why it is taking so long, but once it gets all caught up, all should be well.

If you're syncing via IMAP, looks like there's a "known" problem (at least through forums). Hopefully these links shed some light:

Outlook 2013 Syncing Issues with Outlook.com - Microsoft Community
Outlook 2013 IMAP Issues Solved - Windows 7 Help Forums
 

coip

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1. I finally got Yahoo mail to fully sync all of my mail. It took several days of manually forcing the "send/receive" button. Not very impressed with that, but onward I go
2. Everyone here seems to like the Tasks feature, so I decided to try to use it instead of what I was using (OneNote), but I got frustrated right away because it won't let me format the text. I'll create a task, open it up, and then click on the Format Text tab in the ribbon but it's all greyed out, even if I highlight the text with my mouse. What gives? In OneNote I can format text no problem and even add cool check boxes and stuff.
 

rdubmu

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OneNote is also a good app to use for tasks. The reoccuring task I use are usually weekly tasks and routines for work. I love how I can set it up for different days and have a ton of options. For outlook.com, everything is there as well, but it is online, if for whatever reason you don't have internet, you can't access it. For my personal email that isn't a big deal but for my work email it is. We use office 365 at work and having it on outlook 2013 is great!



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coip

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Okay, I'm getting used to the interface of Outlook and I'm starting to like it a bit more, but I still have one major gripe: emails are not grouped by conversations/threads! I'm not a fan of Google but one of the reasons Gmail got so popular was because they brought in the idea of grouping emails by conversation so that all replies get piled together in one easily accessible thread. Outlook.com smartly aped this feature, and with an better UI and other features became better than Gmail. I dig Outlook.com. Outlook (the Office program) has a bunch of cool features too, which all ya'll have been pointing out, and which I appreciate, but what's the deal with the 1999-style disparate emails? Group those babies up, Microsoft!
 

Laura Knotek

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Okay, I'm getting used to the interface of Outlook and I'm starting to like it a bit more, but I still have one major gripe: emails are not grouped by conversations/threads! I'm not a fan of Google but one of the reasons Gmail got so popular was because they brought in the idea of grouping emails by conversation so that all replies get piled together in one easily accessible thread. Outlook.com smartly aped this feature, and with an better UI and other features became better than Gmail. I dig Outlook.com. Outlook (the Office program) has a bunch of cool features too, which all ya'll have been pointing out, and which I appreciate, but what's the deal with the 1999-style disparate emails? Group those babies up, Microsoft!
Please see this article.
 

wamsille

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Ha! Brilliant. You rock. You are slowly winning me over, Outlook.

I suppose Outlook cannot do IMing and Skyping like Outlook.com, right? That would probably be everything, then.

Skype / Instant Messaging isn't built into Outlook 2013 unless I'm missing something. I doubt it will be unless it is through a seperate add-on from Microsoft. Most enterprises employ Lync for instant messaging.
 

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