Working in Outlook doesn’t have to limit you to Outlook. By adding a new folder and setting its properties correctly, you can view web pages in your Outlook mail window. The results aren’t always perfect, but with a little experimentation, you’ll discover which pages work and which ones don’t.
To illustrate this enhancement, we’ll add my new reader blog, at http://ssharkins.wordpress.com/ to Outlook. I receive a lot of private email from TechRepublic.com readers, and I (now) answer them via this new blog. To add it to your Outlook folder configuration, do the following:
- Right-click your Inbox and choose New Folder. You’ll want to use the Inbox in Personal Folders or Outlook Data Files.
- In the resulting window, give the folder a descriptive name, such as Reader Blog, and click OK.
- If you have a Favorites folder, right-click the new Reader Blog folder, and choose Show In Favorites. (This step isn’t necessary, but a matter of convenience.)
- To set the folder’s properties, right-click it and choose Properties.
- In the resulting window, click the Home Page tab.
- Enter the URL.
- Check the Show Home Page By Default For This Page option.
- Click OK.
When you click the Reader Blog folder, Outlook displays the site’s home page. Depending on the site’s complexity, you might get a script error. If so, click Yes or No (accordingly) to clear it and move on. You’ll probably lose some functionality, but not much.
You can click links to move around. Returning to the home page (if you leave) can be a bit awkward, but this is a limited feature. Not every site will be a good match for this feature, but when it works, it’s an efficient alternative to using your browser if you want to work in Outlook at the same time.