OK, perhaps “love” is too strong a word here – I mean, get a grip, it’s only software, not something to actually fall in love with. Now if it were soccer…

But I digress (actually, I do that quite frequently – it’s a problem. See, there – I just did it again).

Back on topic – having upgraded to Office 2010 a while back, as a typical user I’ve been slow to learn what’s new, other than the very obvious, in-your-face changes. But this upgrade – Outlook specifically – is worth spending some time on, learning about new features and capabilities, because like many of you, I spend a significant chunk of time each day face to face with Outlook. So anything new that saves time or improves my experience in any meaningful way is like striking gold. Well, perhaps silver, but still good.

Thing 1: Quick steps

No, I’m not inviting you to dance. Quick steps are available from the ribbon (new to Outlook, but introduced in Office 2007 for Word, Excel, etc.) and can perform multiple actions with a single click. For example, several times a day I receive emails that I handle this way: I create  a task from the email (using drag and drop), I reply to the email, and I move the email from my Inbox to another folder. I have now created a Quick Step that does all three of these with a single click. This (together with other Quick Steps) is saving me so much time that I can now write blog articles like this one.

Thing 2: People Pane

Not the same thing as people pain, this new email message feature appears both in the reading pane and when you open an email. At the bottom, you have a collapsible additional pane with a number of resources relating to the person who sent the email. These include all emails exchanged, attachments sent and received, and meetings. You can also connect Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to this pane.

This one also saves me a lot of time, whoch (jesting aside) get reinvested in the wholesale distribution software business instead of the “search for emails and attachments” business.

So there you are: 2 things about Outlook 2010 which I like, and would love if Outlook was, in fact, soccer.