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Hello Office 2010 beta users! My name is Michael Affronti and I'm a Program Manager on the Outlook product team here in Redmond. We now have the opportunity to talk with all of you about Outlook 2010 and the amazing features we've been hard at work on over the last two years! Over the next couple months we'll be revealing a bunch of the changes and updates in Outlook 2010 right here on the Outlook Team Blog.
Let's start with your Inbox in Outlook 2010. For a long, long time your Inbox has been a lengthy, chronological list of all the emails you have received. We know that for many of our users, dealing with the sheer volume of email they send and receive each day is a daunting and sometimes impossible task. It's been up to you, the user, to wade through the thousands of messages you may have in your Inbox; deleting, filing, and reading individual emails, perhaps wondering if there might be a better way to do those core email triage tasks.
Enter the Conversations experience in Outlook 2010, an entirely new way to take control of your Inbox. You may have used conversation arrangements before in previous versions of Outlook or in other email clients, but in Outlook 2010 we have taken conversations to a whole new level by allowing all of your email to look, act, and function as smart groups of related messages.
All of your emails are now grouped into conversations based on the subject of the mail. A random sampling of internal Microsoft employees' Inboxes averages a 40% reduction in the number of items seen in the Inbox! All this is from simply grouping and hiding the older, redundant content of conversations. A single-click on a conversation item will show you the content of the latest email in the thread, enabling you to quickly read and triage an entire set of messages.
"Hey, what about the stuff I've sent in that conversation?!" We've got you covered! If you expand a conversation you'll get to see all of the older messages that make up that conversation, and you'll even see your Sent Items right inside the conversation – since the email messages you send in a conversation are just as important as those you receive:
If you're an email filer we'll also seamlessly show you items in the conversation you've filed in any other folder in your mailbox:
So no matter what your workflow is for storing and organizing your email, the new Conversations experience in Outlook 2010 always shows you the entire conversation every time, everywhere.
Who replied to who? Outlook 2010 makes it even easier to tell who replied to who inside of a conversation. Click on any individual message inside of a conversation to see a dotted line that shows which messages it replies to. This can be useful when a reply comes into a conversation that actually responded directly to an earlier message in the conversation, like Michael Affronti's message in the conversation below:
Speed up your triage by acting Conversationally. By grouping all the related emails in a conversation together into a single item, Outlook 2010 allows you to save time by easily deleting, moving, categorizing, or marking the entire conversation as read in one click. Once you categorize a conversation, Outlook 2010 will automatically categorize new items that arrive in that conversation! The time savings can be significant – in one internal test, Microsoft employees reduced 46% of the actions needed to triage their Inbox in the new Conversations experience, as compared to Outlook 2007's Date arrangement.
Reply and Reply All are smarter too, and will always reply to the latest message in the conversation. If you happen to open an older message in the conversation and hit Reply – say a flagged mail from the ToDo Bar, for example – Outlook 2010 has you covered with a new clickable warning will appear that allows you to instantly jump to the latest message in the conversation.
Ever have a distracting email flare up in your Inbox? The new Ignore button quickly and easily moves an entire conversation and any future items that arrive to your Deleted Items folder. Now you won't have to waste time deleting each new email in your co-workers' ongoing conversation about where to go to lunch today – that is, of course, if unless you're hungry.
Want to slim down your Inbox? Try the new Clean Up button and watch it move all the older, redundant messages in your conversation to the Deleted Items folder:
Clean Up always keeps the most recent message around, ensuring you have all the content in the conversation while allowing you to delete the redundant messages. This can be a very effective way to free up some much-needed space if you have a small mailbox quota. Clean Up is even smart enough to keep messages that have attachments, flags, or categories. Clean Up is available on an individual conversation or a whole folder, and can be customized to move the redundant content to any folder in your store. For example, you can move the cleaned-up messages to an archive or filed folder in your mailbox, making it the ultimate Monday morning triage tool.
We've spent the past couple years building you a great new experience for reading and triaging your email in Outlook 2010. Let's summarize what the new Conversations experience 2010 can do for you…
On behalf of the entire Outlook Conversations Feature team, we hope you enjoy the new Inbox experience in Outlook 2010!
Michael Affronti Outlook Program Manager
More info on Outlook conversation view:
Webinar: Unclutter your Outlook inboxGrouping emails by conversation in OutlookCES: Outlook 2010's Conversation View puts you back in action (video)Inbox sanity: Prioritize your email with Outlook conversation toolsHow Outlook 2010 cleans up after meUse Conversation Clean Up to eliminate redundant messagesTurn on or off Conversations arrangement in the message list
Very nice overview, Michael. I especially appreciate all of the screenshots. The Conversations feature is one of my favorite improvements in the new version of Outlook!
This is great! I've actually been doing this manually myself for about two years now with a bit of Search Folder trickery so having Outlook do it for me is GREAT!
Thanks Michael! No problem! Glad you enjoyed the post and the feature.
I hope that "Ignore" and "Clean Up" will have the option to send the email messages to somewhere *other* than the Deleted Items folder. If not, these awesome-sounding features will be essentially useless to me. There are times I want to ignore things but still have the messages available as an audit trail if I need to find something later on.
Wow...great features..I have already downloaded the technical preview..will install that and see. I hope 2010 will also be helpful as 2007. Thanks for a nice review Michael.
Yep, ignore could actually move the messages directly to some archive (ie. pst file) folder, mark them read, and make the same with next messages from that conversation. That way they wouldn't eat up your Exchange space, wouldn't bother you when they arrive, but would still be there if you need them in the future. Deleting is not an option - I don't delete any mail, you never know when you need it.
Hey please support vCard 3.0 support in Outlook 2010 and the ability to export all your contacts as a single vCard. Please add this minor feature before RTM.
Screens looks very great, but I have a wish too, a better windwos integration, e.g.
-How to keep windows contact and windows calendar up to date with Outlook?
-What if I start outlook by the task sheduler? I still miss a minimized command line parameter
-Windows Messenger start Windows live mail, even though Outlook connecter is installed.
I see from the screenshots that your contact entry for Eric Gilmore has got his photo in the contact details. I *love* this feature but I really wish it was integrated into Active Directory in some way. For example, supposing someone has a My Site in SharePoint and they've set their photo. Wouldn't it be great for that to sync back to AD and then be propagated out (somehow) if you receive an email from that person? Otherwise, it seems that it will forever remain a manual process and not see much take-up in a corporate Exchange environment.
it looks great! I've been trying to achieve this with 2007, but have nearly reached my limit setting multiple categories for each message in a conversation. Maybe it's already there, but during a trial of Thunderbird there was a nifty add-in that changed the backgroud color of each message in the conversation. It was very helpful in identifying each message.
Hi Michael, I like the improved user interface (finally the thread compressor has made it into the product). One thing is causing me to switch my phone to my home box where Office 2007 is installed: The Mobile Device Center does not recognize Outlook 2010! When do you plan to integrate that? Cheers
I often change the subject line of the email, especially if the original email comes with the useless "Hi" type subject.
Would this still enable the messages to be held as part of a conversation?
If so, excellent!
A common subject does not make a conversation. I regularly get messages with the same subject that are not related at all; "New software request", "Receipt for your subscription", "Test" and the worst case, blank subjects. They are all lumped together based on the subject even though they may be received months apart and have no relation to each other. Why would all messages with blank subjects be considered a conversation? Why not thread as per every other mail client on the Message-id, In-Reply-To and Reference headers?
Im using outlook 2010 and one of my problem was I cannot default the sent items to my pst. Sent items is very vital for us to save it. Hopefully you guys can help me solve this problem. But the whole package is great. Thank you and regards.
Is the ignore conversation feature only keyed off of the text in the Subject line? Or are there other factors that determine if an email is part of the ignored conversation? People in the To: and/or Cc:? I like the feature and the ability to re-direct ignored conversations to another folder, other than Deleted Items.