What you need to know about Outlook 2013

Last reviewed on May 8, 2014

Outlook 2013 iconOffice 2013 is available in several "flavors": Office 365 Home Premium, which is a subscription based product. It's $100/yr or $10/month (as of this writing) and can be installed on up to 5 computers or Apple & Android devices within your household. A subscription-based plan for business users is available, which can be installed on up to 5 computers or devices used by the subscriber. The business plan is available with or without Exchange Online email.

For those not into SaaS (Software as a Subscription), you can buy a traditional "perpetual license" for Office 2013, but the license is for one computer, not a desktop and portable as with previous versions. If you need it on a desktop and a laptop, you'll need to buy two copies. There is no upgrade pricing plan either. For more information, see Home Premium and non-subscription pricing.

Are all the "Office 365" offerings confusing? See Office 365, Office 365, and Office on Demand for more information on the naming convention.

Office 2013 is not supported on Windows XP. You need to use Windows 7 or Windows 8.

If you are upgrading from an earlier version of Outlook and are not installing the Click to Run version, you should uninstall Outlook before installing Office 2013.

If you decide to uninstall Office 2013 and are having problems, see Uninstalling Office 2013.

The majority of users will have one of the "click to run" versions, as all versions of Office 2013 available to retail customers, including the perpetual licenses, are click to run. (Only volume licenses are available as a traditional MSI.)

The click to run install lets you have two versions of Outlook installed. Officially, Office 2013 is not supported with Office 2003, however it works, but there may be issues if you switch between Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2003.

My Favorite Features Exchange 2003 Support
Features Removed

Profiles and Accounts

Outlook 2013 moves the profile key in the registry and profile created in older versions of Outlook will be migrated to the new key. Yhe Profile key was moved from the Windows Messaging Subsystem path to the Office path with all of the other preferences and options. It's now at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\Profiles

If you were using the Outlook Connector for a Hotmail account and want to use an existing profile, you need to delete the account from your profile first then add it back as an EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) account.

Outlook 2013 uses a new compressed format for the offline data file (.ost), with the compressed version of the .ost up to 40% smaller than the .ost files used in earlier versions of Outlook. The older ost files are kept and can be opened by Outlook 2013. Administrators can use GPO to disable the creation of the compressed ost files.

Outlook 2013's EAS service works with Outlook.com (Hotmail). AutoDiscover should find the account and configure it, but if not, you will need to set it up manually. Use m.hotmail.com as the EAS server name (it will be updated in Outlook to reflect the correct server name for your account, such as blu-m.hotmail.com).

Outlook's EAS service will not work with Gmail or other web mail accounts. It only works with systems that licensed a newer version of Exchange ActiveSync. Additionally, administrators have the ability to block Outlook as an EAS client (as they can with any phone).

IMAP accounts no longer use a pst file. Like Exchange cached mode and Outlook.com, IMAP uses an ost file for the local cache. The Sent items folder is not configurable. Outlook automatically uses the server's Sent Items folder, if the server supports it, otherwise it uses the local Sent Items folder. For more information, see Configuring special IMAP folders in Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2013 and IMAP Sent folder, as well as What you need to know about IMAP accounts in Outlook 2013.

As I mentioned in My Favorite Outlook 2013 Features, you can control how much is synced from Exchange, IMAP, and EAS accounts, using the Sync Slider. If you have a small hard drive, you can keep only the next 1 to 6 months in Outlook and use search or web access when you need to view older messages. Note: EAS accounts are currently limited to either 1 month or all. Exchange and IMAP accounts have a larger range of options.

Colors

You can't change Outlook's color scheme. To paraphrase Henry Ford, you can have any color you like, as long as it's gray. You can add some decorations to the upper right corner (of all office applications). Big Deal. Outlook is still bland.

As the result of the large number of complaints in the Preview Microsoft added a light and dark gray color scheme. See Changing Office 2013's color scheme for screenshots and more information.

Good-bye orange; Outlook's application color is blue. While this means the icon looks similar to the icon used by Word and Lync, it also means that hard-to-see orange highlighting is now an easier to see blue. Overall, once you get used to looking for the blue icon, the color scheme will be perfect. If you really, really want the orange icon back, you can edit the icon pinned to the Taskbar. See Change Outlook 2013's blue icon for instructions.

Email

Outlook 2013 includes an option to warn you if it thinks you might have forgotten to include an attachment. It can be disabled. The blank subject warning cannot be turned off.

As I mentioned in My Favorite Outlook 2013 Features, you can reply to messages in the reading pane and delete messages from the folder list.

Contacts

Contact Activities are history. The Journal is still available (use Ctrl+8) but it’s a shadow of it's former self. To create new journal entries, you’ll need to use Ctrl+8,N. Anyone who is still using the Journal needs to find a new solution. Now. See Making the Journal work in Outlook 2013 if you want to continue using Journal.

Contacts are now People. Actually, they are still contacts but the Navigation shortcut is called People. You can pin your frequently used contacts to the People peek for easier access.

The contact cards that pop up when you hover over an address are a little more useful. If one or more contacts exist for a person, the contact card will link to all of the contacts. For example, my contact card links to Facebook & LinkedIn profiles, and a contact. You can also edit a contact from the contact card.

More information on People and the People Hub (aka the new People view) is at Understanding Outlook's new Contact Cards.

The Social connector lets you choose which social account should be default, falling back to the other social services when information (such as contact photos) is not available for the preferred account. If you want LinkedIn photos instead of Facebook, this setting will make you happy.

Calendar

You can display the weather in the calendar module. It’s cute and useful if you use the calendar module a lot, but if you use Calendar peek, you won’t see the forecast temperatures and icons. Hover over the icons to see more details or click a link to see more weather online. You can add several locations and switch between them as needed.

The Holidays list includes dates through 2022 for movable holidays, 2031 for some holidays on fixed dates. It remains to be seen if any dates are wrong. It wouldn't be Outlook if the new HOL list didn't have at least one error.

Written by

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 Outlookforums.

27 responses to “What you need to know about Outlook 2013”

  1. tmillerjohnson

    We hope we need to wait until we get a professional version of Windows 8 so that 2013 will work fine.

  2. Nik

    Hello Diane,

    This probably isn't the venue but I am at my wit's end.

    I am having a problem with outlook 2013 preview, which I cannot find any reference to on line. I hope you might be able to help or point me in the direction of a solution.

    I am running Win7, 64bit.

    I first installed my old MS Office 2000 but of course Outlook couldn't find the wab.dll's so I uninstalled it and installed the Office 2013 Preview instead. All the other programs work except Outlook.

    I am stuck in an error loop; when I open Outlook 2013 the first time, it crashes, offers to find a solution online then closes. If I open it a second time it offers to open in safe mode and do repairs. If I accept the repairs it then informs me it can only perform repairs on products that are installed.

    I have uninstalled and reinstalled and repaired Office 2013 several times with no improvement.

    Do you have any ideas?

    Thanks for your time,
    Nik.

    Below is the mysterious error text which is generated by Outlook crashing the first time.

    Problem signature:
    Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
    Application Name: outlook.exe
    Application Version: 15.0.4128.1019
    Application Timestamp: 500a5432
    Fault Module Name: PSTPRX32.DLL
    Fault Module Version: 15.0.4128.1019
    Fault Module Timestamp: 500a5187
    Exception Code: c0000005
    Exception Offset: 0001b30e
    OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.768.3
    Locale ID: 4105

    Additional information about the problem:
    LCID: 1033
    skulcid: 1033

  3. john.warrior

    Try uninstalling your existing outlook application using "fixit" from Microsoft. reboot your Computer, try installing the new version now and check.

  4. Jermain

    I am having some issues with Outlook 2013.

    First of all, I have a Dell E5520 with 8GB RAM. The operating system is Windows 8 x64 and with full cache. The operating system is installed on a SSD.

    Outlook won't respond for about 1-2 minutes and it becomes transparent.

    If I look at the resource control, I see high hard drive usage. This happens every time when the problem occurs.

    I have this problem 2-3 times a week.

    Please help.

  5. Stefan

    Strange thing here, I have a x86 windows 8 pro dell Latitude 10, and outlook 2013 setup fine with our exchange 2013, but every time it syncs folders it crashes at deleted item, but only in online mode, offline works fine. If I empty deleted Item it works fine. 1 email in deleted Item and outlooks dies.

    I'm an MCT, MSCE, MCP, MCTIP, MCSA... but I cant figure that out.

    install outlook 2010 all good.

    WTH

  6. Lisa Stratton

    Outlook 2013 makes it impossible to use folders to organize and save emails. I use them to organize emails by subject. But you can't drag and drop emails into folders in Outlook 2013. Office.com says you move emails to folders using "QuickSteps." I'd have to create a Quickstep for EVERY FOLDER with a "move to X folder" function. To move an email, you highlight it, then click on the Quickstep in the toolbar created for that folder. What was a simple drag and drop function becomes a multi-step process. Worse yet, even after I've done each of those steps, after I click the "Quickstep-move to X folder" icon, I get no visual indication that the email has actually been moved. It stays in my inbox, with no marking of any kind that I can see, so the "move to folder" function is really a "copy" function. If I add another step and delete the email left in the inbox, Outlook 2013 deletes the copy in the folder also, defeating the entire purpose of saving to a folder. HELP?

  7. Russell

    I just found your comment and I have the same transparency issues. Have you found a resolution to this. It is maddening.....

  8. Graham Austin

    Up until today I was able to drag emails between folders but am now unable to do this.

  9. Fave

    I am using our corporate mail and just today, it doesn't let me drag items from inbox to local folders.

  10. Tom

    Using Outlook 2007, I would occasionally delete a contact, then drag it back into the Calendar. 2013 will not allow this; when I try to do this, it wants to schedule a meeting?
    I would do this if information was not synching correctly between my smartphone and PC.
    I have a brand new OptiPlex 7010 system using Windows 7.

  11. Dennis

    Question. Every time I send a message, it hangs for about 10 seconds and then sends. I tested creating a new profile and the issue goes away. I am sure it is some issue from my old 2010 file being imported to 2013. The issue is how do I get all my old emails in to my new profile?? As a busines owner outlook is my lifeblood and need to have every thing there together. I guess I could just open the old ost but is that going to cause any other issues since new profile? Thanks for the help in advance. Dennis

  12. Henry

    Dear Diane, in installing the office 2013, I lost my email archives (from a previous outlook version). Is it possible to recover these archives? if yes could you please help me to recover them? Thanks in advance and best regards

  13. Henry

    I'm in the same computer but it seems that the computer was wiped to install the office 2013.

  14. SMS

    You can just press Esc a few times and then the drag & drop functionality will start working again.

  15. Anthony

    I have a BIG problem!!!!!!!!!!! I am using Outlook 2013 and I I'm using office 365 as my server. When I delete an e-mail from outlook, it does not delete from 365, unless I completely empty my deleted folder? When I delete an email from 365 though, it deletes from Outlook. Can someone please help? I am using win 7.

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