Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Navigating Outlook 2003


By Diane Poremsky

This week begins our first look at the recently released Outlook 2003. While many of you may have had a few week's access to it through MSDN or through work, for many of you, the release of the retail version last week is your first chance to use it.

The most obvious change from previous versions is with the interface. Gone is the Outlook Bar, Folder list, and message list with the preview pane below it. Now you have the Navigation Pane, which is a combination of the Outlook Bar and Folder list. The preview pane was moved to the right side of the window and renamed the Reading Pane, as shown in Figure A.


The preview pane was moved to the right side of the window and renamed the Reading Pane. (click for larger image)

The move allows you to see more of your message and reduces the need to scroll. The message list displays message headers on two lines, allowing you to see more information about each message in a narrower space, yet still have more message headers visible than with older versions.

One of the most common questions about the new interface is how to remove the Favorite Folders section at the top of the Navigation Pane. You can remove the folders from it-right click on a folder and choose Remove but you can't remove the Favorite Folder section. It comes in handy if you have a lot of folders, since you can right click on any folder and add it to your Favorite Folder list, saving you from hunting down your most used folders.

Another common question is "Where are my Public Folders?" Exchange server users are used to seeing the Public Folders at the bottom of the folder tree and Outlook 2003 defaults to a mail folder only view. To show the folder list, click on the folder button at the bottom of the Navigation pane. You can add Public Folders to the Favorite Folder list if they are in the Public Folder favorites-right click on the folder in Public Folder Favorites and choose add to Favorite Folders.

Stay tuned, this new release is a topic we'll be covering for quite some time.