New Features in Outlook 2003

Last reviewed on October 2, 2014   —  5 comments

Outlook 2003 includes new features in many different areas. We will be adding more information to this page as we get to know the product better.

User Interface | Mail | Calendar | Contacts & Address Book | Infrastructure | Miscellaneous | More Information

User Interface

Outlook 2003 introduces the first major change in the user interface since Outlook 97. For details, see Managing the Microsoft Outlook 2003 Interface.

When a user first opens Outlook, the Favorite Folders list shows Inbox, Unread Mail, For Follow Up, and Sent Items. Unread Mail and For Follow Up are examples of the new “search folders” in Outlook 2003. These are virtual folders that stay updated automatically, similar to what you would see in Advanced Find. The Unread Mail search folder will show all unread messages in all mail folders. The For Follow-Up search folder shows all items flagged for follow up. Users can create new search folders using a dozen included templates or any search performed with the Find or Advanced Find features.


Also see:


Click the image below to see a larger screen shot of side-by-side calendars.

  • Checkboxes to show other calendars side-by-side with your own Calendar folder.
  • Click to view a larger image

  • Read-only viewing of calendars in SharePoint Team Services webs
  • Feature to create a “Meeting Workplace” in SharePoint Team Services and link it with a meeting request
  • New rule to send an alert to your mobile device when a meeting is updated

Also see:

Contacts & Address Book



  • Simplified Rules Wizard dialog
  • Improved handling of items in conflict
  • “Live Attachments” feature that allows people to collaborate on a document sent as a file attachment, but actually stored on a SharePoint Team Services server; see

More Information

About Diane Poremsky

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlook forums by

5 responses to “New Features in Outlook 2003”

  1. Glenn Commons

    I am a retired person who still uses Outlook 2003. At one point, I had figured out how to make the first entry in "Contact" have a blue heading as though I had clicked on it. That meant that whenever I opened Contacts, I could start typing a name and go directly to the desired contact. I recently upgraded my computer and installed Outlook again. Now, when I open Contacts and start typing, nothing happens because no contact has been clicked. So, I have to click a contact, any contact, before the program will recognize my keystrokes. I have searched and searched for a method to make the change so that a contact is highlighted when I open Contacts. I would really appreciate any instructions you could offer. Thank you.

  2. sami

    hi, i have lots of senders sending mails every day for me hard to locate mails in "inbox" so, under "inbox" i create folders by sender's name...but problem is same when new mail comes it shows as unread in "inbox" rather then highlight sender's folder by unread. again i have to search "inbox" then drag into sender's folder.
    question; how i can set sedner's folder that, automaticlly highlight when i receive mail from him/her?
    plz help in this regard

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Are you using rules to move mail to the correct folder?

  3. taryn monks

    How to open all features on the outlook page from inbox to deleted to sent or even be able to make new mail to send?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      I'm not quite sure I understand the question. Are you using the new interface at Hotmail? Select the message then a new toolbar appears across the top. More options are under the 3 dots and settings are under the gear. interface

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