Outlook features we loved (or hated) that lasted just two versions

Last reviewed on June 11, 2013

Over the 15 years and 8 versions of Outlook, we've seen a lot of features come and go. It seems that many of the features we like last 2 versions then are either removed or radically changed and less useful. After a number of complaints, I decided a list of all the features that survived just two versions would be fun to create (and maybe eye-opening).

How many other features did we have for just two years that I forget?

Colored Flags

Outlook 2003's color flagsThese were introduced in Outlook 2002 and remained unchanged in Outlook 2003.

Outlook 2007 converted colored flags to Color Categories in an attempt to merge colored flags and labels. Whether this is a positive or negative change depends on who you talk to.

Personally, I'd like to have flags, categories, and colors as three separate features.


Like colored flags, these were in Outlook 2002 and 2003 and converted to color categories. Labels had a big advantage over color categories: you could label one event in a recurring series and you could use Automatic formatting to highlight appointments, overriding the label color. Color categories replace labels and apply only to the entire series and take precedence over automatic formatting.

Calendar labels in Outlook 2003

To-Do Bar

The To-Do Bar was introduced in Outlook 2007, improved in Outlook 2010 and replaced by "peeks" in Outlook 2013. Peeks are not an acceptable replacement for the To-Bar Bar in my book as peeks have few features and are too many steps to pin open.

Send Items configuration for IMAP accounts

Introduced in Outlook 2007 and improved in Outlook 2010 to include deleted items. User customization was removed in Outlook 2013 - Outlook decides where to store them when it sets up the account. My IMAP accounts all use the server folders, others complain their IMAP accounts now use the local folders.

Corporate/Workgroup and Internet Mail Only modes

I'm not sure anyone misses two Outlook modes, but they lasted just two versions, Outlook 98 and 2000.

Suggested Contacts

The one-hit wonder known as Suggested Contacts lasted just one version (Outlook 2010), and that was a version too long for many users. You can delete the folder from your data file or mailbox. If you have Outlook 2010, you can disable the creation of Suggested Contacts but not remove the folder. Sorry. :)

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.

If the Post Coment button disappears, press your Tab key.