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Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook
Outlook 2016 running on Windows 8
Developer(s) Microsoft Corporation
Stable release 2016 (16.0.4266.1003) / 22 September 2015 (2015-09-22)
Written in C++[1]
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Personal information manager
License Proprietary commercial software
Website /
Microsoft Outlook for Mac
Outlook for Mac 2016
Developer(s) Microsoft Corporation
Stable release 2016 (15.14.0) / 15 September 2015 (2015-09-15)[2]
Operating system OS X
Type Personal information manager
License Proprietary commercial software
Website /outlook/

Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager from Microsoft, available as a part of the Microsoft Office suite.

Although often used mainly as an email application, it also includes a calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, journal, and web browsing.

It can be used as a Microsoft Visual Studio.[3] In addition, mobile devices can synchronize almost all Outlook data to Outlook Mobile.


  • Versions 1
    • Microsoft Windows 1.1
      • Outlook 2007 1.1.1
      • Outlook 2010 1.1.2
      • Outlook 2013 1.1.3
    • Macintosh 1.2
    • iOS and Android 1.3
      • Outlook for Phones & Tablets 1.3.1
  • Internet standards compliance 2
    • HTML rendering 2.1
    • Support of CSS properties and HTML attributes 2.2
    • Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format 2.3
    • Calendar compatibility 2.4
  • Security concerns 3
  • Outlook add-ins 4
    • Hotmail Connector 4.1
    • Social Connector 4.2
  • Importing from other email clients 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Microsoft Outlook has replaced Microsoft's previous scheduling and mail program, Schedule+ and Exchange Client.

Versions of Microsoft Outlook include:

Name Version Number[4] Release Date[5] Notes
Outlook for MS-DOS - - Bundled with Exchange Server 5.5
Outlook for Windows 3.1x[6] - - Bundled with Exchange Server 5.5
Outlook for Macintosh - - Bundled with Exchange Server 5.5
Outlook 97 8.0 January 16, 1997 Included in Office 97 and bundled with Exchange Server 5.5
Outlook 98 8.5 June 21, 1998 Freely distributed with books and magazines for coping with newest Internet standard such as HTML mail.[7] Outlook 98 setup was based on Active Setup which also installed Internet Explorer 4.[8]
Outlook 2000 9.0 June 27, 1999 Included in Office 2000 and bundled with Exchange 2000 Server.
Outlook 2002 10 May 31, 2001 Included in Office XP
Office Outlook 2003 11 November 20, 2003 Included in Office 2003 (incl. Standard Edition for Students and Teachers) and bundled with Exchange Server 2003
Office Outlook 2007 12 January 27, 2007 Included in Office 2007, except Office Home and Student edition
Outlook 2010 14 July 15, 2010 Included in Office 2010 Home and Business, Standard, Professional and Professional Plus
Outlook 2011 for Mac 14 October 26, 2010 Included in Office for Mac 2011 Home and Business
Outlook 2013 15 January 29, 2013 Included in Office 2013, except Home & Student edition
Outlook for Mac 15.3 October 31, 2014 Included in Office 365, except some commercial editions
Outlook for Phones & Tablets 1.3 2015 Included in Office 365, except some commercial editions

Includes IOS (Apple O/S) and Android (Google O/S) Support

Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000 offer two configurations:

  • Internet Mail Only or IMO mode: A lighter application mode with specific emphasis on POP3 accounts and IMAP accounts and including a lightweight Fax application.
  • Corporate Workgroup or CW mode: A full MAPI client with specific emphasis on Microsoft Exchange accounts.

Microsoft Windows

Outlook 2007

Microsoft Outlook 2007

Outlook 2007 was available in retail stores at the end of January 2007.  Features that debuted in Outlook 2007 include:[9]

  • Office Fluent "ribbon" user interface (though not for the main window)
  • To-Do bar added to the shell UI that shows a snapshot of the user's upcoming appointments and active tasks for better time and project management, and provides navigation entry points into calendar (e.g. selecting calendar dates in Date Navigator, clicking on day/date names in appointments area)
  • Changed calendar views that display the tasks due below each day on the week view and supports overlaying multiple calendars
  • Send your calendar information with calendar snapshots, which creates an HTML representation of your calendar so you can share this information with anyone
  • Ability to publish calendars in Internet Calendar format to Microsoft Office Online or to a WebDAV server
  • Send text and picture messages from Outlook with Outlook Mobile Service to a mobile phone. Forward Outlook email messages, contacts, appointments, and tasks as text messages. Automatically send email messages, reminders, and your daily calendar as text messages to a mobile phone Outlook SMS Service Provider
  • Integrated RSS aggregator
  • 'Instant Search' through a context indexer based search engine with Windows Desktop Search
  • Enhanced integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server
  • New programmability features[10]
  • Preview Handler extension for previewing email attachment (including reading pane) without leaving Outlook
  • Ability to add a picture or company logo to a contact or electronic business card[11]
  • Color Categories give you an easy, visual way to distinguish any type of information from one another, so it's easy to organize your data and search your information.
  • Save as PDF or XPS
  • Discontinuation of Common User Access cut and paste support
  • Improved anti-phishing filters
  • Office Outlook 2007 Email Postmark is designed to make it very time-consuming to send email. This makes it technologically detrimental for users to send mass email with Outlook, prompting spammers to use other e-mail clients.
  • Information Rights Management (IRM) restricts and/or expires distribution of email using Windows Server 2003 or later running Windows Rights Management Services (RMS)
  • Managed policy compliance features integration with Exchange Server 2007
  • Now renders HTML-formatted e-mails using Microsoft Word instead of Internet Explorer (making the rendering less standards-compliant, but more in line with what a user sees when composing e-mail using Word)

Outlook 2010

Features that debuted in Outlook 2010 include:[12]

  • Ribbon interface in all views[13]
  • Contact cards to show pop-up details of all message participants from GAL or user contact records
  • Grouping of conversations improved - includes messages from all folders, and optionally from separate accounts
  • Improved To-Do bar, for example showing how many appointments are not shown when space is limited
  • "People Pane" and Social Networking features[14]
  • IMAP improvements - Specify an IMAP folder for deleted items (necessary to properly support Google-hosted email accounts).

Outlook 2013

Features that debuted in Outlook 2013, which was released on January 29, 2013, include:

  • Attachment reminder
  • Exchange ActiveSync (EAS)
  • Add-in resiliency
  • Cached Exchange mode improvements
  • IMAP improvements
  • Outlook data file (.ost) compression
  • People hub
  • Startup performance improvements


Microsoft also released several versions of Outlook for Mac OS, though it was only for use with Exchange servers. It was not provided as a component of Microsoft Office for Mac, but instead made available to users from administrators or by download. The final version was Outlook for Mac 2001, which was fairly similar to Outlook 2000 and 2002 apart from being exclusively for Exchange users.

Microsoft Entourage was introduced as an Outlook-like application for Mac OS in Office 2001, but it lacked Exchange connectivity. Partial support for Exchange server became available natively in Mac OS X with Entourage 2004 Service Pack 2. Entourage is not directly equivalent to Outlook in terms of design or operation; rather, it is a distinct application which has several overlapping features including Exchange client capabilities. Somewhat improved Exchange support was added in Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition.

Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011

Entourage was replaced by Outlook for Mac 2011, which features greater compatibility and parity with Outlook for Windows than Entourage offered. It is the first native version of Outlook for Mac OS X.

Outlook 2011 initially supported Mac OS X's Sync Services only for contacts, not events, tasks or notes. It also does not have a Project Manager equivalent to that in Entourage.[15] With Service Pack 1 (v 14.1.0), published on April 12, 2011, Outlook can now sync calendar, notes and tasks with Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010.

On 31 October 2014, Microsoft released Outlook for Mac (v15.3 build 141024) with Office 365 (a software as a service licensing program that makes Office programs available as soon as they are developed). Outlook for Mac 15.3 improves upon its predecessors with:[16]

  • Better performance and reliability as a result of a new threading model and database improvements.
  • A new modern user interface with improved scrolling and agility when switching between Ribbon tabs.
  • Online archive support for searching Exchange (online or on-premises) archived mail.
  • Master Category List support and enhancements delivering access to category lists (name and color) and sync between Mac, Microsoft Windows and OWA clients.
  • Office 365 push email support for real-time email delivery.
  • Faster first-run and email download experience with improved Exchange Web Services syncing.[16]

iOS and Android

Outlook for Phones & Tablets

In January 2015, Microsoft released Outlook for Phones and Tablets (v1.3 build) with Office 365 This was the first Outlook for these platforms with email, calendar and contacts.[17]

Internet standards compliance

HTML rendering

Outlook 2007 was the first Outlook to switch from Internet Explorer rendering engine to Microsoft Word 2007's. This means HTML and CSS items not handled by Word are no longer supported. On the other hand, HTML messages composed in Word look as they appeared to the author.[18] This affects publishing newsletters and reports, because they frequently use intricate HTML and CSS to form their layout. For example, forms can no longer be embedded in email.

Support of CSS properties and HTML attributes

Outlook for Windows has very limited CSS support compared to various other e-mail clients. Neither CSS1 (1996) and CSS2 (1998) specifications are fully implemented and many CSS properties can only to be used with certain HTML elements for the desired effect.[19] Some HTML attributes help achieve proper rendering of e-mails in Outlook, but most of these attributes are already deprecated in the HTML 4.0 specifications (1997).[20] In order to achieve the best compatibility with Outlook, most HTML e-mails are created using multiple boxed tables, as the table element and its sub-elements support the width and height property in Outlook. No improvements have been made towards a more standards-compliant email client since the release of Outlook 2007.[21]

Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format

Outlook and Exchange Server internally handle messages, appointments and items as objects in a data model which is derived from the old proprietary Microsoft Mail system, the Rich Text Format from Microsoft Word and the complex OLE general data model.[22] When these programs interface with other protocols such as the various Internet and X.400 protocols, they try to map this internal model onto those protocols in a way that can be reversed if the ultimate recipient is also running Outlook or Exchange.[23]

This focus on the possibility that emails and other items will ultimately be converted back to Microsoft Mail format is so extreme that if Outlook/Exchange cannot figure out a way to encode the complete data in the standard format, it simply encodes the entire message/item in a proprietary binary format called Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format (TNEF) and sends this as an attached file (usually named "winmail.dat") to an otherwise incomplete rendering of the mail/item. If the recipient is Outlook/Exchange it can simply discard the incomplete outer message and use the encapsulated data directly, but if the recipient is any other program, the message received will be incomplete because the data in the TNEF attachment will be of little use without the Microsoft software for which it was created.[23] As a workaround, numerous tools for (partially) decoding TNEF files exist.[24]

Calendar compatibility

Outlook does not fully support data and syncing specifications for calendaring and contacts, such as iCalendar, CalDAV, SyncML, and vCard 3.0. Outlook 2007 claims to be fully iCalendar compliant; however, it does not support all core objects, such as VTODO or VJOURNAL.[25] Also, Outlook supports vCard 2.1 and does not support multiple contacts in the vCard format as a single file. Outlook has also been criticized for having proprietary "Outlook extensions" to these Internet standards.

Security concerns

As part of its Trustworthy Computing initiative, Microsoft took corrective steps to fix Outlook's reputation in Office Outlook 2003. Among the most publicized security features are that Office Outlook 2003 does not automatically load images in HTML emails or permit opening executable attachments by default, and includes a built-in Junk Mail filter.[26] Service Pack 2 has augmented these features and adds an anti-phishing filter.[27]

Outlook add-ins

Outlook add-ins are small helping programs for the Microsoft Outlook application. The main purpose of the add-ins is to add new functional capabilities into Microsoft Outlook and automate some routine operations. The term also refers to programs where the main function is to work on Outlook files, such as synchronization or backup utilities. Outlook add-ins may be developed in Microsoft Visual Studio or third-party tools such as Add-in Express. Outlook add-ins are not supported in Outlook Web App.

From Outlook 97 on, Exchange Client Extensions are supported in Outlook. Outlook 2000 and later support specific COM components called Outlook AddIns. The exact supported features (such as .NET components) for later generations were extended with each release.

Hotmail Connector

Hotmail Connector setup screen

Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector (shortened Hotmail Connector, formerly Microsoft Office Outlook Connector), was a free add-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 that allowed users to access Hotmail accounts through Microsoft Outlook. It uses DeltaSync, a proprietary Microsoft communications protocol.[28]

In version 12, access to tasks and notes and online synchronization with MSN Calendar was only available to MSN subscribers of paid premium accounts. Version 12.1, released in December 2008 as an optional upgrade, used Windows Live Calendar instead of the former MSN Calendar. This meant that calendar features became free for all users, except for tasks synchronization which became unavailable. In April 2008, version 12.1 became a required upgrade to continue using the service as part of a migration from MSN Calendar to Windows Live Calendar.[29]

This add-on is discontinued, although Microsoft Outlook 2013 has intrinsic support for accessing Hotmail and over Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol.[30]

Social Connector

Outlook Social Connector was a free add-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003 and 2007 by Microsoft that allowed integration of social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin and Windows Live Messenger into Microsoft Outlook.[31] It was first introduced in November 18, 2009.[32] Starting with Microsoft Office 2010, Outlook Social Connector is an integral part of Outlook.[33]

Importing from other email clients

Traditionally, Outlook supported importing messages from Outlook Express and Lotus Notes. In addition, Microsoft Outlook supports POP3 and IMAP protocols, enabling users to import mails from servers that support these protocols, such as Gmail. Microsoft Hotmail Connector add-in (described above) helps importing email from Hotmail accounts. Outlook 2013 later integrated the functionality of this add-in and added the ability to import email (as well as calendar) through Exchange ActiveSync protocol.[30]

There are some ways to get the emails from Thunderbird; the first is to use a tool[34] that can convert a Thunderbird folder to a format that can be imported from Outlook Express. This method must be processed folder by folder. The other method is to use a couple of free tools that keep the original folder structure.[35] If Exchange is available, an easier method is to connect the old mail client (Thunderbird) to Exchange using IMAP, and upload the original mail from the client to the Exchange account.

See also


  1. ^ Lextrait, Vincent (July 2010). "The Programming Languages Beacon, v10.3". Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Description of the update for Office 2016 for Mac: September 15, 2015". Microsoft. September 15, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ Top 10 Reasons to Use Outlook - Business Center - PC World
  4. ^ The version numbers follows the Office numbers.
  5. ^ "Microsoft Outlook Life-cycle Information". Retrieved October 23, 2011. 
  6. ^ "XCLN: Microsoft Outlook for Windows 3.1x". August 18, 2005. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ HTML Mail with Microsoft Outlook
  8. ^ OL98: How to Troubleshoot Active Setup Problems in Windows 98, 98 SE or ME
  9. ^ Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 product overview
  10. ^ What's New for Developers in Outlook 2007 (Part 1 of 2)
  11. ^ Add, change, or remove a picture for a contact
  12. ^ Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 product overview
  13. ^ Overview of the Office user interface in Office 2010
  14. ^ The Outlook Social Connector
  15. ^ Welsh, John C. (October 1, 2010). "Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011".  
  16. ^ a b "New Outlook for Mac available to Office 365". Office Blogs.  
  17. ^ "Office on iOS and Android". Office Blogs.  
  18. ^ "Microsoft Outlook 2007 Report | Email Standards Project". Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  19. ^ Guide to CSS support in email
  20. ^ HTML 4.0 Specification
  21. ^ A designer’s guide to Outlook 2013
  22. ^ Outlook Data Model Reference (page on the MailItem object class members), MSDN development documentation, [3], retrieved May 2011
  23. ^ a b Preface of the TNEF specification, Outlook 2010 edition, [4], retrieved May 2011
  24. ^ See list of some TNEF decoders in the main TNEF article
  25. ^ "Microsoft Office 2003 editions comparison". Microsoft. Retrieved October 3, 2008. 
  26. ^ "Microsoft Outlook 2003: Using Junk E-mail Filters". University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. 
  27. ^ Microsoft 'Security at Home' website
  28. ^ "Microsoft Office Outlook Hotmail Connector overview".  
  29. ^ "Transition information for former Office Live Small Business customers - Manage Office 365 - Office 365 - Microsoft Office 365 Community". Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b "What's new in Outlook 2013".  
  31. ^ Thomas, Doug (August 24, 2010). "How to install the Outlook Social Connector (video)". Office Casual blog. Microsoft. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Announcing the Outlook Social Connector". Outlook Blog. Microsoft. November 18, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Changes in Outlook 2010 (for IT pros)".  
  34. ^ IMAPSize
  35. ^ Export messages and folders from Thunderbird to Outlook / Outlook Express / Windows Mail

External links

  • Official website
  • Outlook Developer Portal
  • Microsoft Office Outlook Team Blog
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