With the addition of new mail protocols, the ability to modify your Send/Receive Settings, and a host of new features that make sending e-mail much easier, Microsoft’s Office XP has made Outlook 2002 the ultimate collaboration tool. In this article, I will highlight several changes that Microsoft has made since the application’s last incarnation.

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New e-mail options make Outlook very versatile
One of the more profound changes in Outlook 2002 is the addition of new mail protocols (see Figure A), which are as follows:

  • Integrated Hotmail: Hotmail users will finally be able to access their accounts from within Outlook.
  • HTTP Mail: Any e-mail account based on the HTTP protocol can now be accessed from within Outlook 2002. It is important to note, however, that Rules cannot be used with HTTP accounts.
  • IMAP and POP3 support: Outlook now comes fully functional for POP3 and IMAP accounts. This is useful if your organization uses a mail server other than Microsoft Exchange, such as a Linux or UNIX application.

Figure A
Adding multiple e-mail accounts to your Outlook 2002 folder list is a snap.

Sending and receiving e-mail: Be specific
Outlook 2002 has made sending and receiving e-mail a breeze. While most e-mail applications have a Send/Receive feature, not many can match Outlook 2002’s ability to modify these settings.

Outlook 2002 is set to download new e-mails in every account available by default when the Send/Receive button is pressed. If, by some chance, you didn’t want to have every account reporting new e-mail at one time, you can set Outlook 2002 to only check certain mail accounts at certain times. You can also set Outlook 2002 to check only certain folders within certain accounts (see Figures B and C).

If you have multiple business accounts on your machine that must be downloaded on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to leave Outlook’s Send/Receive feature at default. Whenever you use the Send/Receive feature, all e-mail accounts will be parsed for new messages. However, if there are accounts within Outlook that don’t require constant checking, such as personal accounts (if permitted), it may be a good idea to take these accounts off the Send/Receive feature. Doing so will save bandwidth and keep hard drive space available for more important business e-mail.

Finally, when using rules to move e-mail to specific folders, you may wish to have those folders parsed in addition to the Inbox to ensure that you don’t miss any important e-mails.

Figure B
To edit your Send/Receive Settings, first select the Define Send/Receive Groups from the Tools menu.

Figure C
Next, select the folders and e-mail accounts you wish to edit in the Send/Receive Settings.

Send e-mail like a pro
Outlook 2002 has a few new features that make composing e-mail easier and much more functional. These include the following:

  • Task Pane: Just as in Word 2002, Outlook 2002 features the new Task Pane. However, it isn’t available when you first open a new message. In order to access it, you must click on Tools and select Task Pane from the menu.
  • Accounts: If you have multiple e-mail accounts on your machine, you can choose which account to send specific messages through. Outlook 2002 makes this easy through the use of the Accounts button. You simply select the account you wish to send e-mail from, compose your e-mail, and send the e-mail to the selected recipients.
  • HTML, Rich Text, Plain Text: Users now have the ability to select how they wish to format the e-mail messages they send. A menu is available in the e-mail message that allows users to choose HTML, Rich Text, and Plain Text formats in which to send their messages.

Bottom line
Microsoft has done a lot to make Outlook a more flexible e-mail program. The ability to access multiple e-mail accounts across various mail protocols is a welcome addition. Within the upcoming weeks and months, we’ll be offering tips and tricks to help you make the most of Outlook 2002 and Office XP, so be sure to stay connected to TechRepublic.

Share your Outlook 2002 tips

If your organization is already using Outlook 2002, we’d love to hear about your experiences. What problems have you encountered, and how have you dealt with them? Post a comment or send us a note.