One of the really useful email productivity enhancements in Microsoft Outlook 2010 is the Social Connector and the People Pane functionality that is built into the software. In a generous move, Microsoft has made this functionality available free to Outlook 2003 and 2007 users via a simple download. Something for nothing from Microsoft! Great, but why bother? Well, this free Microsoft Outlook download (not a third party add-in) does 2 main things for you:
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- It provides an Xobni type one-click access to emails, attachments and all other Outlook events related to the current contact or open email, no matter where you filed the earlier mails, without going outside Outlook – so you don’t have to be a ‘Social Media Junkie’ to benefit from it.
- It can also form the base to allow Outlook to connect directly with external Social Media platforms like Linkedin.
You will find official Microsoft Download information here: Microsoft Outlook Social Connector for Outlook 2003 and 2007
If you are using Windows XP or Vista, you also have to download Windows Search 4 (it is built into Windows7). I don’t know for sure but I suspect that some of the technology behind this Search functionality originates from Microsoft’s purchase of Lookoutsoft
Windows Search 4.0 for Windows XP
Windows Search 4.0 for Windows Vista SP1
I am only using the People Pane functionality and have not yet added the Linkedin/Outlook Social Connector to my system as I already have this functionality elsewhere.
- Once installed, the People Pane is easy to use. It may take a while to index. Your Outlook profile should open up with the People Pane active. You will find the People Pane at the bottom of every Outlook form. By default it is minimised. Simply click on the arrow on the bottom right of the form to expand it.
- If the People Pane is not active simply click on View in your top toolbar and click ‘People Pane’ and select ‘Minimised.
- You will now see all Outlook collateral connected with this form and you can filter what you want to see by hitting the appropriate tab on the left navigation bar of the form.
- You can access the appropriate email, or other Outlook form – even email attachments – with one click on the item name in the People Pane.
- Finally, to hide the Outlook Social Connector from all Outlook views, do the following: On the View menu, click People Pane, and then click Off.
I’m finding it very useful because it means I no longer have to go to my email folders to find historical, associated emails. Simples!
Imagine being able to use email tips like these on top of the ruthlessly practical, thoroughly simple and comprehensive email, priority and workload management training approach we provide. Training that will enable you to DO, and keep doing all the important Best Practice elements of the Stephen Covey ‘First Things First’ and David Allen’s GTD that you have read about. Training that does not require any Third Party add-in or Bolt-on. Training that delivers Results Worth Talking About
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