FastOffice Computer Training

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Strengths and Weaknesses of Outlook

Outlook is a tool that provides an opportunity for you to organize many aspects of your personal and business life. The email features alone are very impressive, and provide more features than most other email programs. If you learn how to use these features, you will not need another email program.

Outlook is divided into four main modules: Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks. They are integrated in such a way that you can communicate with others from any of those modules. For example, you can plan a meeting with others, assign tasks, and share contact information. You can even organize all your information in every way conceivable.

A couple of other modules round out Outlook: Notes and Journal. These are not often used, but are available to those who want to keep track of simple notes and view a timeline of their work.

Throughout these lessons, you will learn about all the benefits of using Outlook. However, there are some limitations to this program that need to be laid out now and during the course.

First of all, Outlook is not the best contact manager. In fact, it doesn’t even come close. It is great for personal use if you are tracking friends, and you don’t care where they work. Also, it is fine if you are only using the contacts as an address book. It is not, however, good at keeping track of leads, phone conversations, or follow-up. If a business, for example, moves, you have to change the business address of all your contacts who work for that company. If you want to track phone calls, the journal feature is not fully integrated with the contacts feature.

Sharing calendars with others is not transparent, and requires a bit of setup if you are not using Microsoft’s Exchange Server. And this brings up another point … if you are not using Exchange Server, many of the features simply do not work with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and even Hotmail.

The best way to use Outlook is in an organization that has an Exchange Server with shared contacts and calendars. For better contact management, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is great for sales teams, and does integrate with Outlook.

If you need to manage contacts on a stand-alone system (without Exchange Server), then Business Contact Manager is a great free tool from Microsoft that integrates with Outlook.

If you are planning to use Outlook, you have made a good choice. Consider using Exchange Server to get the most out of it, and Dynamics CRM if you need to use contacts for more than just an address book.

I will cover more of the strengths and weaknesses of Outlook throughout these lessons.



© 2012 FastOffice Computer Training

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