September 26, 2007

Brett Burney Reviews Outlook 2007

My friend Brett Burney just posted a very informative review of Outlook 2007 on Having used it myself for the past several months, I agree it's definitely a worthwhile upgrade. I've found the Instant Search to be, well, instant! Finding e-mails has never been faster or easier for me. I really like that it's as simple as using Google, yet with a click you can expand the search box to reveal additional search fields. So far, the search has been so fast and accurate that I haven't needed to go beyond the single search field.

I also like the new To Do bar on the right pane, and Brett is right on the money when he says you need a widescreen monitor to take best advantage of it. Once you have one, you'll never want to go back. Also, due to the mixed bag of old-style pull-down menus and its new ribbon bars, long-time Outlook users shouldn't have much difficulty making the transition to Outlook 2007. Microsoft also made good use of colors that are pleasing on the eyes and are used to good effect. Since I've been running it in standalone mode on my new laptop, it's been very, very snappy, and unlike most mature Windows programs, it doesn't act bloated to me, other than having to wade through the legacy pull-down menus on occasion. Of course, I'm sure it helps to be running it on a new PC with a faster Core 2 Duo processor.

Also, the Personal Folders Backup plug-in works with Outlook 2007, so people like me can make automatic backups of their Outlook .pst file without having to think about it. Don't worry that Microsoft's web page lists it for "Outlook 2003/2002" -- it works just fine with Outlook 2007. All it really does is copy your .pst file to your preferred location after you close Outlook. Depending on whether you use Outlook in standalone mode vs. in conjunction with Exchange Server, you may not have as much need for the plug-in with the latter, and it could have some e-discovery impact if you're maintaining additional backups. But for standalone users, it's a very useful plug-in, and I'm glad to see Microsoft didn't abandon it.

Overall, Outlook 2007 is a great upgrade. While it's main-screen interface hasn't adopted the new ribbon bar, it features enough other enhancements and refinements along with great performance to make it my version of choice.

Topic(s):   Legal Technology
Posted by Jeff Beard