MS Office Beta Notes

This is a side-blog where I intend to keep all of my notes from Beta testing new versions of Office. This will keep them all in one place for future reference. I started this with Office 2003, and am bringing it back for the 2007 version. This is not an official Microsoft site, this is just the ramblings of one IT guy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003


The first bit of Office that I looked at was Outlook 2003. I spent a good portion of late Saturday night/Sunday morning learning about the differences and features. It took a little while to adjust to the 3 panes-across layout as opposed to the 1 pane on the left, two panes over top of each other on the right layout of 2000, but once I got used to it, I like it. The left pane looks a little busy, but the right pane allows you to see more of the message. On top of that, Outlook 2003 actually blocks HTML scripting and some images by default so it's probably safer to actually use the preview pane! :) (You can also switch back to the old view as well.)

Of course all those legit newsletters you get that use banner advertising are probably going to have to adjust and go to text ads, because all the folks using Outlook 2003 are never going to see the banner ads. (For my test I looked at Lockergnome's Windows Daily, and the banner that usually appears across the top of the message, is blocked.) That's not necessarily a bad thing..

The other new things I liked are the ability to add "search folders" which let you search for messages and then lump them all together in one folder, keeping that folder handy for when you want to go back and reference those messages again, without actually moving the messages out of whatever folder they currently exist in. You can also display messages in a folder by size, time, date, author, conversation, flag type, etc. Much more powerful than 2000, and the ability to define your own "flag" scheme also gives you many more options than 2000 does in sorting and handling your email. All good stuff, and stuff that I think will change the way some people handle their email. Of course not everyone needs or wants this much power, but it's nice to know it's an option. Options are good. :)

The sad truth is, I don't get enough email to tell how much use I would get out of some of these features. *L*

The one down side, at least on my system, is that it seems to be quite a bit slower at checking mail and downloading messages at startup than 2000 is. But that may just be the difference between systems, I have 2000 at work, 2003 at home, it's hardly an apples to apples comparison.

Anyway, back to regular work now.