The Good Excellent e-mailer; saves group calendars; lets you publish schedules online so that others can see when you're free or busy (and vice versa); automatically synchronizes online calendars; nicely integrated with other Office XP apps.
The Bad Weak PIM lacks sophisticated searching tools or detailed project scheduling; strict antivirus security feature blocks you from receiving common attachment types; can't run on Windows 95.
The Bottom Line Outlook 2002 is our e-mailer of choice, as long as you're getting the full Office suite. Don't run it alone, though, especially if you need a beefy PIM.
Microsoft Outlook 2002
Planning to use Outlook 2002 all by itself? Forget it. Although Office XP's e-mailer-cum-scheduler is a cornerstone of the suite--the one application you'll use every day, guaranteed--this app is no standalone superstar. There are cheaper e-mail clients (the clunky but free Eudora comes to mind) and better organizers, too (such as Lotus Organizer 6.0). But put the Microsoft e-mailer to work with the other apps in Office, and Outlook 2002 rocks. Sure, it doesn't boast a big list of enhancements over its predecessor, but if you're using Office XP, there's no excuse to use another e-mailer.Planning to use Outlook 2002 all by itself? Forget it. Although Office XP's e-mailer-cum-scheduler is a cornerstone of the suite--the one application you'll use every day, guaranteed--this app is no standalone superstar. There are cheaper e-mail clients (the clunky but free Eudora comes to mind) and better organizers, too (such as Lotus Organizer 6.0). But put the Microsoft e-mailer to work with the other apps in Office, and Outlook 2002 rocks. Sure, it doesn't boast a big list of enhancements over its predecessor, but if you're using Office XP, there's no excuse to use another e-mailer.
Outlook's setup is silky smooth. The client checks your system for existing e-mailers, then imports your Net connection info, folders, existing mail, and contacts from programs such as Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape Mail, or earlier editions of Outlook itself. (You can also import contact info from organizers such as ACT and Lotus Organizer.) Not everything makes it over--message filters in Eudora won't translate--but you'll get most of what you need. And if you're on an Exchange server, it's even easier to set up; just enter your server name and username, and you're off to the races.
Outlook 2002 handles e-mail like a pro, in large part because it integrates mail, contacts, and scheduling. For example, you can send messages from your calendar and search for e-mail related to a specific event. What's more, Outlook snakes out into every other Office XP application, so you can use the more flexible Word as your message-writing tool to check spelling and grammar and route documents you send to others for review from within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office XP apps.
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