Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 2: Inside Outlook: Getting More Done with Less Effort
About Personal Information Management
When it comes to the basic work of managing
names, addresses, appointments, and e-mail,
the word processing and spreadsheet programs
just don’t get it. If you’re planning a meeting,
you need to know with whom you’re meeting,
what the other person’s phone number is, and
when you can find time to meet.
In designing Outlook, Microsoft took advantage
of the fact that many people use Microsoft
products for most of the work they do. The
company created something called a Personal
Information Management (PIM) program that
speaks a common language with Microsoft
Word, Excel, and the rest of the Microsoft
Office suite. Microsoft also studied what kind of
information people use most often, and tried to
make sure that Outlook could handle most of it.
The program also has scads of customizability
(a tongue-twister of a buzzword that just means
you can set it up however you need, after you
know what you’re doing).
Whatever the terminology, Outlook is — above
all — easy to understand and hard to mess up.
If you’ve used any version of Windows, you can
just look at the screen and click a few icons
to see what Outlook does. You won’t break
anything. If you get lost, going back to where
you came from is easy. Even if you have no
experience with Windows, Outlook is fairly
straightforward to use.
Microsoft Office includes a group of programs, each of which are designed
to address specific sorts of tasks easily, but that also work together as a
team when you need them to. It’s a little bit like the utensils you use for
dining — you can eat your turkey dinner entirely with a fork, but it’s much
easier if you have a fork and a knife. And, of course, you want a spoon for the
cranberry sauce. Each program in Microsoft Office specializes in something
important — Microsoft Word for documents, Microsoft Excel for calculations,
and Microsoft Outlook for communications and organization. It’s easy to use
them separately, and hugely productive to use them all together.
Until now, Microsoft has sold each program as a packaged, store-bought
product that you could buy and use for years. They’re changing their
approach and encouraging everyone to rent Microsoft Office for a monthly
or annual fee. Time will tell which approach is better — some people prefer
a small monthly fee; others prefer to pay a few hundred dollars for a
permanent copy. One benefit, though, is that the new rental arrangement
allows you to use the program for a short time to see if you like it without
risking too much cash.
Outlook turns up in connection with several other Microsoft products, as well.
Microsoft Exchange Server is the backbone of the e-mail system in many
corporations, and Outlook is often the program that employees of those
corporations use to read their company e-mail. Another program, called
SharePoint, connects to Outlook to help streamline the work of a group the
way Outlook speeds up the work of an individual. Microsoft Lync is an instant
messaging and conferencing program that connects to Outlook to show you
who’s in the office at any given moment (so you know who you can interrupt
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