My Thoughts on Gmail vs. Outlook

For the last four months I’ve made it a point of using both Gmail and Outlook, equally, for my business mail. I did this to study the differences in their current versions. I wanted to do this updated evaluation because a lot has changed in each product over the years, especially recently.

I admit I’ve been a bit biased. I’ve been an Outlook user for decades and dismissed Gmail years ago (when in beta) as being merely a good free web mail app, but not a serious business tool. Because of that, all my books and courses have mostly been about Outlook.

But that has changed. With Gmail’s recent redesigns, I now find the two apps, on balance, nearly equivalent for serious business email management. Each has advantages and disadvantages, however, and those will definitely influence your choice.

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Take Another Look at Skype

Zoom is all the rage these days for video calls. And in contrast Skype is, well, old school, right?

So why would I suggest you take another look at Skype (and perhaps pass on Zoom)?

Aside from the security issues recently discovered in Zoom, I suggest two main reasons for taking a fresh look at Skype:

First, Skype recently introduced a totally new way to use Skype, one that I think changes everything: it’s called Skype Meet Now.

Second, Skype has long had a feature that I am just now beginning to appreciate: cross ecosystem texting.

Let’s start with Skype Meet Now.

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Office 365 now Rebranded as Microsoft 365

If you have an Office 365 plan, you might be surprised to see a name change on your product. It’s now called Microsoft 365.

This change went into effect April 21 for business products.

Microsoft has also repackaged its personal subscription Office offering as Microsoft 365 Personal.

The best summary of all these changes is at this ZDNet article:

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Microsoft To Do Tasks App finally Adds Top-of-List position for New Tasks

Boy, this feature request, which was probably the most requested feature, has finally been implemented.

Now, when you create a new task in any of the Microsoft To Do, it goes to the top of the list instead of the bottom. It’s a settable option too.

To me this is probably the single best new feature in 8 months!

All the more reason to now learn how to use Microsoft To Do with my simple 1MTD productivity system.

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More Evidence that Microsoft is Reviving OneNote 2016

In a previous article, I mentioned that Microsoft had announced it is extending support for OneNote 2016, which was great news.

Now this: Microsoft is actually adding features again to OneNote 2016, which is really good news. That was announced in this online article a few months back:

OneNote 2016 gets dark mode

Maybe Microsoft will finally add a big block of features and rename this OneNote 2019, to show that it is even-steven with the other current shrink-wrapped Office set with the 2019 designation. Let’s hope so.


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Outlook Online vs. Windows Desktop Outlook

I decided to do an experiment recently in which I switched to using Outlook Online for all my daily email. So, I put my usual Outlook Windows desktop software aside for a while.

Why would I do this? More and more people are working from the web these days, so evaluating Outlook Online is a timely topic. Basically, I wanted to see how different the two products really were these days. I wanted to see if I could, yet, recommend Outlook Online to my readers.

My conclusion is that Outlook Online is pretty good for basic email, calendar, and contacts functions, but if you need to process high volumes of mail, or if you are using my MYN tasks system, you should stick with Windows desktop Outlook.

Want details? Read on.

The main differences between desktop Outlook and Outlook Online can be summed up in three words: tasks, views, and automation. Windows desktop Outlook does a much better job on all three of these. Let’s start with tasks.

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Microsoft To Do, Recent Thoughts

It’s been a while since I wrote about Microsoft To Do, which is Redmond’s premiere to-do list platform these days. I released a video course on how to use Microsoft To Do last year. But you might wonder, six months later, how do I feel about it now?

Here is my current thinking: Microsoft To Do is now my first recommendation when current Outlook users ask me what app to use to implement my simple One Minute To-Do List (1MTD) system. And that’s mainly because of its simplicity and its excellent smartphone apps.

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Gmail Tasks and The One Minute To-Do List

In the last few months I’ve been testing other platforms for achieving workday productivity. One of those platforms I’ve tested is Gmail. I’d used it in the past, not really liked it, but thought I should look at it again. It’s evolved greatly since my first use, so I decided to see, first-hand, how its newer versions compare with the Microsoft Outlook ecosystem of products.

I’ll write much more about in the coming months, but my initial conclusion is that Gmail’s webmail, in its recent incarnations, has come a long way and offers productivity opportunities comparable to Outlook.

Gmail Tasks and 1MTD

This is especially true of the new Tasks module that Google released a number of months ago (shown above).

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New Video: How to Add Quick Action Buttons to Outlook

Windows Desktop Outlook was recently expanded with the ability to add more Quick Action buttons to the Inbox. I’ve created a new free video (within my Outlook Inbox Ninja Course) that shows you how to do this. Go to this link and scroll down to free video lesson 8.6, you don’t need to own the course.

What are Quick Action Buttons?

Quick Action buttons are those buttons at the right edge of each email item in the Inbox that take action on the email.

By default, Windows Outlook comes with only two buttons:
Flag and Delete (the trashcan icon).

You see these when you hover over the right end of a message. But with recent Office 365 subscription updates to Windows Outlook, you can now add up to two more.

Watch the Free Video

To see how, go to this link and scroll down to free video lesson 8.6

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Office 2016 for Mac Support Ending in October

Microsoft recently announced that as of Fall 2020, mainstream support for Office 2016 for Mac will come to an end. Upgrades are recommended prior to the support end date.

Microsoft states that “Although you will still be able to use Office 2016 for Mac, you will no longer receive security updates and bug fixes after October 13, 2020. Upgrade to a newer version of Office so you can stay up to date with all the latest features, patches, and security updates.”

I am sort of surprised how quickly the 2016 Mac version is being retired. After all, on the Windows side Outlook 2010 has been supported all the way to this year. My guess is that’s because there are far more corporate installs of Outlook 2010.

Here is what Microsoft Suggests to Replace Office 2016 for Mac (copied from their website):

  • RecommendedUpgrading to Office 365, the subscription version of Office that comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other apps, depending on the plan you choose. With Office 365, you can get apps on your computer as well as premium functionality in the web and mobile apps and receive regular feature updates.
  • Upgrading to Office 2019 for Mac. Office 2019 for Mac is a one-time purchase (not a subscription) for installation on one Mac only. Office 2019 for Mac does not receive feature updates.

New Version of Outlook for Mac Coming

I reported earlier that a new version of Outlook for Mac is coming soon to Office 365 subscribers, so that’s another reason to use the first choice above. Office Insiders may be able to test it out now, but I have not seen an official full release date. See this article I published earlier:

New Outlook for Mac Version Coming Soon

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