You might want to start with these lists of interesting new features:
- Getting to know Outlook 2002
- Outlook 2002 Hidden Features
- OL2002 New Features That Are Available in OL2002
- XCCC White Paper - Understanding Microsoft Outlook 2002 Improvements
Email Account Configuration
Outlook 2002 eliminates the distinction between Corporate/Workgroup and Internet Mail Only modes that made supporting Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000 so difficult. Using a new account management interface, a user can connect Outlook to a combination of accounts from these types of servers:
- POP or IMAP
- HTTP (so far for Hotmail and MSN only)
- Exchange Server
- Other servers supported via MAPI transports
Outlook 2002 also overhauls the concept of synchronizing with an Exchange Server, introducing Send/Receive groups that apply not just to Exchange accounts, but to all mail accounts. Users will be able to build account groups that download headers only, headers + message bodies, or entire messages including attachments from any combination of accounts. Filtering will apply not just to Exchange accounts, but also to other mail accounts. All send/receive operations will support progress dialogs.
If your POP/SMTP account requires you to authenticate via the POP account before sending via the SMTP address, Outlook 2002 can handle this. See:
- OL2002 Unable to Send Mail By Using Yahoo After Upgrading to Outlook 2002
Previous versions of Outlook would just appear to hang when an Exchange connection took a while. Outlook 2002 provides a Cancel Request dialog that gives the user a choice of waiting or canceling the operation. On slow or congested networks, this dialog may become quite annoying to users. The article OL2002 Changing Outlook Cancelable RPC Progress Dialog Behavior explains how to disable the dialog or change its behavior so that it waits longer before appearing.
Outlook 2002 will "AutoSuggest" addresses as you type in recipient names, drawing from a list of the recipients you send messages to most often. See
- Outlook 2002 Completes the E-mail Addresses You Begin to Type
- OL2002 How to Reset the Nickname and Automatic Completion Cache
- OL2002 AutoComplete Lists Deleted Contacts Among Possible Name Resolutions
Better reading and printing of plain text mail messages, with extra paragraph marks removed (but easily restored if you need them, for example to format tabular data). To turn this feature on or off, choose Tools | Options | Email Options | Remove extra line breaks in plain text messages. There is a known problem with this feature and post items. See:
- OL2002 AutoClean Feature Removes Unwanted Line Breaks
- OL2002 Posts Do Not Honor Line Breaks in Plain Text Format
Easier to switch between mail formats on the fly
Outlook 2002 adds performance improvements for WordMail (the use of Word as the e-mail editor) and makes WordMail messages smaller.
Bulk mailing via merge to Word 2002 that does not display "object model guard" prompts and allows the user to control the message format.
- OL2002 The Preview Pane Does Not Use a Paperclip Icon to Indicate an Attachment
- Outlook's WordMail Bonus
Microsoft said at the Microsoft Exchange Conference in October 2000 that Outlook 2002 will fulfill the top three wishes for Outlook calendar users:
- On-the-fly and automatic color coding in day/week/month views
- Group schedule view showing both Exchange Server mailbox and Public Folder calendars. See:
- OL2002 How to use Outlook 2002 Group Schedules
- OL2002 The Free-Busy Data in a Public Folder Does Not Appear in the Combined Data Row
- Outlook 2002 Group Schedule Definitions
- Outlook Limiting Meeting Attendees with Group Schedules
- Easy method for proposing an alternate time for a meeting request, with a View All Proposals so the meeting organizer can easily evaluate the alternatives. See:
They also added lots of other calendar features:
- Single window to show all reminders, allowing users to use them as a to-do list
- Public server for publishing Internet free/busy information
- Meeting request response and other voting buttons at the top of the preview pane, so users don't have to open the item to respond
- Support for the lunar calendar
- Plan a Meeting window to create multiple meetings without opening a new item each time. See OL2002 The 'Plan A Meeting' Dialog Box Does Not Close After You Send a Meeting Request.
You can control the display name that Outlook shows in the Address Book and when you send a message to a contact. Most people will want the display name to include the e-mail address. See:
- OL2002 Adding Name and Internet Address from Message Displays Name but Omits Internet Address
- OL2002 The 'Display As' Field Overrides the Full Name Field of a Contact
Outlook 2002 contains security features similar to the Outlook E-mail Security Update, but with some degree of end user control.
Instead of having .exe, .mdb and other "dangerous" attachments totally blocked by Outlook, end users can downgrade security for specific file types with a registry fix. Those files will no longer be blocked, but users will have to save them to a system folder before they can run them. This is the same level of security as in Office 2000 SR-1 and the separate Attachment Security Update, and I think this is a good compromise between safety and utility -- users won't be able to open .exe file attachments directly from Outlook, but will be able to save them to a system folder and run them from there.
More good news:
- Popular synchronization tools are being updated so that they will no longer pop-up the dialog from the object model guard that the user needs to click in order for sync to proceed. Check with your sync tool provider for the latest version.
- Mail merge to Word 2002 does not pop up any object model guard prompts.
Beyond the customization for file attachments available in the Windows registry, other customization rests with the administrative tools available for Exchange Server and HP OpenMail environments. The administrative control has been enhanced in several ways:
- Administrators can use distribution lists on Outlook security control items, rather than having to enter every individual user affected. That alone should make it much easier to manage Outlook security for an enterprise.
- Administrators can specify certain COM add-ins as "safe," thus exempting them from the pop-up messages of the object model guard for Outlook objects, though prompts will still appear for CDO access.
- Administrators can extend the Outlook security control settings to Personal Folders .pst files and deploy different security settings for different versions of Outlook.
- Improved Find feature that remains available all the time and has a Stop button to cancel a search
- File | Close All Items command
- Simplified deployment in the enterprise, with the Office Custom Installation Wizard updated to handle the functions previously covered by Newprof and Modprof. The CIW will be capable of adding and removing services from existing Outlook profiles.
- For Exchange Server users, a "mailbox full" dialog will present cleanup options for the user's mailbox similar to those available in Windows Explorer's "drive full" dialog.
- Users can set a display name for each email address instead of showing (Email1) or (Email2).
- Import directly to a public folder in the Exchange Server Public FoldersAll Public Folders hierarchy
- Rules Wizard "run a script" rule that allows you to run VBA code against incoming messages. See To convert incoming HTML messages to Outlook Rich Text or plain text format for sample code.
- Rules Wizard "sender is in Address Book" condition that you build a rule for "people I know"
- Outlook 2002 supports Unicode almost everywhere. This means, for example, that you can see the names of contacts from non-Western European language countries in their native alphabets.
- A new address bar appears under the toolbars. Some users find it annoying, but you can't get rid of it completely. See To minimize the size of the address bar in Outlook 2002.
- OL2002 New Features That Are Available in Outlook 2002
- What's New for Microsoft Outlook 2002 Developers
- OL2002 Outlook 2002 Downloads the OAB When You Configure an OST
Reviews and opinion:
- Should you upgrade to Office XP (ZDNet)
- Microsoft Office XP reviewed - Outlook 2002 (Paul Thurrott)
- Who Wants Outlook 2002 (Tony Redmond)