Office 2010 Beta First Impressions: Outlook 2010
**update!** read this post on my closing impressions on the Office 2010 Beta
Previously I experimented with Word 2010 and found it to be pretty handy and useful; a big improvement over 2003. This time around I’m using Outlook 2010. While I use Outlook 2007 and its web-based version for my work, I use Thunderbird. I haven’t been that pleased with Outlook 2007 and find that it often locks up and crashes. The problem may be with my office server, but either way I’m not happy with it. Thunderbird is very easy to use and has many available plug-ins to extend its usefulness even further, but lacks features like a calendar and a to-do list, so it isn’t really a full Outlook replacement.
Outlook 2010, to my surprise, was a breeze to set up for my email. I regularly use Gmail for my main email. When I ran Outlook 2010 it gave the option to configure the email client simply by putting in my Gmail address and password. Three seconds later and my email was up and going. This is a tremendous plus over Outlook 2003, which you must configure manually. I believe Outlook 2007 has the same feature, but either way it’s a good one.
After installing I also noted that when I moused over the Outlook button in the Start menu on Windows 7, a popout window gave me the opportunity to create a new task, meeting, email, contact or meeting right off the bat – another nice feature.
As with Word 2010, the look isn’t that much different from the 2007 version. Clicking on the File tab brings up a window with access to account settings, mail rules and alerts, as well as printing options. Why there isn’t a Print button by default on the ribbon is a bit of a mystery.
One problem I had was a failure to import my contacts from Thunderbird. I reviewed instructions via the Help feature on Outlook and followed the instructions: export contacts to a .csv file from Thunderbird, and import them by clicking File > Open > Import. All I got when I did this was names without any other information, so I’m going to have to play with that for a while more. A simple one-click “import from Thunderbird” would be fantastic. Maybe this will be addressed in the final release, but who knows.
Overall, Outlook 2010 doesn’t seem like a great leap forward from 2007. I’m still using Thunderbird as my main email program until I can get the address book glitch fixed.