Outlook 2007: 10 top tips

From speeding up attachment previews to integrating social network updates, these tips will help you get the most out of Outlook 2007.

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Manage RSS feeds inside Outlook 2007

Those who follow blogs and other RSS feeds should make use of one of Outlook 2007's best features, its built-in RSS reader. When you use the reader, each feed has its own separate folder; Outlook automatically polls each feed and posts updates to the appropriate folder. You can then browse through the folders, the same way you browse through mail. All RSS feeds will be under the RSS Feeds folder.

Viewing an RSS feed in Outlook

Viewing an RSS feed in Outlook.

If you want to use Outlook 2007 for reading blogs, it's best if you configure it to be your default RSS reader. To do that in Windows 7 or Vista, from Outlook 2007's main menu, select Tools --> Options, click the Other tab, and then click the Default programs button. From the screen that appears, check the boxes next to the OUTLOOKFEEDS items (there may be more than one), click Save, and then click OK.

If you're using Windows XP, you'll have to set the default another way (which also works with Windows 7 and Vista): In your Web browser, go to the blog that you want to subscribe to and click the RSS icon. You'll be asked whether to use Outlook to subscribe to the feed. Check the box next to "Always use Microsoft Office Outlook to subscribe to feeds."

From now on, when you click the icon for an RSS feed on the Web, you'll see an Outlook message asking if you want to subscribe to the feed. Click Yes to subscribe or No to not subscribe, or you can customize aspects of how you read each feed by clicking the Advanced button.

On the screen that appears, you can change the display name of the feed or change the .pst file to which the feed will be delivered. You can also determine whether the feed should automatically download enclosures (multimedia content, such as for podcasts) and whether to download the entire post as an HTML file.

Customizing an RSS feed in Outlook 2007
Customizing an RSS feed in Outlook 2007.

You can also subscribe to an RSS feed from straight within Outlook 2007 as long as you know the URL of the feed. To do it, select Tools --> Account Settings, then click the RSS Feeds tab. Click New, and type or paste the URL of the feed into the New RSS Feed dialog box that appears. Then click Add, and click OK.

Integrate Google Reader feeds into Outlook

Google Reader is an excellent Web-based RSS reader, and if you already use it, you may have quite a few RSS subscriptions there. What if you'd also like to get access to those RSS feeds -- and other Google Reader features -- from within Outlook? Here's how to do it:

1. Right-click the RSS feeds folder in Outlook and select Properties.

2. Click the Home Page tab.

3. In the Address box, type:


Check the box next to "Show home page by default for this folder." Then click OK.

From now on, when you click the RSS Feeds folder within Outlook, Google Reader appears in your Reading Pane and you can use it there in the same way as if you were using it on the Web. You will most likely have to log into Google Reader the first time you use it within Outlook. Your existing RSS feeds within Outlook won't vanish -- they'll be in their folders underneath the RSS Feed folder, just like before.

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