It’s now been five weeks since I became an Outlook user. After nineteen years of using Notes I slipped into it pretty well… yes, there’s a few Notes features I miss, but there’s a big heap of Outlook features that Notes doesn’t have. I’m not really interested in starting a big feature comparison, but feeling the need to blog about something, I thought I’d feature mail tips to start off the Microsoft product blogging.

So what are mail tips? Well, they give you some information about the e-mail you’re about to send.

Have you ever typed out an e-mail, sent it, and then by way of an out-of-office reply discovered that the recipient is away for two weeks? Yep, me too. Mail tip #1 discovers the recipient’s out-of-office status from the Exchange server and shows it to the user, thus informing the user that the recipient is away before they continue to type the e-mail.

Ever accidentally sent an e-mail to a large group? Or maybe you’ve received an e-mail which someone has ‘replied-to-all’ (and thought “what an idiot”). Mail tip #2 informs you that the e-mail is addressed to a large number of people, meaning you (or those other daft users) can be warned in advance about the reply-to-all about to be sent to a vast and probably uninterested audience.

Finally, Outlook and Notes provide e-mail conversation threads, but here’s a really dynamic feature of Outlook. If you reply to an e-mail in a thread, mail tip #3 will warn you if it’s not the most current in the thread. I say this is dynamic because the mail tip will appear even if a new e-mail arrives and joins the thread after you’ve started to compose the reply (thus causing the one you’re replying to to not be the most recent).