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June 29, 2010 Newsletter:
Outlook 2010 is here—What's it Mean to You?

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Outlook 2010 New Features and TWC Impact

Microsoft® Office Outlook 2010, retail version, just came out, and the press is abuzz over it. I have been using the beta for some time and recently cut over to the final copy—and I really like it. My first observation, however, is this: for users of my productivity system, there are fewer changes from Outlook 2007 than you might expect.

But there are still quite a few powerful, new features in 2010. In this newsletter I list a few, and in my in-depth article, you can see all the main new features. I also have created a YouTube video on the new Quick Steps feature in Outlook 2010.

More importantly, I also cover conversion guidelines for users of my TWC-MYN (Total Workday Control—Manage Your Now) Outlook Productivity system. So please read on!

See my In-Depth Article on What's New in Outlook 2010

As mentioned, I've written a much longer online article on Outlook 2010, and its impact on TWC-MYN. I encourage you to check it out. You can jump to the full article here. That article has numerous screenshots and lots of discussion. Or you can jump into sections using this quick guide:

You Don't Need a New TWC Book
Should you Upgrade to Outlook 2010?
User Interface Changes
New Ribbon Menu
Simplified Appearance
File Menu Leads to Backstage
Task System Changes are Minimal
Instant Search Interface Changes
E-mail Changes: the Main Reason to Upgrade
Show as Conversations
Quick Steps (YouTube Video)
Other New Features
Conversion Guide for TWC-MYN

In this newsletter you'll find extracts of the main points from the article.

You Don’t Need a New TWC Book

First, a note for people who are using my book Total Workday Control Using Microsoft Outlook (2nd Ed.) or are using my TWC-MYN Outlook system of e-mail and task management from recent training. If you are moving to Outlook 2010, there are very few changes in Outlook 2010 that impact TWC-MYN system, so you won't have a problem when you make the switch.

The current (second) edition of my Outlook book will work well for you—just follow the Outlook 2007 instructions in that book and see the Conversion Consideration below. The next edition of the book (coming out next year) will pick up the 2010 changes; but those changes are very minor for tasks—so minor that I am not in a rush to get the next edition out.

Some New Features in Outlook 2010 are:

  • Show as Conversations. Outlook 2010 now has a much improved Conversations capability. In earlier versions, the Conversation view was a pain to use, but this one really works. See more here.
  • New Ribbon Menu. The big change you will notice right away is that Microsoft added its Ribbon menu interface to the main menu system in Outlook 2010. Microsoft had already added a Ribbon to all its other Office applications as of Office 2007, so this update was a bit overdue. Essentially, all the old commands have been moved from various menus and toolbars, and placed in the Ribbon, with very few additions. See more here.
  • New Simplified Appearance. The other change is a big simplification in the layout, color usage, and general appearance of the main Outlook window. Compared to 2007, everything is now reduced to the same light gray (or optional blue). Learn more here.
  • New Office Backstage. The File menu is replaced with a File tab in Outlook 2010, and clicking that tab leads to a full-screen command window called the Office Backstage, which replaces the simple pull-down menu of earlier versions. Read more here.
  • Quick Steps. New in Outlook 2010 are Quick Steps—command shortcuts that save you time on repeated e-mail actions. I focus on that next.
  • Many, many more features I cover in the full article.

New Quick Steps Feature (See my new YouTube Video on it)

New in Outlook 2010 are Quick Steps—command shortcuts that save you time on repeated e-mail actions. Examples of Quick Steps are one-click to reply to and delete a message, and one-click to create a message to your whole team. You can see the Quick Step buttons in the middle of the Ribbon on the Home tab.

Qick Steps like those I just listed are standard when you install Outlook 2010. However, none of these standard ones really excite me. Luckily, deleting these and creating new ones that do excite me is pretty easy, and I quickly created a few that help automate some important actions in the Total Workday Control system. With that, I am now convinced this feature is quite worthwhile.

YouTube Video. I've made this four-minute YouTube video all about Quick Steps, to show you what they are and how to create them. Take a look at that now if you want to learn more.

Conversion Considerations for TWC-MYN

Even though little has changed in Outlook 2010 that influences the TWC-MYN productivity system, there are some changes you should note, particularly when you're working on Lesson 3 of the book. In that lesson you learn how to configure Outlook tasks, and you might be distracted by changes to a few menu and button names in Outlook 2010.

But, here’s some good news—if you upgrade your computer from a TWC-configured 2007 to a new install of 2010, there is a good chance the 2010 installation process will pick up all or most of your TWC-MYN configurations. You will probably need to do nothing.

If you do need to configure 2010, see the chart below for the main changes to be aware of when using Lesson 3 of the book. See more details in the Conversion Guide.

To Sum It All Up

Outlook 2010 has brought a long list of new and very useful features to this venerable e-mail and personal information management software. The best new features are all about e-mail. And since the tasks features have changed little, you will have no trouble using my current Outlook book to work with Outlook 2010—just follow the Outlook 2007 instructions in that book. That said, most menus have moved to the Ribbon, and some menu item names have changed, so refer to my conversion guide to work with them.

And if you want the whole story, take a look at my full, in-depth Outlook 2010 article here.

Copyright 2010 Michael Linenberger