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Why I'm quitting Microsoft Office forever

So yesterday I decided to write a guide to getting started with Microsoft OneNote, which is now available free for Mac and all versions of Windows. First step, of course: download and install the OneNote client. Nothing complicated about that, right?

Wrong. The installer quit midway with a cryptic error message. Weird. Tried again: same result. Sigh. Well, no time to mess with this now, I'll come back to it later. Let me just check my email real quick and...whoa! Where's Outlook?

The icon was gone from the Windows taskbar. I clicked into the Start menu and...… Read more

Skype rolls out to Outlook.com users worldwide

Users of Outlook.com around the world can now tap into Skype without having to leave their inbox.

Skype integration with Outlook.com is now available worldwide, according to a blog posted Tuesday by Skype marketing executive Karen Tong. The expanded rollout follows a limited release for users in the US, UK, Germany, and other countries last year.

To enable Skype integration with your Outlook.com account, first download and install the necessary plugin. After the installation completes, you're prompted to open your Outlook.com account.

In Outlook.com, click the Messaging icon on the upper right corner. If … Read more

Add a "+" to your Outlook.com address for instant aliases

E-mail aliases can be used to protect your primary account, making it harder for spammers and other people to send you e-mails you don't want. Outlook.com comes with support for up to 10 aliases, which you can change yearly. If you've reached the maximum number of aliases or need to provide one in a hurry, you can also use "+" addressing.

Just like in Gmail, which has had "+" addressing for years, all you have to do is add a "+" at the end of your regular user name, then a word of your … Read more

Get e-mail manager eM Client 6 (Win) for free

As regular readers know, I'm a big fan of ditching Microsoft's pricey Office suite in favor of cheap -- or, better, free -- alternatives. My top pick at the moment remains Kingsoft Office 2013.

Of course, when you switch to Kingsoft, OpenOffice, or another suite, you're giving up one of Microsoft Office's most valuable assets: Outlook. Without it, how are you supposed to manage your contacts, calendars, and, most importantly, e-mail? (Snark answer: In the cloud, of course.)

Alas, freebie mail clients are few and far between. Perennials Thunderbird and Windows Live Mail have their merits, … Read more

Microsoft updates Outlook's organizing tools

Celebrating what it says is "National Clean Out Your Inbox Week," Microsoft has added a few updates to Outlook's e-mail de-cluttering and organizing tools. Besides enhancing its Sweep to delete feature, the e-mail service has also upgraded ways to categorize and search for messages, along with other improvements.

Microsoft notes that average Outlook users get more than 10,000 personal e-mails a year and 80 percent of these are commercial e-mail, like newsletters, promotions, or updates. So, the company has aimed to make tools that let users more easily access the 20 percent of personal e-mails.

One … Read more

How to switch to Outlook.com using the new Gmail import tool

Switching e-mail providers isn't always an easy affair, especially if you want to hold onto your old e-mail messages. And if you want to switch from Gmail, Google's use of labels instead of folders can throw another wrench into importing your messages.

In the past, moving your Gmail to Outlook.com required some manual steps and you'd lose your Gmail labels in the end. Now, Outlook.com has an import tool that walks you through importing your Gmail messages, and it even converts your Gmail labels to folders.

To use Outlook.com's Gmail import tool, click … Read more

Microsoft spruces up Outlook.com Android app

Microsoft has enhanced its Outlook.com app for Android users.

Rolled out Thursday, the new version lets you search for all e-mail, including items still in the cloud and not yet synced to your device. You can also sync all of your e-mails to access them offline.

You can now send e-mails from the app using any of your Outlook.com aliases and set an automated vacation reply for when you're away.

Microsoft has added 8 new color themes, so you now have 11 colors in total should you wish to give the interface a fresh paint job. Finally, … Read more

How to set up Outlook.com IMAP in Windows

Outlook.com is a pretty good Web mail service, but ever since it debuted earlier this year, users have been clamoring for one feature: IMAP.

That's because, unlike the POP protocol, IMAP syncs with third-party mail clients. Translation: When you access your Outlook.com inbox on, say, your desktop e-mail client, any messages you read, send, reply to, or delete get synced back to your account. It's a much more practical way to deal with e-mail.

To get things set up in Windows, you'll need to add your Outlook.com account to your preferred mail client. I'… Read more

How to set up Mac Mail to use IMAP for Outlook.com

Microsoft finally added IMAP support to its free Web e-mail service, Outlook.com. Using IMAP is preferable to POP, because it offers a way to keep your e-mail synchronized when using third-party clients.

You can use Outlook.com with Apple's Mail app on OS X, but its new account wizard is preconfigured to use POP whenever you enter "outlook.com" as your e-mail address. Here's how to set up Mail to use IMAP for Outlook.com instead of POP, so you can take advantage of the new IMAP support.

Step 1: If you're using two-step … Read more

Outlook opens door to new apps, devices with IMAP support

Microsoft has just added one of the most, if not the most, requested features to Outlook.com: IMAP support.

Microsoft officials used an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit to announce the IMAP -- and OAuth -- additions to Outlook.com.

In a post to the Outlook blog on Thursday, Microsoft execs provided more as to why they added IMAP alongside Microsoft's own Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol support. For those devices that still haven't (and may never) support EAS, there's now IMAP.

From that post:

Outlook.com already supports the industry's best email connectivity with … Read more