10 Reasons to switch to Hotmail if you use Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is the most popular email software in the world with more than 150 million active users. Hotmail is the largest email service in the world with more than 350 million active users. Outlook and Hotmail are better together, and our teams work closely to deliver a great connected experience for free to our millions of users with the Outlook Hotmail Connector. We’re continuously improving the Connector based on the feedback we hear from you, our shared users.

We hear often from Outlook users that they “live” every day in the product, and that they like to be able to manage both their work and personal email accounts in one place. The Connector lets them do this easily. Our shared customers can use Hotmail as a free, personal cloud service for Outlook side by side with the Exchange-based or other email accounts they use for work.

So why is Hotmail best for Outlook users? Here are a few of the things we hear that our customers find most useful.

1. Flags

Both Outlook and Hotmail support flagging emails to help you remember to act on them. If you flag a message in Outlook, it shows up as flagged in Hotmail and vice versa. Many people use their inbox like a “tasks” list, so flagging an email for follow up is a great feature. In Hotmail, you can quickly see all of your flagged tasks by clicking the “Flagged” Quick View in the left side navigation. In Outlook, you can make a search folder for Flagged emails to create your own quick view. Simply go to the “Folder” tab, click “New Search Folder,” and select “Mail flagged for follow up.”

2. Instant actions

Both Hotmail and Outlook also let you to right-click on a message to take actions like “reply,” “move,” “forward,” “mark as read,” “delete,” and more. And Hotmail now supports instant actions right in the message list to let you do things like moving email to a folder, sweeping messages, deleting, junking, and categorizing. Outlook has a similar feature called the Quick Access toolbar. Just right click on the ribbon menu in your inbox to enable it. These quick actions work with your Hotmail and your Outlook accounts.

3. Offline access

WiFi and 3G connections are nearly ubiquitous today, but there are still times when no connection is available. When you travel, for instance, you may still want to be able to access your mail, calendar, and contacts even if there’s no connection available. You can simply sync your Hotmail data before you board, and the updated information will be available in Outlook.

4. A shared family calendar together with all your calendars

Hotmail and Outlook both support multiple calendars. You can access and manage all your Hotmail calendars in Outlook, including any public calendars (like the ones available at iCalShare.com) and your shared calendars. We hear from our users that shared calendars are most often used for family scheduling. With the Connector, you can see all your calendars, including those shared family calendars, side by side or overlaid with your other Outlook calendars, like those that you use for work.

Work calendar side-by-side in Outlook with shared family calendar from Hotmail

Work calendar overlaid in Outlook with shared family calendar from Hotmail

5. Drag and drop email, appointments, and contacts

We make sure to keep your Hotmail and Exchange-based data separate in Outlook, but you can easily drag and drop content between them. For example, we know that most of our users receive personal email in their work accounts sometimes. With the Connector, you can just drag those messages into your Hotmail inbox. You can do the same with personal contacts, dragging them from Hotmail into Exchange to make sure you have a backup. You can also drag an email into your Hotmail calendar in order to maintain all the email information in the description field. You can even drag and drop events from one calendar to another. Let’s say you have to take a trip for work. You can drag your travel itinerary from your Exchange calendar into, say, a Hotmail shared family calendar. This copies the event so your significant other can see it anywhere he or she accesses Hotmail calendar. And with the new Hotmail calendar change notification feature, unique to Hotmail, anyone sharing a calendar automatically gets an email whenever you add or edit something on that shared calendar.

6. Rules work with Hotmail accounts in Outlook 2010

We know that many Outlook customers use email rules to automatically highlight, categorize, or file messages. With the Connector, you can also run Outlook rules on your Hotmail messages. For instance, you can have a rule set up in Outlook to automatically highlight any email that is sent only to you. When a message addressed just to you arrives, even if it’s sent to your Hotmail account, Outlook highlights it for you. That way, you know you likely need to act on that message more quickly than to a message that has been sent to lots of people at once. Rules are incredibly powerful and are nearly infinite in the ways you can combine them to manage your mail in ways that work just for you. The rules you’ve set up in Outlook will run on your Hotmail inbox when Outlook is running, but you can also set up rules in Hotmail itself. Give ‘em a try. In Hotmail, just go to Options, under your name in the header, and select “Rules for sorting messages.” In Outlook, select the Rules folder on the Home tab.

7. Keeping accounts separate

We hear often from our users that most like to keep their work and personal email separate. Using the Connector, you can start an email in Outlook and send it from any of your accounts. If you select your Hotmail account, the mail is sent via the Hotmail servers. If you select your work or other account, it’s sent through Exchange or the appropriate server. Simply select the “From” button in Outlook and you can select the account from which to send.

8. Easy management of folders and subfolders

Some people are mail “pilers,” some are “filers,” and some are “deleters.” Last year, we shared information about the breakdown of these types of users we see in Hotmail. More than 25% of Hotmail inboxes are managed by “filers.” Both Outlook and Hotmail support folders and subfolders for you filers out there, so you can stay organized and keep your inbox streamlined. Outlook syncs all of your Hotmail folders, and you can even create new Hotmail folders and subfolders from within Outlook. You can drag and drop emails into them, and the folders will automatically sync to any location where you access Hotmail, whether it’s the web, your smart phone, Outlook on your home computer, or anywhere else. You can even drag email from other accounts, like an Exchange account for work, into Hotmail and vice versa.

9. Junk lists synchronization between Outlook and Hotmail in Outlook 2010

We are continuously making improvements to reduce junk mail and keep you safe. Outlook 2010 and Hotmail keep your Safe Senders, Blocked Senders, and Safe Recipient lists synchronized to ensure that the good mail gets through and the bad mail doesn’t. In Hotmail, you can right-click a message and select “Junk,” select messages and click “Junk” in the header navigation, or select “Junk” from the reply menu.

In Outlook, you can click “Junk” in the header or right click a message to Junk the mail and block the sender.

10. What’s your favorite feature?

For those of you using the Outlook Connector, we’d like to hear your favorite features. Share your tips and tricks, and suggestions for feature improvements! If you’re not using the Connector yet, read on…

Try the Hotmail Outlook Connector today

If you haven’t already given it a try, using all of these features is a snap. Just download the Hotmail Outlook Connector and follow the quick installation steps. The Connector will walk you through the process. You need to be a Hotmail user already, so if you’re not, go to Hotmail.com to sign up. And if you’re not an Outlook user, you can buy it or try it here.

Hotmail and Outlook are made for each other, and we’re continuously improving both. If you’re an Outlook user, you should be using Hotmail, too. Switching to Hotmail is easy. You can learn more about how to switch here.

Dick Craddock
Group Program Manager, Hotmail

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