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How to use Outlook 2013

By:Christine Fettinger

Getting Started with Outlook 2013

Currently Office 2013 is in a “preview” release stage, (also referred to as a beta).If you’d like to try it for yourself, click this link. The product will soon be available for general release via three primary purchase paths: Office 365 (offered as a monthly cost via the cloud), OEM (purchased already installed on a PC or laptop), or your standard “in the box” purchase.

When you open Outlook 2013 for the first time, the most striking impression will be the new monochromatic look of it. As you can see in the image below, the buttons and structure looks much “flatter” and has less defined lines than previous versions.

Outlook 2013 New Look

A large motivator behind the new design was to free of screen space for whatever users are actively reading or working on. As well as reducing processing requirements.

One change you’ll want to immediately notice is the shifting of the modes to a menu at the bottom of the screen from a menu that used to fall on the side bar.

Outlook 2013 New Menu

Most importantly, you’ll want to start using Outlook with your email account. The good news is that if you already have an Outlook 2010 or 2007 account setup, the information gets pulled from the same place. So you shouldn’t need to make any changes, just open the new Outlook.

If this is not true in your circumstances, you’ll want to add an account. This process is similar to how it worked in 2010. In the top left corner hit file, and you’ll see a screen appear that is indicative one of the major feature changes of Office 2013.

All the Office 2013 products now feature a “backstage view”. Rather than “file” be a dropdown menu, it now is it’s own screen. At first this can be a bit jarring, but if you take a moment, you’ll notice everything is still there, just bigger icons and a different look.

Outlook 2013 New Back Stage

In this screen, you’ll see a button that says “+Add an account” (see image). Click that button and proceed to add an account using the same methodology as that which existed in Office 2010 (
here is a link to a guide).

New Features

Now we’ll walk through some of the major new features of Outlook 2013.


Grab a quick look at your schedule or next appointment without having to change screens. This may seem a bit silly as you could just change screens, but remember, if you change to
full calendar view it needs to load everything. For people with lots of calendars and busy ones at that, this can take a second to load. Perhaps a softer benefit that I value is that I don’t interrupt my train of thought by opening a new screen which may have other tasks or reminders I’m juggling on it.

Attachment Reminder:

When sending an email that previously should had or appears to need an attachment, if there is no attachment on the email, the system sends an automated notification before to offer the user a chance to fix the issue. This feature can be turned off by selecting Don’t show this message again.

Exchange ActiveSync (EAS):

The feature is included in Outlook 2013, for more information click here.

People Hub:

A new default view for contacts is provided in outlook 2013. This view includes contacts in users’ outlook profiles and can include contacts from social networks if desired by the user.

Performance Improvements:

Faster boot times, faster exits. Overall Outlook 2013 performs more smoothly than Outlook 2010.

.OST Compression:

the .ost file (outlook data file) is automatically compressed to be 40% smaller than previous versions of outlook. Allowing easier backups of the file to the cloud as less bandwidth is chewed up with the trasfer.

Improvements in Cashed Exchange Modes:

A new feature called Sync Slider allows users to limit the number of email messages that sychronize locally. This can also be centrally managed by IT Admins.

A new mode called Exchange Fast Access combines the instant access of Online Mode with various offline mode capabilities in an attempt to offer a “middle way” to users who see advantages in both of the prior modes.

Weather Bar:

Another reminder of how sunny it is while you sit in a cubical. I turned this feature off… but some may like it. The weather shows up in your calendar and can show different locations, celsius or fahrenheit, etc.

Info about the new realease of Office 2013 via Office 365 for Home and Businesses.