Microsoft recently released the consumer preview of Microsoft Office 2013. The preview is available free of charge at:
This is part four of a series of articles describing some of the changes and new features of Office 2013.
Microsoft Outlook 2013 includes the traditional ribbon style interface of the 2007/2010 versions of Outlook with aesthetic changes mostly focused around the new look of Windows 8/Metro style. The most significant of these changes is the switch from icons to words to describe tabs in the interface.
One of the major changes to come to Outlook 2013 is the inline reply, where clicking reply when viewing a message will let you type directly in the window, instead of opening up a new e-mail window to reply in.
A feature I am looking forward to is the peek feature, which pops up a quick selection window. This is especially helpful in the People section (contacts) which lets you search for a name without having to switch views from Mail to People.
People, formally contacts, also includes updates and pictures from social networking sites you may belong to and have setup. This information can be helpful for people who mix work/home life or those who use a social network at work.
The calendar view also gets updated, with automatic weather for the next 3 days which will come in handy for people planing outdoor activities or checking the calendar’s events against weather forecast.
So is Outlook 2013 worth it? Various small improvements and interface upgrades make the new Outlook the best one yet. While there is nothing fundamentally changing in the way e-mail and calendar works in Outlook 2013 I will still be upgrading when it comes out.