On this page, I have my favorite and not so favorite features new to Outlook 2013.
My favorite features
The delete button in the message list. Even though I try to use the keyboard more and the mouse less (keyboarding is faster most of the time), I still use the mouse more than I really should, especially in Outlook. The delete button is convenient... and a great enabler.
Reply in the reading pane. No need to open a new window when you want to reply to a message. Click the reply button above the message header and type right in the Reading pane. If you use the mouse to select formatting, it’s less convenient (and more mouse movements), than opening a window but if you only use the commands on the Message ribbon, it's handy. You can POP OUT (and into a separate window) at any time.
Active Sync support for email accounts. Outlook 2013 uses ActiveSync to connect to Hotmail accounts. It only supports the newest version of Exchange Active Sync though, so it won’t work with Gmail accounts. Or Exchange 2003. And unlike smartphones, you’ll only get the default Hotmail calendar, not all of the Hotmail calendars in Outlook.
Rearrange folders in the navigation pane. Don’t like the order of your folders in the Folder list? Drag them around to arrange in an order you like. This works in both the Mail module’s folder list and the Folder list module.
The arrangement in the screenshot is probably not one you'd want to use, but you could, if you really wanted to.
Control how much content is synced when you use Exchange server or IMAP. Similar to the sync filters in current versions of Outlook, but limited to items by date only, you can configure Outlook 2013 to sync only newer items. The default setting is 12 months and can be changed in File, Account settings. You'll need to double click to open the account and view or change the offline mail setting.
If you need to access older items, you can use search. On one hand, this makes sense and keeps the local cache file smaller (my ost is about 500 MB, down from 3 GB) but I can foresee problems when users get quota warnings and only delete content from Outlook, ignoring the older messages stored online.
Not so favorite features
The reminder dialog stays on top. All the time. Well, maybe it's not quite that bad, but it is more visible than Outlook 2010's. As one of the critics of Outlook 2010's reminder dialog, I like the persistence of Outlook 2013's reminder dialog but it’s a little too persistent at times.
Good-bye To-Do Bar, it was nice knowing you. You can add the to-Do Bar to the list of features we learned to love for two versions, only to see it disappear.
Do you drag messages, tasks, or contacts to a specific date on the navigation calendar to create an appointment for that date? Let us know in our Facebook poll.
The To-Do Bar was replaced by a feature called "Peeks". When you hover the mouse over a link, you can peek at the calendar or task list or click on the links to open the module. Like the To-Do Bar calendar, the peek is limited to displaying appointments on the default calendar. Unlike the To-do Bar, you’ll only see ‘todays’ appointments, not the next 5, which may be spread over several days. (You can select any date to see the appointments for that date.)
You can't drag email messages to a date in the navigation calendar to create an appointment for that date. (You can drag messages to the Calendar link at the bottom.)
Peeks are ok, but I liked the To-do bar open in all folders. I can pin the peeks open, but I need to pin (or unpin) them separately. Peeks are pinned by folder type; if I want the calendar visible in email and tasks folders, I need to pin it in each folder type.
The width of the peek is not adjustable. Well, it is adjustable but it's pointless since it only shows one navigation calendar. I can't slide it to the center to view calendars for the next three months. I can't slide it right to make it smaller either. Its one size fits all.
As you can see in this screenshot, only one navigation calendar displays and only today's (or the selected day's) events are listed when Peeks are pinned as a To-do Bar. The screenshot also shows the weather charm, normally, you should see three days of weather but when the screen is smaller, fewer days are shown.