With Outlook.com launching this week and Hotmail users beginning their transition to the new web experience, this is a great time to collect the tips I wrote last year into a single, easy-to-access location. If you’re just starting with Outlook.com, these tips will help you make sense of the new experience.
More tips? It’s been a while since I’ve looked at this series of tips. Do you have any more tips you’d like to see, or tips you can provide? Is Outlook.com a good topic for a future mini-book? Let me know!
Master the Outlook.com web experience
Here’s another way for former Gmail users to more easily make the transition to Outlook.com: Enable Gmail-style keyboard shortcuts.
Continuing the theme of helping Gmail users make the transition to Outlook.com, this tip explains how you can create and manage email categories, which are similar to Gmail’s labels feature.
In August, I wrote about a way you could emulate Gmail’s popular Archive functionality in Outlook.com by creating an Instant Action. But now Outlook.com natively supports an Archive feature of its own. And it’s even better than my original tip.
While users of other email services need to access third party services to send huge files over the Internet, Outlook.com offers a better, more seamless experience: Attachments that exceed the service’s 10 MB attachment limit can simply be transmitted via SkyDrive instead. Put simply, Outlook.com users never need to worry about these limits.
Migrate to Outlook.com from another email service
If you’re moving to Outlook.com from Gmail, Hotmail, or any other email service, you may want to copy or move all of your old email into the new account. There are probably a number of ways to do this, including at least one that is automated.
As part of a migration from Gmail or other legacy email services, you’ll want to connect to or manually import your current contacts list so you can access those contacts directly from Outlook.com. Fortunately, Microsoft’s new webmail solution has a nice tool in its People interface for exactly this purpose.
Using the Alias feature, you can continue using your long-lived Hotmail account but benefit somewhat from a new Outlook.com email address too, assuming you plan to exclusively use the Outlook.com web interface.
Following up on yesterday’s email aliases topic, here’s some information about how you can rename a Hotmail account using an alias, turning that alias into a full Outlook.com account. You can also use that alias address for a new Outlook.com account, but you’ll have to wait 30 days.
Whether you’re coming to Outlook.com from Gmail, Hotmail, or some other email account, chances are you’d like to centralize all of your email activities through this superior new service. Using my previous examination of email account consolidation as a guide, let’s see how you can send and receive email from other accounts using Outlook.com.
When I started writing a series of Outlook.com tips last summer, Microsoft didn’t provide an elegant way to use Outlook.com to send email from other accounts, somewhat mitigating its appeal. But this week, Microsoft added that capability, called Send Email, and you can now safely aggregate all of your other email accounts through Outlook.com if you’d like.
Working with accounts
While the default Outlook.com experience is probably fine for most, you can actually remove the sidebar advertisements in Mail by signing up for Hotmail Plus. This paid service still works with Outlook.com, and while it’s a bit steep at $19.95 a year, it also helps the new Microsoft webmail service achieve a more professional, app-like look and feel.
If you’ve fallen in love with the efficient new Outlook.com webmail service and would like to take this relationship to the next level, you can rename your crusty old Hotmail account with a shiny and new Outlook.com address. Just be sure you understand the pros and cons of doing so first.
Note: Microsoft has temporarily removed the ability to rename accounts. I expect this to return soon.
Use Outlook.com with mobile devices
While much of the discussion about Outlook.com will focus on the web experience, most users will also want to configure their favorite mobile email clients for Microsoft’s new webmail service. Today, I’ll focus on how you can configure Microsoft’s latest mobile platforms—Windows 8 and Windows Phone—to use Outlook.com, so you can access your email, contacts, and calendar information on the go.
Here’s how you can configure your new Outlook.com account to work with an iPhone, iPad, or Android-based smart phone or tablet.
Note: The Hotmail app for Android has since been replaced by an Outlook.com app, which works nearly identically.