Features for Outlook 2003

Introduction to New Features for Outlook 2003

Each generation of Outlook brings new improvements.  Ever since Microsoft Office 98, I thought that Outlook could not get any better, but I was wrong, Outlook 2003 has great new features.  I now wonder how I ever managed without Junk Mail filtering or Cached Exchange Mode.

From a migration point of view, get help from the Office 2003 Resource Kit.

Topics for New Features for Outlook 2003


MicrosoftOffice 2003 Resource Kit Tools

If you are upgrading or migrating to Outlook 2003, seek help from the Microsoft Office 2003 Resource kit.  This comprehensive development kit will save you time rolling out the Outlook 2003 client.

  • Migrate Profiles – create PRF files.
  • Support Roaming Users.
  • Connect with Terminal Services.
  • Get a copy of the ODK and run the Custom Installation Wizard.
  • The Office 2003 Resource Kit is free, the only reason that I do not give the URL here is that Microsoft keep changing it!

Cached Exchange Mode

The idea behind Cached Exchange Mode is enable users to keep working in Outlook even if the Exchange server is unavailable.  Without local caching, users get annoying error messages, or worse their machines hang while Outlook times-out because it fails to connect to the server.

Initially Outlook 2003 downloads a full copy of a user’s mailbox and offline address book from the Exchange 2003 mailstore.  The user then has a seamless experience of creating emails and other Outlook 2003 tasks.  This not only improves the Outlook experience for roaming users, but also means that there is no need to create offline profiles in Outlook or XP.

Even for Outlook 2003 clients on a regular corporate network, there are performance improvements when using Cached Exchange Mode; this is because for any given task, Outlook 2003 first looks to the local cache rather than the server.

Amazingly, Cached Exchange Mode works from Outlook 2003 to Exchange Server 5.5.  Naturally, as ever, Exchange 2003 is the best partner.  In this combination you get compression of email transfer between Outlook 2003 and Exchange Server 2003.  The result is faster delivery of email.  To the best of my knowledge, Cached Exchange Mode is not available in any edition but Outlook 2003.

Configuring Cached Mode at Outlook 2003Use Local Copy of Mailbox  Outlook 2003 Cached Mode For Exchange

As with many Outlook 2003 configuration tasks, textbooks request you to start at the Mail icon in the control panel.  Personally, I always try right-clicking the Outlook Icon and see if I can get the settings that way.

What you are looking for is the E-Mail Accounts page, half way down is a check box which says: Use Local Copy of Mailbox.  (Underneath User Name)

It is possible to adjust the synchronization timings by editing the upload settings in the registry, see more on Exchange Cache Timing here

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Outlook Calendar

As with previous versions, the Outlook 2003 Calendar is fully integrated with email, contacts, and other features.  You can easily organize meetings by selecting a time on your Calendar, create an appointment, and select people to invite. Outlook will find the earliest time at which all the people are free.

You can create calendars showing schedules of a group simultaneously. You can view multiple calendars that you have created as well as those shared by other Outlook users side-by-side. For example, if you have created a separate calendar for your personal appointments, you can view both your work and personal calendars side-by-side.

If you have access SharePoint Services sites then you also view the events lists from that site in your Outlook Calendar. These items will be kept up-to-date and can be viewed side-by-side with other personal or shared calendars.

Manage another user’s calendar

With the delegate access feature, one person can use his or her own copy of Outlook to easily manage another person’s Calendar. For example, an administrative assistant can manage the Calendar of a manager. When the manager designates the assistant as a delegate, the assistant can create, move, or delete appointments and can organize meetings on the manager’s behalf.

Outlook Clients for Exchange 2003

While Outlook 2003 is the best client for Exchange 2003, there are other clients that can connect to Exchange and collect email.  In my opinion the only use of Outlook Express is for Newsgroups.

  • Outlook 2003 (best)
  • Outlook 2002 XP
  • Outlook 2000
  • Outlook 98
  • Outlook 97
  • Outlook Express 6.0
  • Outlook Express 5.5

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The acronym RPC means remote procedure call.  What this means is Outlook 2003 can remotely connect to Exchange and open its mailbox on the server.  What’s new in Exchange and Outlook 2003 is the ability to encapsulate these RPC commands in HTTP.

The advantage to the server of RPC over HTTP is that you only have to open up port 80 or 443 on the outer firewall.  With earlier versions of Outlook and Exchange you would also need to open port 135 and possibly port 53.  What makes RPC over HTTP even more secure, is that by default, Outlook 2003 clients connect to the server using SSL.  In that instance, they type https. not plain http.

Configuring RPC over HTTP in Outlook 2003

The configuration you need for RPC over HTTP is very near the Configure Cached Mode.  Start at the Mail icon in the control panel.  Navigate to the E-Mail Accounts page, near the bottom is a button which says ‘More Settings’. (Just visible in the above diagram.)

Click Exchange Proxy Settings.  Next go to the Exchange Proxy Settings page (underneath the Connections Settings).  Type the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the RPC proxy server in the Use this URL to connect to my proxy server for Exchange box.  Select the Connect using SSL only check box.  Finally, select the mutually authenticate the session when connecting with SSL, and enter the FQDN of the RPC proxy server in the Principle name for proxy server box.   You should use this format: msstd:FQDN of your RPC Proxy Server.

Junk Mail Filter

Junk Mail Filter is full of features for you to block spam while allowing through email that you want to read.

Advanced anti-spam filters

This advanced feature has an engine which checks keywords and patterns in each mail and then produce a score.  You then set the filter based on that score.  Microsoft surveyed 1,000s of people and analyzed what constituted spam.  For example, email delivered at night, words like ,’send money to bank’.   It’s up to you to adjust Outlook 2003’s Junk Mail filter choosing a low, high, or exclusive setting.

Safe and Block List
Decide if you only want to receive email from people already in your address book, or from specific addresses.

Safe Senders List
In many ways this is the opposite from a block list.  Some call the safe senders list a whitelist.  Here are the good Guys, the people you want to hear from no matter what the score on your junk filter.  Another variation of the Safe Senders, is a group or Safe Recipients List.

Configuring the Junk E-Mail Filters in Outlook 2003

In Outlook 2003, the Junk E-Mail Filter is turned on by default. The first time Outlook 2003 moves a message to the Junk E-mail folder, it will notify you with a dialog box.

To change junk e-mail settings in Outlook 2003:

1. On the Tools menu, select Options.
2. In the Options dialog box, in the E-mail section, click Junk E-mail.
3. Choose the level of junk e-mail message protection you want. Click OK.

To add a sender to your Safe Senders List, Safe Recipients Lists, or Blocked Senders List:

1. Right-click on a message from the sender.
2. Point to Junk E-mail, and click either Add Sender to Safe Senders List, Add Sender to Blocked Senders List, or Add Recipient to Safe Recipients Lists.

Note: If you haven’t got Outlook 2003, then the, junk email filtering must be configured on the Exchange 2003 Server.

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  1. Bulk-import new users and mailboxes into Active Directory.
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Outlook 2003 is the best client for Exchange 2003.  Indeed, when you match version you always seem to get that bit more out of the client, for example Outlook 2003 works that much better with Exchange 2003 than Outlook 2002 XP with Exchange 2003.  Each successive version of Outlook brings new features for the user and clever connections to the Exchange 2003 server.

See Also

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