Outlook 2013 started hitting people's desktops and mobile devices the beginning of the year. With the new Outlook, Microsoft offers up useful capabilities, puzzling changes, an austere interface, as well as a moderately large learning curve.
The most obvious change about Microsoft Office Outlook 2013 is the redone appearance. Outlook, just as the rest of the Office 2013 suite, the interface has been redone to match Windows 8 design guidelines. The design goal seems to be to have one design that works just as effectively on big desktop machines as it does on a tablet or other mobile device. You may or may not be a fan of this new design, but this is the new look we have to live with from now on.
After giving your eyes a moment to the brilliant glare of all that less cluttered Outlook window, you will spot much that you recognize:
The ribbon across the top, although it may be hidden.
The Navigation Pane on the left (although it has been renamed the Folder Pane).
The Inbox Pane just on the right of that.
The Reading Pane on the right (assuming no one turned it off).
But the buttons used to navigate between views are no longer in the renamed Navigation Pane. What you'll see instead is the new Navigation Bar along the bottom of the window(unless it has been compacted back into the Folder Pane)
One big change is that the buttons used to navigate between views are no longer in the renamed Navigation Pane. Instead, there's the new Navigation Bar that runs across the bottom of the Outlook 2013 window (unless it has been compacted back into the Folder Pane).} The Navigation Bar gives you one-click access to the Mail, Calendar, People, and Tasks areas of Outlook 2013. Other sections of Outlook can be reached by clicking the ellipsis (...) that appears on the bar.
Once you get past the visual level, certainly the biggest update to Office Outlook is not to the Mail or Calendar sections, but is in the Contacts section, which has been powered-up and transformed into People. People (or the People Hub as it is also known) is designed to serve as a central location for current information about, and communication with, the people you know.
To make that possible, People can show more than just basic info you expect from Outlook. The People Hub is able to gather status information from social networks, keeping you current with the social status of your contacts.
Surely one of the classier new features in Outlook is Peeks. Have you needed to sneak a peek at say the Calendar while you're busy in Mail? For that matter, wouldn't it be helpful to be able to take a quick look at the key info in other sections of Outlook without actually having to move to that view?
Peeks make that possible. Stop the mouse pointer over an icon that appears on the Navigation Bar for a moment. A peek will pop up. Refer back to the example above, imagine that you're working in Mail view, and have to look at your calendar to confirm that you don't have anything else on your plate for today.
With previous versions of Outlook this required stopping what you were doing, finding your way into the Calendar, perusing your scheduled events, finding your way back into Mail view, then resuming what you were doing before.
But now Outlook 2013 has a very elegant solution to this problem. hover the mouse pointer over the Calendar icon in the Navigation Bar, and in seconds you will get a peek at your calendar for this month. You will even find a little note that tells you that you have nothing on today's schedule. This is a much faster, more elegant way to sneak a peek at another section of Outlook.
It's clear there is clearly a lot of good stuff in the new Outlook 2013. And we have not even touched on the biggest change to affect the entire suite: Outlook is now touch friendly. Microsoft redesigned the entire Office 2013 suite of programs to function with a range of touch-enabled computers as well as non-touch desktop and laptop machines.