A Second Look at Outlook 2007

Standard

Outlook 2007 Product Box ShotI wrote an “Open Letter to Microsoft” over a month ago. It was a short diatribe on Microsoft’s decision to use Word’s rendering engine for Outlook 2007 instead of Internet Explorer. Well, I had assumed that it would be quite some time before I had to worry about testing designs in Outlook 2007, but that day came much, much sooner than I had anticipated. I snagged a copy of it off of Amazon.com (product link) for $89.99.The interesting thing that I’ve discovered while using the new version, is that where it fails with rendering emails – it excels in handling contacts, calendaring, etc. The mere fact that the new version of Outlook supports the iCal standard, viewing RSS feeds, etc. makes it a pretty solid upgrade. Having said that, I don’t expect you to run out and buy a copy. How it renders email is a huge flaw, and one I have tried hard to ignore while using the product.

CONS

  • Email rendering sucks. Standards-based email designs blow up. Old School HTML is the only way to fly if you’ve got any customers, clients, etc. that use Outlook 2007. This is the single-most important concern I have over the product, and one that I hope gets addressed in the near future.

PROS

  • Beautiful interface. Everything is logically organized when viewing email. You can view your mail, mail folders, To-Do items, and upcoming tasks all in one window. The inclusion of Vista fonts like Segoe UI, Calibri, Cambria, etc. make everything easy to read… with ClearType enabled, everything looks beautiful.
  • iCal Support. I use Google Calendar as my primary calendaring app. The fact that I can now subscribe to them via Outlook is awesome. I also use Basecamp… and I can import individual project calendars if I choose to. Being able to pull those into a desktop app makes sense. (I only wish I could write to those calendars through Outlook – but that’s a fault of Google and Basecamp, not Microsoft.)
  • RSS Support. Anything that helps bring RSS feeds more mainstream is a win in my book. The only downside I’ve seen with this feature is that it treats new posts like emails… which doesn’t work for me. (I much prefer using FeedDemon/NewsGator Online to keep up on all the feeds I am subscribed to.)

Aside from the most obvious defect in Outlook 2007, it’s a solid upgrade from Outlook 2003. Hopefully, Microsoft will address the rendering issue at some point – but for now, we’ll have to make due with it the best we can.

9 thoughts on “A Second Look at Outlook 2007

  1. It’s hovering between 100-140MB… That could be due to my system having 4GB RAM installed and the system’s given it a larger allocation of memory… I dunno. To compare, I have had Firefox open almost as long as Outlook and it’s using 186MB of memory right now.

    Adobe Photoshop CS2, which is typically my system’s largest memory hog is only using up 14MB of memory. How odd…

  2. It’s hovering between 100-140MB… That could be due to my system having 4GB RAM installed and the system’s given it a larger allocation of memory… I dunno. To compare, I have had Firefox open almost as long as Outlook and it’s using 186MB of memory right now.

    Adobe Photoshop CS2, which is typically my system’s largest memory hog is only using up 14MB of memory. How odd…

  3. DavidR

    BORG Calendar to suit my needs really well. I don’t really want the email-calendar tie in, and I certainly don’t want to use Outlook. BORG may not be the prettiest, but … works!

    FWIW, YMMV, etc.

  4. DavidR

    Since you’re onto Google Calendar, you might not be interested in this, but I’ve been finding the cross-platform BORG Calendar to suit my needs really well. I don’t really want the email-calendar tie in, and I certainly don’t want to use Outlook. BORG may not be the prettiest, but … works!

    FWIW, YMMV, etc.

  5. The idea of a stand-alone calendar is certainly appealing. If I used my Macs more often, I’d probably be using Apple’s iCal along with my Google Calendar (perhaps with Spanning Sync helping to keep the two synced up). I’ll definitely keep BORG in mind though… Outlook 2007’s been having a rash of issues since the DST switch occurred, and I have pretty much sworn off using that abomination of a program for anything but email at this point…

  6. The idea of a stand-alone calendar is certainly appealing. If I used my Macs more often, I’d probably be using Apple’s iCal along with my Google Calendar (perhaps with Spanning Sync helping to keep the two synced up). I’ll definitely keep BORG in mind though… Outlook 2007’s been having a rash of issues since the DST switch occurred, and I have pretty much sworn off using that abomination of a program for anything but email at this point…

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