Microsoft details Outlook 2013 message list improvements

Users of the preview version of Office 2013 can already check out some of the new features in the Outlook 2013 email client. That includes some new improvements that have been made to the client's messaging system.

In a new blog post, Microsoft goes over the changes it has made to the Outlook 2013 message list. One of the changes is to make names in the email addresses stand out more. The blog states:

Our search data indicates that looking for a sender is one of the most important ways people find mail. So whether you choose the classic Date view, or the trendy Conversations view, you'll see names shown in a larger font on the top line of each message. This makes it easier to scan and find "that message from Jenny."

The message list, while not showing as many emails at one time, has been changed to allow for more spacing between emails. Microsoft claims this change makes reading the list faster for users. Unread emails also stand out more on the list. Those messages use the new blue color that's now a part of Outlook 2013.

There's also a new one-line preview for each email in the message list. Microsoft says, "The few words that a preview can provide makes a huge difference in being able to locate the right message, and scan your new emails to make sure you feel up-to-date on what's going on."

Source: Outlook blog | Image via Microsoft

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16 Comments

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When I first started using the Outlook 2013 preview, it was so different that it was almost jarring. I was highly skeptical that I'd like it, but figured I'd use it at least one week before making up my mind.

Fast forward 1.5 months, and I really like the interface. So much, that I almost dislike the old Outlook 2010 interface. If you have an open mind, it definitely grows on you. They did actually make many usability improvements that I'm appreciating more and more.

The only major issue I have with Outlook 2013 is they made a decision not to show you anymore than today's calendar appointments if you add your calendar to the To-Do bar on the right of the screen. I used that all the time in Outlook 2010 to know which meetings I had coming up next, be it tomorrow or next week. It's a disappointment that they changed it, but it's not a deal breaker. At least not for me.

I personally have stopped using Outlook, Outlook.com is enough for my needs. If you are working with Exchange too, Outlook Web Access is even a better way. Outlook 2013 just ties you to the desktop which is not ideal in these modern times.

Mr. Dee said,
I personally have stopped using Outlook, Outlook.com is enough for my needs. If you are working with Exchange too, Outlook Web Access is even a better way. Outlook 2013 just ties you to the desktop which is not ideal in these modern times.

Except that not every company enables OWA. Ours doesn't because our CIO is concerned about security through it. Instead we use Citrix to access Outlook 2010.

I'll tell you what I'd like - more prominence for the e-mail address. Some people have multiple e-mail addresses (like work and home) and the name doesn't necessarily tell me where it came from. If I could easily glance at the e-mail address, I'd know where to send my reply depending on time of day, importance, etc,.

Been using Office 2013 for quite some time now, it seems pretty solid. My biggest issue: why has the to-do bar (or whatever it was called, the panel on the right with the calendar and upcoming appointments) changed to only show todays appointments rather than a limited list of ALL the upcoming ones? It was extremely handy, rather than having to hover over the calendar icon/text bottom left and only see *today's* appointments

I don't particularly like the one-line message preview. Struck me as very Outlook-2000ish, and reduced the amount of messages in the list too much. That said, it was easy to turn off and I rather like Outlook 2013 quite a bit. Being able to scroll through five calendars at a reasonable framerate is a much appreciated improvement. :-)

I love office 2013 and it's very freaking awesome, but I have an issue with the scrollbar in the message list sometimes being stuck 1/3rd the way and I have to use the arrows to click to un stuck it... really wierd....

also hows come the message list doesn't have the smooth scrolling the other parts do? that's wierd...

oh and color changes... very much agree on it... I wish I could make it a dark color or something...

remixedcat said,
I love office 2013 and it's very freaking awesome, but I have an issue with the scrollbar in the message list sometimes being stuck 1/3rd the way and I have to use the arrows to click to un stuck it... really wierd....

Keep in mind, this is still in Beta. Hopefully such glitches will get worked out before it's released.

devHead said,

Keep in mind, this is still in Beta. Hopefully such glitches will get worked out before it's released.

I know... and that's the only bug I've found so far....

When I initially installed the Office Preview, I didn't like how it displayed messages, but I've made some changes to it, and it works well. Basically, I've brought back the things which I liked in Outlook 2010. If you fiddle around with the View settings, you'll see how to do it.
One new thing I do like is being able to delete messages when you hover over it in the Message view.

"The message list, while not showing as many emails at one time, has been changed to allow for more spacing between emails"

No please don'ttttt.... or at least make it optional. I like them densed

Totally agree. But sure they will have lot of interface designs (i hope)

:: Lyon :: said,
"The message list, while not showing as many emails at one time, has been changed to allow for more spacing between emails"

No please don'ttttt.... or at least make it optional. I like them densed

i'm not convinced it does make it easier to read... i found outlook 2013 so difficult to read in fact that i went back to 2010. I think there needs to be much more contrast between various aspects of the application.

BGM said,
i'm not convinced it does make it easier to read... i found outlook 2013 so difficult to read in fact that i went back to 2010. I think there needs to be much more contrast between various aspects of the application.

I agree completely. It is hard to read this application. They flattened it, cool, but it is still not easy on the eyes. I wish I could provide some feedback here, but I doubt they will listen. I suspect they will not / cannot change this.