BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 2000

  

 

BOOT CAMP 110, 10/02/00

OUTLOOK 2000

 

In the second part of our short tour around Microsoft’s Office 2000 we’re taking a quick look at Outlook 2000, arguably the most powerful component in this very popular suite of applications. In case you were wondering why we singled out Word 2000 (see last week’s Boot Camp) and Outlook 2000, that’s because they tend to be the most heavily used elements of the package and they have both undergone a number of significant changes from the previous versions in Office 97.

 

Unlike the other applications in Office, Outlook lacks a clear cut-identity. That’s because it does so many different things, the most import ones being an email manager and editor, diary, organiser and calendar with to-do lists. It is the central repository for contacts and address books, it handles file management, web browsing and access to newsgroups, though it has to be said that the latter function is not well integrated as it relies on Outlook Express.

 

The big problem with Outlook – especially pre-Office 2000 versions -- is that it looks horribly complicated. Many users are scared off, give up or use simpler address book and calendar software and Outlook Express for email (see Boot Camp 63, March 11th 1999 on the Connected web site: www.telegraph.co.uk). Admittedly it can be a bit of a struggle to use at first, yet for those who stick with it and master its many intricacies and nuances it can become a way of life – it could take over your life if you let it…

 

If you have only used Outlook 97 this new version (also available as a stand-alone program for around £95 inc. VAT) should look and feel quite different. However, a lot of the changes are not new and were incorporated into the Outlook 98. This was an interim version or upgrade – not very widely used as it turns out -- which Microsoft brought out in response to criticism of Outlook’s lack of email functionality in Office 97.

 

There have been some fairly important changes to the email side of things since Outlook 97. They include an improved set of tools that decide how email coming into the Inbox is handled. In addition to making it easier to organise the way you deal with large volumes of email it is handy for disposing of junk email. You can specify where items are automatically routed to and create as many new destination folders as you wish. A new and very welcome feature is the way the number of messages sent to new folders is flagged up when they arrive.

 

Email messages can be composed in any Office application or Outlook using plain text, Rich Text or HTML (or a mixture of all three in the same message). It is now quicker and easier to create customised stationery (images, backgrounds etc.), from the samples and templates supplied and if you have multiple email accounts you can more easily configure Outlook 2000 to do tricks, like send mail using one account, and receive incoming messages on another.

 

Adding a ‘signature’ – a brief snippet of text at the end of a message – is simpler in Outlook 2000; there’s also a facility for using multiple signatures, which can be inserted automatically when new messages are created.

 

In common with other Office 2000 applications improved web integration is a key feature, though much of the groundwork was already done on Outlook 98. Internet Explorer 5 lives alongside Outlook 2000; web pages can be browsed – albeit in a rather rudimentary fashion – from within Outlook, you can switch to

Internet Explorer and you can start Outlook from IE.

 

Outlook 2000 opens with the Outlook Today view. It shows a summary of appointments, tasks done, or requiring your attention and the number of mail messages waiting to be read. Flexibility and appearance have both been improved, there’s an option for various layout styles and ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ colour schemes. Clicking on any of the message folders switches Outlook into email mode, to read, compose or send messages. Shortcuts to other parts of Outlook appear in the left hand pane.

 

For most users the next port of call will be the Calendar, which shows a detailed view of the day’s events, there’s the Task Pad to-do list and a sliding calendar display showing two months at a time. The calendar can be copied and placed in a Net Folder, another new feature carried over from Outlook 98. Net Folders are a way of automatically sharing information with other Outlook users. They can be used to carry a variety of items, in addition to calendar details, including task lists, contacts and messages.  

 

Finally we come to the Contact Manager. This is the powerful address book, in addition to basic details – name, address phone number etc. -- there’s room for up to three email addresses per contact, web site details, nicknames, spouse’s name, birthday, inside leg measurement, well maybe not that, but there’s plenty of room for users to add extra details and information. Contacts contains layer upon layer of data storage areas, more than to enough to satisfy the most obsessive record keeper. Contacts can be associated with other contacts, assigned categories, allocate signatures for encrypting messages and you can keep track of appointments, emails and tasks associated with a particular contact, in short there’s so much to play around with it’s unlikely you’ll have any time left to attend any meetings…

 

Outlook 2000 like its predecessors is an industrial strength application for serious office use. Those who upgraded to Outlook 98 probably won’t see that much difference but anyone using Outlook 97 will find it a friendlier and much more coordinated package.  

 

Next week – parental control

 

JARGON FILTER

 

ENCRYPTION

Encryption or scrambling renders files unreadable by any conventional means without the correct decryption software and a unique 'key' code, which is needed to unlock the data.

 

HTML

Hypertext Markup Language – hidden codes in text documents and web pages that allow the reader to quickly move about the document, or jump to another, by clicking on underlined, coloured highlighted words or phrases.

 

RULES

A set of conditions, decided on by the user that decide how email messages are processed. Emails from a particular person or address might be routed to a separate folder or ‘flagged’ with an on-screen indicator. Junk email from a nominated address or containing a specified keyword can be sent straight to the waste bin

 

TIP OF THE WEEK

The double-pane view of Windows Explorer makes it easy to navigate around files and folders, if you like you can force all other Explorer type Folders (My Computer, Control Panel, Recycle Bin etc.) to open with double panes. Open a folder, My Computer will do, click Folder Options on the View menu and select the File Types tab. Scroll down the list under Registered File Types to find ‘Folder’, double click on it and in the dialogue window that appears, under Actions, highlight ‘Explore’, click Set As Default and then Close. To return to the original single pane view follow the above procedure, but this time select ‘Open’ in the Actions box.

Search PCTopTips 


Web

PCTopTips

Boot Camp Index

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

 

Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME

 

 

 

 

 

 Copyright 2006-2009 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.