Outlook 2007: Some Great Features, Some Great Frustrations

Generally speaking, I really enjoy using Outlook 2007. It’s a nice evolution from Outlook 2003, and in particular with the way they’ve combined tasks, categories, and flags, it’s now a much more powerful organizational tool. I’ve grown to like the kinda’ sorta’ Word 2007 module that loads when I’m writing email – the in-line spell-check and grammar-check is handy. Outlook 2007 is especially effective on wide-screen monitors because you’ll probably have the space to leave up the “To Do” bar, which consists of a single-month calendar view, your appointments for the day, and all your tasks. Given the type of business I run, and the type of person I am, you’d think that I’d be an enthusiastic user of tasks under Outlook. That hasn’t been the case until I started using Outlook 2007 – with Outlook 2003, tasks weren’t really tied to anything they were just stand-alone items that needed to be completed. With Outlook 2007, with a couple of clicks I can take an incoming email, flag it as a task, mark it with a category, and have it added to a nicely organized list that I can use to base my day around. Granted, I still don’t have enough personal discipline to do that very often, but at least I can’t blame the software any more. 🙂

Outlook 2007 isn’t problem-free though: start-up to using time is brutal, though I strongly suspect it’s due to the six IMAP accounts I have Outlook configured to check in addition to my hosted Exchange account. It checks for mail in all accounts all at once when it starts up, which is a messy and slow way of doing things – why don’t they do some sort of smart queueing? Another thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes URLs in email messages, when clicked, will generate the following Outlook error:


It seems to happen randomly with different URLs, and the URLs in question are definitely valid. The error is a strange one, because it refers to the URL as if it were a local resource (file) that couldn’t be located. I haven’t seen it often enough to nail down a pattern, but I think it may be related to the system load: if I open up Outlook 2007, while it’s churning hard I can click a link in an email and usually get this email. I think if it can’t load the URL in “x” seconds it will trigger this error. I’ve also seen this error in Vista outside of Outlook, so I’m thinking it has to do with Firefox not giving a response back to the URL request in “x” milliseconds – because the error won’t usually happen if Firefox is already open.