Outlook 2007 Might Not Suck!

I can’t believe this. I’m giving Microsoft Office Beta 2 a shot, after receiving the DVD set at WinHEC yesterday. It’s running on my Vista Beta 2 laptop right now. The first thing I did? Fire up Outlook to see if they had addressed a few of the larger bugs I’ve been submitting to them since before Outlook XP was unleashed onto an unsuspecting public. It’s not perfect, but it’s showing a bit of promise. They have a lot of UI work to clean up before I could give this my stamp of approval. Here’s my first round of feedback…

  • The application flashing has got to go, including when I click an HTML message to view it in the preview pane. I assume this will be fixed.
  • Message content should not lag between the time I select the message and the time I see it. Outlook 2000 (!) has no problem doing this, yet every version since then has slowed down this process. Doesn’t matter how fast the machine is, it seems – we’re limited by slow-moving code.
  • The text-wrap option is still half-baked. Recommended to leave turned off, as it no longer reminds you that there are line breaks in a message – THANK GOD!
  • The views configuration is still broken beyond belief. If I change a view in one folder, I should be given a chance to apply that view to all item-specific folders (like, all message folders). This needs to be fixed. I hate grid lines, and I hate group viewing – and I’m certainly not willing to go through each of my folders one-by-one and turn off those settings. If Outlook worked like it was supposed to work, there would be a master view setting. I assume this will be addressed.
  • Too many calls to Tahoma. They should be on Segoe UI now.
  • I don’t mind that Outlook’s UI isn’t undergoing a ribbon “upgrade.” However, it stands out like a sore thumb when sitting next to a new message window with the Ribbon. Either you’re in or you’re out, Outlook.
  • Still no way to turn off the shortcut bar – even if you hide all the icons, the bar still remains in the position. I never liked the shortcut bar.
  • Still no way to customize what header information shows up in the preview pane. Nor is there a way to configure the font sizes it calls. Nor is there a way to change the border between the preview pane header and the message; I’d prefer to turn this ‘horizontal rule’ off entirely. It should also be noted that the margin between the top of the preview pane header and the bottom of it are at completely different heights. Preview pane header still needs a TON of clean-up. Why can’t I set the preview pane header to look the same as a message window header – that’s what I want!!!
  • Why does the message list view flash when I scroll up and down?
  • Still no way of telling Outlook that I trust certain senders, and it’s okay if they send me images through email.
  • The new message window has element discrepancies. The “To” and “Cc” buttons look fine, but the “Subject” label below it is not centered, nor is it padded similarly.
  • They’ve fixed the margin/border padding discrepancies in the message window.
  • So, why is the Office clipboard not a universal Windows clipboard? Are we really living in an age when there can only be one item on the clipboard due to memory constraints?!
  • The Office button reveals a menu that looks too much like the old Windows Start Menu, not enough like the new one.
  • Clicking and dragging the preview pane border to adjust the area’s height is quite slow. My mouse moves quicker than the shadow of the border.
  • Why am I seeing a horizontal scroll bar in an HTML message with nothing but simple text?
  • There’s no way to turn off the lower portion of “options” for the current folder view. I don’t want to see it, and they still haven’t figured out how to make the margin spacing equal. One easy way to “fix” that is to allow people to turn it off when they don’t want to see it.
  • Seems redundant to redundantly put a heading at the top of the “Folders List” that says “Folders List” and right below it have a header that says “All Folders.” Duh?
  • Ouch. There’s no way to control the style of an RSS feed item. :P Major oversight here, folks.
  • HTML font control is still delegated by the pathetic font controller baked into Internet Explorer. It ain’t gonna get any better with IE7, either. Would somebody please take Times New Roman out to the back and shoot it for me?
  • In the RSS feed preview pane, it’s redundantly displaying an internal “orange tip” to tell you that you can view the permalink, then at the end of the message, it shows you a blue hyperlinked “View article” phrase. Do I really need to see both of these things? Can’t you toggle an RSS n00b vs. Master setting somewhere? Doesn’t matter, as I’m likely sticking with FeedDemon.

And that’s just off the top of my head. If the right people see it, this may very well be the Outlook version to beat. They’ve fixed a handful of bugs, but… not nearly enough to convince me that this is any better than O2k.

33 thoughts on “Outlook 2007 Might Not Suck!”

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  3. I installed it, though it was cool , but some HTML emails were rendering to slowly and other emails that have simply links were getting corrupted, so off it went… and it took about 3 hrs to remove it correct allowing me to get back on track with 2003.

  4. here’s 2 more for you.

    Keyboard Shortcuts!!!! .. it makes absolutley no sense for a professional grade app not to have keyboard shortcuts but if Outlook has them I don’t see them anywhere. Everytime you want to mark anything as read – or group of items you have to right click and Mark Read.

    Simple configuration settings … why is the settings for stuff buried a 100 layers deep .. okay I exagerate but it sure seems like that. I’m still trying to find where to change the auto mark as read in a certain period of seconds ..

  5. Oh man! Are you back in full form!!!!

    About the Vista UI, unless Microsoft has a hidden project that’s taking care of refining the UI, I don’t see them addressing most of the issues in your list. Just not going to happen.
    And I hate the GREEN in Vista.

  6. Not using the orb in Outlook makes it look like it’s not a part of Office. They should at least incorporate it somehow. Even if there isn’t a ribbon. Also, HTML rendering in emails is taking entirely too long. I also still get messages about extra line breaks. It’s also crashed a few times.

  7. Please, please, please beg them to add back a feature from the original Outlook. When sending an email, you used to be able to use Find AND REPLACE within the body. After the original version of Outlook, they removed that feature altogether (they assumed that we ALL want to use MSWord to edit our emails). Not all of us do. I now have to take an email, paste it in Word or Notepad, perform the replace function and paste back. Every other email program out there lets you do this, why not Outlook?

  8. Please, please beg them to add back a feature from the original Outlook. When sending an email, you used to be able to use Find AND REPLACE within the body. After the original version of Outlook, they removed that feature altogether (they assumed that we ALL want to use MSWord to edit our emails). Not all of us do. I now have to take an email, paste it in Word or Notepad, perform the replace function and paste back. Every other email program out there lets you do this, why not Outlook?

  9. Not to be down on Outlook. I used to love Outlook, but given the speed of GMail and now with the release of Google Calendar there’s becoming less and less reason to ‘live’ in Outlook. Do I really need a huge .PST file? What about all those, “preference” files living all over the place (eg: Macros, Account data, etc)? How can it be that Google can create a web-based application that is faster then a ‘thick’ client?! Did Microsoft not look at GMail during the development of the latest version of Outlook? Yes Outlook does many other things, but what do people want: Certainly #1 – EMail, #2 – Calendar Reminders, #3 – Contact,s [#4 – To Dos]. Microsoft has to look at the ‘customer’ a lot more. We all love Outlook, but with it’s lack of attention in the most recently release, it’s poor object model and poor use of storage system I’m sure more and more people will see less use for it as ‘Web 2.0’ applications take off, and that’s assame.

  10. Loaded Outlook2007 and was not able to use until I deleted my msn premiun settings from Outlook 2003 and reconnected, then I was able to start Outlook. However, my contacts and calendar was not imported and I still have not found a way to import them from my msn account

    Additionally, I would like Outlook to export the html for the calendar to the way you set it within the program when you save it as a webpage. I have to make sure I save my style sheet is in another folder and replace the one they output to get the formatting I need and want. This can be a hassle if you are constantly making changes and uploads.

    A sample of the calendar with my template is at http://imbrotherhood.org/calendar/may_dec2005.htm the new calendar exports the same way as the old and looks no formatting changes.

    Still examining, I need those contacts and my calendar, from my msn premium account!

  11. Hi! As you see I am from Russia. I upgrade my Office 2003 Rus SP1 directly to Office 2007 Beta 2 and it is no problem. After creation of standard default folders (s.a. Inbox, Outbox etc.) Office 2007 Beta 2 still working with Russian folders and all settings of Office 2003 are remaining. I am not a guru master in all around Microsoft Office, and still not understand where all information goes from headers me downloading instead whole message!? The headers look EMPTY!!! Just empty fields with only icon of header of a message. Any idea?

  12. Couple of comments:

    Chris – you can tell Outlook to mark a sender as okay to display images by right clicking an email from them, going to Junk Email, and selecting Add Sender to Safe Sender’s List.

    Your comments about the RSS functionality are right on target, but I assume that this may be tweaked before final release since this is one of the newest features in Outlook. (crossing my fingers)

    Your comment about the Folder list and the All Folders heading right underneath it … while I too can see the redundancy, I think this stems from the fact that the navigation pane uses the same control throughout, regardless of which “section” you’re viewing (i.e. mail, calendar, etc.). The other sections all allow you to set up your own groups, which add more of the same type of header as the All Folders one.

    A reader posted a comment regarding Find and Replace when sending a message… since there is no more “outlook” create message window (Outlook 2007 always uses Word, no option anymore), Find and Replace works again in the send email window.

  13. The good thing about it was that it confgured itself to use Gmail adn that alone to me was worth the upgrade.

  14. Hi

    Just installed MS Office 2007 and all is OK as far as I can see apart from
    I cannot find the Office shortcut bar, I know it was left out in previous versions but though it was going to be included in 2007.
    If it is included can someone advise on how to install it.

  15. Hi Chris,

    I was just wondering why on earth might you have other ‘Where is the Save Image As control in the preview pane of Microsoft Outlook 2007?’ content in “* Google Maps Add-In for Outlook”?! But since you say so on your web site, I’ll be sure to check it out.


  16. for auto mark as read option…

    Tools -> Options
    Other Tab
    Click reading pane button…there you go. intuitive, right?!

  17. Hi: I’ve been an avid user of Journal in Outlook 2003. In 2007 I am not able to link a journal entry to a Contact. By the way, I like to manage my journals from one screen, not from within each contact’s record. What am I missing??


  18. I’ve turned off the Reading pane for the Inbox, but every time I create a new folder and switch to it, the dang thing is back ON. Is there any way to turn it off for EVERY folder?

  19. Nope, 2007 sucks (all of it). Why they removed the menus we’ve been using for YEARS is beyond me. There’s not even the option to use the classic menus unless you want to buy an addin. I’m tired of this Mickey Mouse big button MAC shit. OpenOffice time.

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