One the benefits of working for a company with a volume license agreement with Microsoft is Microsoft’s Home Use Program. My current employer is a rather large Microsoft 365 customer, and Microsoft offers a generous package – $69.99/year for up to 5 users with Microsoft 365 apps and 6 TB of OneDrive cloud storage. It’s the family package for the price of a single user.
Looking at the offering from Microsoft, I noticed that outlook.com now supports all of the functionality of Outlook, including Notes, Tasks and calendaring. I’ve hosted my email on Gmail for some time and missed the productivity features of Outlook that, until recently, required an Exchange server.
I’m a big fan of Getting Things Done, and the creators of the system wrote a guide to tailor Outlook to GTD workflow. The tasks folder is well suited for getting things out of your head and filing them in a system sorted by context – you want all of your work tasks in one place, personal professional in another and any other “buckets” you can think of – Outlook support that.
I like being able to sync data between multiple systems without issues; Outlook synchronizes well with Nine, a non-free Android email client that supports Notes, Calendars, Tasks, and other Outlook data. Surprisingly, Microsoft’s Android Outlook client is missing notes and tasks.
Having a “real” email client instead of a web browser is a refreshing change. The toolbar UI is handy, the search feature of Outlook is a time-saver for obscure commands and options, and editing is easier.
Outlook.com is a full-featured email client now, and I can use Microsoft’s web apps along with outlook on the web on my Linux laptop with Chrome or Firefox. They’ve come a long way from Outlook Web Access and Internet Explorer in the early 2000s.
I’ve used Outlook for almost as long as I’ve supported email systems in my career, so I know the features and limitations well. We’ll see how this experiment goes.