Outlook Wish List: What the Readers Want

Opinion: Readers respond to David Coursey's Outlook wish list with their own ideas on what they'd like to see in Microsoft's e-mail client.

My recent column "A Dozen Things Outlook Doesnt Do—but Should" generated a large and sometimes emotional response from readers. Some agreed with my suggestions, many had ideas of their own, and a few thought I was completely nuts.

One reader mentioned that by focusing on e-mail I was missing many of the problems Outlook users face, including poor printer support and the lack of good note-taking capability.

Guilty as charged. People who also use a paper-based planner or who want to share paper calendars with colleagues will find Outlook lacking. As the reader noted, printing a double-sided calendar is a pain. Likewise some planner-style paper formats, though Outlook offers some support in this area.

As workarounds, I use Broderbunds Calendar Creator when I want to do good-looking display calendars and Franklin Coveys PlanPlus to extend Outlooks functionality more generally, including printing. Microsoft would probably tell you that OneNote is its note-taking solution.

Other interesting suggestions came from a reader who I suspect works in the legal field. As e-mail is increasingly used for documents that might later be considered records, shed like to see the following, perhaps as an option, included on hard copies of messages:

"1. Header information, such as e-mail server names and routing information, e-mail address of sender, all recipient names and dates. 2. Body content, such as text, graphics, sound, hypertext, links and any other types of codes. 3. Attachments, including any type of digital information, including documents, images, and spreadsheets. 4. Signatures, whether found in the text or embedded in or wrapped around the email message."

The reader would like "e-mail documents of evidential value," which may frighten some but are a fact of the world we live in, including the "permanent" copies of e-mails many businesses are now required to keep.

Another reader needs Outlook to be a better alarm clock:

"The thing that I find it lacking the most in is that the reminder dialog isnt popped to the very top of the desktop. It may be possible, but I cant find any option to force this. I have missed or been late to more than a few things because I am not sitting at my desk when the little beep goes off."

The reader says he later closes some windows and only to discover hes late or has missed something once again. Ive had this happen myself.


For more insights from David Coursey, check out his Weblog.

One reader warns of a potential "gotcha":

"If a BCC recipient does a Reply All it should only send it to the sender of the original message. As it is right now (at least with Outlook 2000), if you are BCCd and you dont realize it and decide to do a Reply All then all of the people CCd on the original message will find out that you were BCCd when they see your reply. This is potentially very embarrassing to the original sender."

The reader says that as a result he doesnt use BCC, but keeps a copy of the messages, which he then forwards to people whom he would otherwise BCC. "It is an extra step, but definitely a lot safer!" he says.

Next Page: Integrating MSN Messenger into Outlook.