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Author Topic: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??  (Read 4660 times)

tinjaw

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The more I install useful software on my computer, the more I find that Microsoft Outlook seems to be the only thing developers integrate with in terms of email / PIM / Calender / etc. clients. I mostly use web-based mail clients, and run Thunderbird on my laptop so I can have access to some emails offline as well as write emails offline for sending later. However, I am seriously thinking about moving to Microsoft Outlook fulltime because everything else seems to integrate with it and only it.

What are your comments? Tips? Warnings?

Caveat:  :( I am looking for a serious discussion. Please don't turn this into a Windows vs. Linux/Mac/Whatever religious debate/war. There are plenty of other threads covering that territory. Thank you.  :up:
« Last Edit: October 03, 2007, 11:52:45 AM by tinjaw »

Curt

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2007, 11:46:14 AM »
At the moment I am forced to Outlook Express, so I miss my Outlook 2003 sooo much! - for exactly the very reason you started out with: there are so many plugins, addons, to make life easy. I think Outlook is like Explorer: it is okay but not much, but then there are the addons, plugins, and suddenly you have something powerful!!

Josh

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2007, 11:47:53 AM »
Yes, I agree with Curt. Everything and its mother has been implimented for outlook 2003 or 2007 as a plugin, addon, or what have you (EXCEPT FOR THE BLOODY WAY TO SAVE THE FOLDER LIST LAYOUT AND NOT HAVE THEM AUTO-COLLAPSE ON RESTART!!!!!!). Outlook offers so much power that it is perhaps the single most USEFUL tool int he office suite.

Grorgy

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2007, 11:59:11 AM »
Even just as it is, which is the way I use it, now that I've moved back from thunderbird, its ok, if you have specific things you need to do that have plugins or add ons readily available then it seems to me there is not a lot of options, and given its functionality its resource usage isn't all that bad either

tinjaw

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2007, 12:19:55 PM »
 :-[ Doh! My bad. I didn't explain why I based this post on the premise that MS Outlook is a "bad thing" (tm). Um, guilty as charged on, not one, but two accounts. First, for not mentioning it, and second, for basing my opinion of Outlook on the last version I used, which was probably seven or more years ago. So, I guess that I am being lazy here (well actually, since I am very very busy these days, let's call that exhibiting beneficial procrastination since my return on investment for playing with Outlook for hours when I need to be working is, well, small.) And thrice guilty for not practicing what I preach and knowing that workflow of Tasks/Events/Email is a very subjective thing and I should just try it out for myself.

So, I guess I was just whining that the path I have chosen to date wasn't the mostest bestest there is. Therefore, please allow me to rephrase my question to ask, "Are there any pitfalls you can help me avoid when I begin using Microsoft Outlook as my main PIM & Email client?"

Josh

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2007, 12:27:17 PM »
tinjaw, the only issue I've seen with outlook 2007, if you are using this version, is some compatibility with VBA macros from previous editions. I had a macro in the 03 edition which caused 07 to crash. Other than that, I have seen no real issues with outlook 2007.

Grorgy

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2007, 12:46:20 PM »
It really gets down to personal preference and if your software affiliations don't  send shivers down the spine at the thought of giving microsoft more money, personally i dont care a lot, i got mine bundled up with office which i needed so i'll use it, it works, it has plugins from other major makers available, cant go to far wrong.  ;)

Armando

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2007, 10:01:21 PM »
I haven't dared to try Outlook 2007. I've heard some frightening stuff about its performance… and since performance is somewhat important to me, I,ve decided to stick to Outlook 2003.

Anyhow…

I've tried to use many other organizers/PIM/Todo managers (trialed them or used them for a while : DoOrganizer, Essential PIM, Achieve Planner, Chandler, Anytime Organizer, Info Select, Sunbird, Thunderbird, TimeTo, SQLNotes — IMO very promising —, Todolist, My Life Organized, Calendarscope, Vitalist, Remember The Milk, etc.) but I always come back to Outlook. Some of the reasons are : Palm syncing is mostly flawless, it’s pretty customizable (forms, columns, fonts, colors, etc.), it interacts well with many other application (even with farr!), it’s searchable with X1, Archivarius, and a bunch of other desktop search programs, etc.

So, I generally do like Outlook 2003 and find it pretty reliable. Except (mostly, but not exclusively) for :

1-   The absence of any small integrated project management tool (I know that there is Microsoft Project ; but 1- MP is not even completely compatible with Outlook — the different tasks fields don't transfer and synchronize properly… and, anyway, 2- I'm not asking for something as complex as Microsoft Project to take care of all my small projects…);

2-   (in relation to my first point) Outlook’s  tasklists inability to support “sub-tasks”  — what a nightmare : you can’t subdivide  bigger tasks into smaller steps,  unless you devise your own system (I did : not exactly optimal, but it's okay) or use a plug-in (apart from the GTD add-on and Gantt for Outlook, anybody here has a suggestion?);

3-   Outlook’s very basic (almost absent) prioritization system (it’s possible to circumvent that too, though, with a bit of imagination : Outlook forms are very flexible : you can rename any fields you want and fill them with your own parameters, etc.). A nice algorithm to calculate task priorities would also be cool also… (is there a plug-in for that?)

4-   Outlook’s so so management of recurrences and rescheduling (I hate it when it duplicates tasks after changing the recurrence);

5-          Outlook's lack of a vision or clear "organizational philosophy"... (this is actually a bit of a strength at the same time : it might make Outlook more flexible)

And some others, of course. But these are the main ones I can think off, quickly… actually, these reasons alone probably drive me crazy enough to make me want to switch to another application every month or so! Many other applications will solve my tasklists/project management problems, but, unfortunately, will often add other problems that are usually even worse (IMVHO, of course);

If one is using a GTD approach or any other more sophisticated organizational system (project oriented, maybe) with Outlook, one has to figure out a way to implement it... almost from scratch. It took me a lot of time to have Outlook behave the way I want, synchronize with my Palm effectively, etc.  — and I'm still not completely satisfied.

Achieve Planner could be an interesting Outlook replacement for those who are into GTD and/or Covey’s philosophy (I'm keeping an eye on it). But the last version doesn't do e-mail (that, I could deal with, I guess, and use a dedicated email program), doesn't synchronize directly with the Palm, is not searchable through X1 or Archivarius, doesn't have a very powerful and flexible search tool, etc. etc. And these are all aspects that have become really important to me.

Sorry for that long post... I guess I'm procrastinating.


[edit : corrected 2-3 stupid mistakes]
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 08:54:27 AM by Armando »

Clive

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2007, 01:28:20 AM »
If you decide on Outlook my advice would be to download from MS & use the Back Up add on (still not a fixture even in 2007) & read and digest the KB files on its use.
See also the note I added here: http://www.donationc...70.msg78739#msg78739

tinjaw

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2007, 08:24:33 AM »
Sorry for that long post... I guess I'm procrastinating.

Please. No need to apologize. That was exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

Darwin

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2007, 08:44:57 AM »
The biggest caveat WRT Outlook is the fact that profiles are FLAKY. I've just had a bit of a merry go round with Outlook 2003 because it randomly removed all of my Rules and started placing multiple links to my main pst in the folder view on the left hand pane. Trying to fix these problems created more and more and more problems. Best plan: create a new profile, set Outlook to prompt you for the profile to open on startup and then open Outlook with the new profile. Import the old pst and reconfigure your e-mail accounts etc. This is actually A LOT quicker than fussing about with the registry, etc. That is, I could have spent 20 minutes following the route I've just outlined but instead spent over a week googling for fixes and trying them out before doing this.

Sorry, a bit tangential, but it needed to be said. I think Outlook is brilliant - like Armando, I've gone through similar quests for alternatives and always come back to Outlook. The above points are just "glitches" that have to be kept in mind...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2007, 08:55:11 AM »
Holy Carp, Armando! I've always steered clear of the GTD Add-On for Outlook because I thought the $70 price tag was excessive. But compared to the GANTT add-in, GTD is almost a bargain!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Armando

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2007, 09:06:09 AM »
Holy Carp, Armando! I've always steered clear of the GTD Add-On for Outlook because I thought the $70 price tag was excessive. But compared to the GANTT add-in, GTD is almost a bargain!

 ;D
That's why I've decided to create my own system.
The gantt add-in looks good though... On the picture (haven't tried it...)

iphigenie

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Re: Should I Move To (Gasp!) Microsoft Outlook As My Main Email Client ??
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2007, 04:08:14 AM »
I used to not like outlook much, way back when.
But since using 2003 it is so useful - although not in its default, out-of-the-box configuration. I like it so much I am considering buying it for my home PCs too.