Outlook 2013; the email, calendar, task and contact manager, forms the heart of Microsoft Office 2013 customer preview when it comes to staying on top of business communication.
At a glance Outlook 2013, and its subscription-oriented counterpart in Office 365 sustained a mild, modernizing facelift. Veteran users will recognize the communication and scheduling application while Microsoft hopes the touch-enabled interface will draw in a new generation of office users.
Microsoft has added information providers that can scan email content for address, contact and data information that enable Microsoft and third-party application makers to use this information to show maps, further contact information and suggest available appointment times.
IT managers should get ready to implement a whole new set of policies that determine whose email to scan or not scan. Aside from the obvious concerns that IT managers should have about the privacy and regulatory implications of such providers, there is the matter of enabling developer access and subsequent app integration work without disrupting the central task of Outlook 2013, which is email processing and scheduling meetings.
Across the bottom of the new ghost-like interface are four tabs that used to ride in the left-hand column of the previous Outlook clients; Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks. I could have used the option menu included in the same area to rearrange the tabs or substitute Notes, Folders, or Shortcuts as one of the four tabs that appear by default.
The Metro interface treatment takes advantage of touch enabled devices. Calendars slide into view with a finger swipe. Tapping on various components do things you would expect like open appointment details. Aside from the touch features and the overall blanched and bleached color scheme, most users will see enough familiar contours to get right to work with Outlook 2013.