Microsoft Outlook

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Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Office Outlook (2018 – present)
Basic data

developer Microsoft
Current  version Outlook 2019 (Windows), Outlook 2019 (macOS) and as an app Android 4.2026.11 and for iOS 3.16.0
operating system The Office includes Windows , macOS
and as an app: Windows , iOS , Android
programming language C ++
category Groupware
License proprietary
German speaking Yes
Outlook website

Microsoft Outlook ( English [ ˈmaɪ.kɹoʊ.sɒft ˈaʊtˌlʊk ]) is a popular software from Microsoft for receiving and sending e-mails and managing appointments, contacts, tasks and notes ( Personal Information Manager ). It runs on the Windows and macOS operating systems and is available in the mobile version as an app for Android and iOS .

Outlook is primarily the client to the Exchange server , but it can also be used without Exchange. It appeared for the first time in 1997 in connection with Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5, where it combined and replaced the "Exchange Client", which was still delivered up to Exchange Server 5.0, and Schedule + . The strong integration with Microsoft Office Outlook can also serve as part of the Office package are considered by Microsoft and is also sold as a PIM with this together.

The e-mail and news client Outlook Express was, despite the similarity of names, an independent program from the start.


With Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5, Exchange Client , Schedule + 7.5 and Windows Messaging were replaced by Outlook 8. This version was distributed on different platforms. Bundled with Exchange Server, Outlook appeared both for Windows 3.1x and for the 32-bit Windows operating systems, plus Outlook for MS-DOS and Outlook for Macintosh .

While Outlook for MS-DOS, Mac OS and 16-bit Windows systems only supported the Exchange protocol, the 32-bit Windows version also supported the POP3 / SMTP and IMAP protocol. The 32-bit version was included with the Office 97 software package and was accordingly named Outlook 97.

Outlook 97 was followed at Windows level by Outlook 98 (Outlook 8.5), Outlook 2000 (Outlook 9), Outlook XP (also "Outlook 2002"; Outlook 10) and Outlook 2003 (Outlook 11). At the turn of the year 2006/2007, Office 2007 appeared, which includes Outlook 2007 (Outlook 12). Office 2010, which contains Outlook 2010 (Outlook 14), came onto the market in mid-2010.

While the development of the DOS and the 16-bit Windows version were discontinued, Entourage appeared for Mac OS in October 2001, which supported the POP3 / SMTP and the IMAP protocol. The last Mac OS Classic version of Outlook as an Exchange client was Outlook 2001.

Starting with Office: Mac 2004, Entourage 2004 also supported Microsoft Exchange servers (without tasks and notes). After that, Office: Mac 2008 was the last Entourage version. As of Office: Mac 2011, the email program included in some versions has been renamed back to Outlook. This version now also supports the complete connection to an Exchange server (from Exchange 2007 SP1 RU4).

Functionality (Windows 32- / 64-bit)

Outlook stores individual e-mails, including attachments and appointments, unencrypted and uncompressed in the Microsoft Exchange mail document (.msg) container format . It stores all of the messages (e-mails, calendar, contacts, etc.) in Personal Store files (.pst). Until Outlook 2002 this was limited to 2 GB. As of the Outlook 2003 version, the PST file can be saved in a Unicode format and is no longer limited to a certain size in this mode. Outlook versions older than Outlook 2003 cannot work with these Unicode PST files. IMAP folders have only been Unicode-capable since Outlook 2007.

The Outlook product range, as well as the latest Entourage version, use their full functionality in the network with a Microsoft Exchange server in the background. The Microsoft Exchange server stores all data centrally in databases , because the networking of PST files is not possible as a standard function. The product then also offers groupware . Since 2001 there have been alternatives to the Exchange server that can synchronize PST files or individual folders thereof (Outlook synchronization) or offer the shared use of Outlook data in the network without the user having to bother with the costs of a complex server system needs to fall.

With the Microsoft Exchange server alternatives, a distinction has to be made between typical synchronization programs that load the network and those that, like the Microsoft Exchange server or IBM Notes / Domino from IBM , are so-called store providers . All Outlook folder elements are available here in real time on all workstations.

Sending e-mails, often also unified messaging functions such as integrated fax and SMS sending, are now possible centrally via the Exchange server, via online providers as well as stand-alone and with the alternatives mentioned.

With the help of the Entourage “Project Manager”, Microsoft Office documents can also be managed in a team. Outlook from version 2003 offers a similar function as standard, either as real online collaboration with the help of a Sharepoint server or by providing the documents in an intranet or by sending the documents by mail. Entourage also includes a newsreader .

The data migration of locally stored data between Outlook (Windows) and Entourage (Mac OS) is not possible, or at best with restrictions, using an Exchange server or third-party programs. With Outlook 2011 for Mac, a function has been integrated with which local data from Outlook for Windows can be imported and used.

Conformity with web standards

Up to and including Outlook 2003, the Trident layout engine from Internet Explorer was used to display e-mails. Outlook 2007 switched to the Microsoft Word engine. In contrast to other e-mail clients, this means that the cascading style sheet specifications from 1996 and 1998 are not supported and the display options in Outlook are severely restricted. Many styling instructions can only be used with certain HTML elements , while outdated HTML attributes help to achieve the desired display in Outlook. As a result, emails are created from nested HTML tables because Outlook will respect the specified height and width of these elements and sub-elements.

Since then, no improvements have been made to a standards-compliant email client.

In contrast to the Windows version, Outlook for macOS supports most of the CSS specifications.

Scope of services

Outlook and Entourage support the management of multiple e-mail accounts via one interface; the accounts can be controlled via POP3 , IMAP4 or via Exchange- RPC . In addition to the e-mail function, the appointment management is the most intensively used function of Outlook / Entourage in a business environment. In order to be able to use the entire functionality of Outlook / Entourage, an Exchange server must be operated. Meetings and other appointments with several participants can be planned automatically via the Exchange server, in which the Outlook / Entourage client compares the appointment calendars of all participants and shows possible overlapping appointments. At the same time, resources (e.g. rooms or devices) can be reserved under Outlook / Entourage.

PDAs and smartphones can be synchronized with Outlook so that the user can enter appointments or be reminded of appointments while on the move. If the device runs under a Windows CE-based operating system, this is done using the ActiveSync utility . Additional software is required for Palm PDAs in addition to HotSync. Entourage can communicate with mobile devices using iSync .

When sending mail via SMTP , Outlook violates the protocol specification by inserting spaces in some commands that are not permitted. However, most mail servers ignore this widespread protocol violation, so that this malfunction rarely causes problems.

Outlook also offers extensive contact databases, calendar functions as well as notes and tasks management under one interface. The applications are interlinked and thus enable z. B. to automatically integrate the date of birth of a contact into the calendar.

A more expensive version with the Business Contact Manager is also available.

Automation and security

Outlook can be automated and expanded using VBA and OLE , Entourage with VBA and AppleScript . This enabled (together with the standard security settings at the time) the massive spread of the computer worms Melissa (1999) and Loveletter (2000).

Phishing emails are becoming an increasing burden for computer users. Phishing is the attempt to spy on confidential data using fake emails that look deceptively real. For MS Outlook there is the possibility to protect yourself against phishing e-mails. A toolbar is integrated into MS Outlook for this purpose; Each incoming e-mail can be checked for dangerous references and suspicious headers with the tools. The Delphish program is available free of charge and enables the user either to make an independent decision about possible phishing, or it automatically classifies e-mails as a phishing risk. The automatic classification uses a database of previously known phishing e-mails, or the links in the e-mail are checked for suspicious features.

Due to the massive spread of worms via Outlook, when addresses and other security-relevant properties are accessed, the user is sometimes asked security queries by means of scripts, which are intended to ensure that what is happening (e.g. sending e-mails or reloading code by accessing other websites) is a behavior desired by the user.

This technology, known as Object Model Guard by Microsoft , was first published with an update for Outlook 2000 and has been part of the normal range of functions since Outlook 2002.


Since Outlook 97 it has been possible to expand the range of functions using Exchange Client Extensions , which was abolished in Outlook 2010. Outlook 2000 introduced a COM -based expansion option for so-called Outlook AddIns , which greatly expanded the options by providing the Outlook Object Model .

Such extensions make it possible to carry out many tasks that would otherwise not be possible in Outlook. There are extensions that are used by individual users to increase productivity, but also company-specific solutions that improve integration into business processes. The scope of the existing extensions ranges from the export of contacts and mails in other formats to the convenient request of resources such as B. Conference rooms in corporate environments.

In May 2010, Microsoft announced that it would disclose the Outlook format. The aim is to enable third-party applications to access the program's PST folder and implement your own interoperability strategy.

The webmail service was started by Microsoft on July 31, 2012 and replaced Hotmail in spring 2013 . With Microsoft wants a stronger competitor to Google's mail offer Gmail offer.

See also


  • Kerstin Armbrust-Krinn: Outlook 2010 - easy and understandable ; KnowWare-Verlag, Osnabrück, 1st edition 2011, ISBN 978-3-943252-02-6

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Microsoft KB: XCLN: Microsoft Outlook for Windows 3.1 x
  3. Microsoft MSG format
  4. Guide to CSS support in email
  5. Microsoft Outlook 2007 Report | Email Standards Project . In: . Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  6. HTML 4.0 specification
  7. A designer's guide to Outlook 2013
  8. Microsoft opens Outlook format , published May 25, 2010
  9. APA : Microsoft renews e-mail service: is to replace Hotmail. August 1, 2012, accessed August 1, 2012 .