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Using Outlook to manage and read your RSS feeds has several advantages over a stand-alone aggregator, including the ability to place flags and run rules on any RSS feed to which you subscribe.
Some of you might be wondering what is RSS? Really Simple Syndication (usually referred to as RSS) is a way to get updates to websites sent to you instead of having to go back to the web to see if any changes have been made. In this way, you can keep up-to-date on news and information from many different sources in one place. For example, you could subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog to be notified when we post a new article. You could also subscribe to the MSNBC Top Headlines RSS feed to keep up to date on top news stories. Many companies are starting to use RSS feeds internally to provide their employees with information that doesn’t need to be e-mailed to the entire company.
In the past, people had to use a stand-alone RSS reader such as FeedDemon or an Outlook add-in such as NewsGator to view their RSS feeds. Outlook 2007 now includes a built-in RSS reader, so now you can treat your RSS the way that you treat your mail (using flags, categories, search folders, rules, etc.) without having to use a separate application.
While Outlook is running, it will periodically check the feeds to which you have subscribed and download any new content. Outlook shows an unread count for each feed next to the folder, so you can quickly see if there are new items you haven’t read yet. Because Outlook downloads the RSS feed data from onto your computer, you can access that data even while offline.
Feeds displayed in Outlook look just like mail folders, and show the unread count next to the feed name
You can delete posts as you read them or keep posts of interest long after they have been removed from the feed. You can also categorize posts, move them to a separate folder, or flag them for follow up as you please. For example, if you are subscribed to a feed from your company’s website, you can easily keep posts mentioning your projects and discard those that are of no interest to you. Or you can set up rules that move interesting RSS posts to your Inbox to bring them to your attention.
If you decide that a feed is no longer important, you can remove the feed by deleting the feed’s folder in Outlook. Outlook will stop downloading new content for the feed and move all the existing downloaded posts to Deleted Items.
One of the really great things about RSS in Outlook is how well it integrates with some of the other features in the product. For example, I have several RSS feeds to which I subscribe but am not interested in every post they publish. Instead of scrolling through each feed manually, I use a Search Folder that searches my subscribed feeds for posts with keywords on topics of interest. Michael describes how to setup this type of Search Folder in this OfficeHours article.
Another handy feature is that RSS in Outlook is that the Outlook feed list can be synchronized with the Windows Common Feed List, which is the list of RSS feeds maintained by Internet Explorer 7 (or later). Outlook prompts you to enable this functionally on first startup, and you can later change that decision through Tools, Options.
Feeds from Internet Explorer and other Common Feeds List clients automatically appear in Outlook
When the synchronize option is turned on, any feed added to either IE or Outlook is added to the other automatically. Deleting a feed from Outlook, however, does not delete the feed from IE, so if you have a feed that is publishing a large volume of posts or very large posts that you do not want filling up your mailbox, you can delete the feed from Outlook but still read it in Internet Explorer. This way you can keep your favorite feeds - the feeds that you always want to download – in Outlook and any feeds you just want to check on occasionally in Internet Explorer. Doing so is especially handy for those who have slow internet connections and who want to minimize RSS-related network activity from Outlook.
The option to download enclosures is also very convenient. Some RSS feeds have attachments to their RSS items to supplement the content of the article, like a song file, picture, or Office document. Also, some RSS feeds only post minimal data to their RSS items, such as an article summary and a link to the full article. Outlook makes it possible to download the article text as an attachment to the RSS item for viewing offline. By default, both of these features are turned off, but you may activate either feature by editing a feed’s properties. To edit the properties of a feed, select Tools, then Account Manager from the main Outlook window. Select the RSS Feeds tab to see a list of the RSS Feeds Outlook is downloading for you, and use the Change button to modify a feed’s properties.
You can also choose to download attachments or update an item directly from the RSS post in Outlook. Click the information bar at the top of the item to view the full article in your web browser, or download additional content.
A number of RSS related improvements were made in the 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 1 (SP1).
Most notably, the downloading of duplicate items was the number one customer issue with RSS in Outlook 2007 and we have made improvements to drastically reduce the number and frequency of duplicates.
Another common issue that was resolved in SP1 is that certain feeds would show all items were posted on 12/31/2006 or 1/1/2007.
Additionally we made performance improvements when synchronizing RSS items to the Common Feed List managed by Internet Explorer. This will speed up Outlook if you keep your Outlook feeds synchronized to the Common Feed List.
There are certainly lots of different ways you can use RSS inside of Outlook 2007, and I hope you find some of these tips and tricks useful as you explore on your own.
Thanks for taking a look at RSS in Outlook,
Christopher Stuart Outlook Software Design Engineer in Test
I understand why feeds deleted in IE are not deleted from Outlook (and those deleted from Outlook not deleted from IE) but why isn't there an option to turn this feature off ? Actually I'd prefer having only one feed list for all programs (IE, Outlook, Sidebar Gadget, etc. ..) in my computer.
I would like to be able to retrieve posts that are older than x number of days. As i just started using outlook 2007, i only have feeds since a few days before i started using the software. How can retrive all those archived posts?
Jeremy Behmoaras > I don't think you can : feeds are published by their own editors in an XML format (the feed itself). This XML Document contain only the latest headlines. The exact number of these headlines is choosed by the editor, and, each time a new entry is added in the feed, the oldest one is removed (it's a FIFO behaviour).
Some RSS clients (like Outlook and the Windows RSS Platform) keep the older feed entries in some kind of local store, so you can always see these entries, but these are no longer publish by their original editors.
Hi Chris. I really like the Outlook RSS implementation - very convenient. One problem I'm having though and maybe I just set it up wrong. I created subforlders in Outlook for various groups of feeds (Microsoft Feeds, etc). But while the feeds themselves seem to be present in both IE7 and Outlook 07, the folder strucure isn't synced. So, when I try to subscribe to a feed with IE, I can't simply add it to the appropriate folder that I set up in Outlook. Any thoughts? What I have to do now is hit the subscribe button in IE, copy the feed address from the address line, switch to Outlook, go to tools/account/rss/new, add it and then change to the folder where I want it to live. I'm sure I probably just got into a bad habit and maybe set things up wrong, but any thoughts on how I can streamline adding feeds to Outlook from IE? Thanks.
I've used RSS feeds with Outlook 2007 with no problem. I have now loaded up a "corporate image" on a notebook with everything setup for me, kind of. The RSS Feeds folder is still in the list underneath the Exchange mailbox, but none of the feeds are getting updated. Upon further review, I have found that RSS is no longer setup as an account. I tried going into mail setup to add RSS but there isn't an option for it. Could the "corporate image" be built without RSS support? Is there anyway to add it? Thanks!
Chris, I use this all the time and really like it. My problem is that one of my RSS feeds is from a SharePoint list and for some reason, Outlooks is marking five items in the list as unread over and over again, even though the feed in IE does not. Any ideas?
I went on vacation last week and when I came back all of my RSS feeds are not being updated. I have spent a considerable amount of time on this and finally found the Send/Receive Group option. When I go to edit my default send/receive group and click on RSS there are only new ones added. It completely removed my regular RSS feeds. The feeds are still in the Common Feeds List because I can see them in Internet Explorer. They are all being updated and everything looks good there but Outlook seems to have totally dropped them. The RSS capability seems like such a basic feature to include in Outlook and I am really disappointed that it functions so poorly. I will have to explore other RSS reader options until this product matures.
Regarding deleting multiple rss items. Am I missing something? I just press control+A to select all items, then just place them in deleted items.
I'm very frustrated with the Outlook RSS integration. I currently do not receive any updates to any of the RSS feeds to which I am subscribed. Looking at my Groups, all the check marks are set to down load updates, I don't have any synchronization filters set. All in all, this is a bad user experience and it does not do the job it was intended to do - download posts. I run Outlook 2007 SP1 on Windows Server 2003 and manually add the RSS URL's using the "Add a New RSS Feed..." menu item.
Hi Chris: RSS feed option does not show in my account settings/ options. When I try to add RSS feed, I get a message stating that administrator has turned off this option. It is my personal computer, and there is no other administrator. I suspect the problem originates during a disk clean up. It was working before that. could you or anyone on this forum advise me what to do? Thanks
Can someone explain what makes a feed show up as unread? Is it the pubDate or guid or the fact that the content has changed? Thanks.
I've noticed that Outlook 2007 never updates most of my feeds. I found this post by searching for the problem, and saw that there was an "Update Limit" setting. Since most RSS publishers don't include their update rate (which I discovered is set by a sy namespace setting below), I unchecked this box. But how do I force Outlook to refresh a feed, as even after unchecking this option, the feeds haven't refreshed. xmlns:sy="purl.org/.../" daily 6 2000-01-01T12:00+00:00
Hi I need to read feeds offline quite often, and most of the feeds I read have only minimal data in the feed itself, so I have set up Outlook to download whole article as HTML. But when I am offline, I find that none of teh images have been downloaded with the whole article. Any suggestions? Regards. Kinshuk
Punit, I'm having the same problem with the RSS Feed option tab missing from the Account Settings. Although the RSS Feeds folders is listed in my Mailbox. We're setup a little different because we do have an Exchange server. However I'm not sure that is the problem, because the RSS Feeds works on other computers on the network. I pretty sure it's specific to the computer b/c no matter who logs on to it and setups Outlook 2007 client, we get the same message: administrator has turned off this option. Did you find a solution?
There seems to be a lot of chatter on the net about RSS feeds in Outlook failing to update. I too have encountered this problem. I believe my problems may stem from installing Windows XP on another partition and then accessing the Outlook PST file from Outlook 2007 installed on the new partition. When I return to the old partition my existing RSS feeds were no longer updating. Now only RSS feeds created after that date are being processed. Hope this helps you sort this problem out. Outlook 2007's RSS feature is nice, but the glitches are a real killer.