Hotmail is your e-mail friend, right? And by now you probably know that Microsoft has rebranded Hotmail as Outlook.com (see the official blogpost here) in an effort to compete with Google Mail (Gmail). Hotmail was one of the first web-based email services and is still world’s largest e-mail service with over 350 million users, according to comScore (June 2012). “Hot..”, err, “Outlook” is better than you think and is perhaps the only Internet brand that has redefined itself several times.
The Brand “Hotmail”
Hotmail (1996 – 1998)
MSN Hotmail (1998 – 2006)
Windows Live Hotmail (2007 – 2011)
Microsoft Hotmail (2011 – 2012)
Outlook [or Microsoft account?] (2012 – ?)
Over the past several years, Microsoft supported e-mail addresses on the following top level domains – @msn.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, and now @outlook.com. I love everything Microsoft (maybe because I’m a Microsoft fanatic) and I love the brand @hotmail.com. But since I’m a power Internet user, Gmail is my primary e-mail account as it acts as my e-mail hub so I’m not going to switch to Outlook.com anytime soon (but I want to).
Microsoft Outlook Features, Tips & Tricks
“Goodbye, Hotmail. Hello, Outlook.com”
Outlook is modern – you get a fresh, clean design that’s intuitive to use.
Outlook is connected – your conversations come to life with your friends’ photos, Tweets, and recent Facebook updates.
Outlook is productive – you get free Word, Excel, and PowerPoint web apps built in with 7 GB of free cloud storage.
Outlook is private – you’re in control of your data, and your personal conversations aren’t used for ads.
And, of course, Outlook gives you virtually unlimited storage and less spam – and works on your PC, Mac, phone, and tablet.
Hotmail Outlook Tips & Tricks You Probably Don’t Know
1. Your Outlook ID E-mail ID = Virtually Unlimited E-mail IDs
Append a plus (“+”) sign and any combination of words or numbers after your username. For example, I can use the ID firstname.lastname@example.org for Twitter and use email@example.com for Facebook. So that you virtually have unlimited email IDs. It works for your @hotmail.com address as well.
2. Virtually Unlimited Storage Space
Microsoft Outlook comes with virtually unlimited storage space that expands to provide you with as much storage space as you need. Your Outlook storage space will automatically increase as you need more space. But if your inbox is growing too fast then you might not be able to receive any more messages.
3. Recover Deleted Messages
With Microsoft Outlook, you can recover your deleted e-mail messages. It’s really helpful if you deleted your e-mails from your inbox accidentally or after you recovered your hacked account (hackers tend to delete all the e-mails in an account). If this feature is unavailable to you then you need to enable the same manually by navigating to Inbox > Options > Advanced privacy settings. Learn more about recovery of deleted messages.
4. Instant Actions
Instant actions are little buttons that appear beside sender names and subject lines your e-mail message list. It’s an awesome feature which saves much time as you can delete, flag, or mark a message as read/unread/junk in one click without opening the message. You can customize Instant actions by going to Inbox > Options > Instant actions.
(Gmail Tip: Enable “Message Sneak Peek” lab feature on Gmail to get a similar functionality)
5. Sign In With A Single-use Code
A single-use code is a code you can use instead of your password. It lets you to sign in with a temporary code so that you don’t have to enter your password. If you’re using a public computer then this feature is handy. You can request a code whenever you need one and it can be used only once. The single-use code will be sent to your mobile number which you have added to your Microsoft account. Learn more about single-use code.
(Gmail Tip: Enable Two Step Verification)
6. Make Your Outlook E-mail ID An Exclusive One
Go to Inbox > Options > Filters and reporting and set the junk e-mail filter level to “Exclusive“. Now, everything is sent to the junk e-mail folder except the e-mails from your contacts and safe senders, Outlook service announcements, and alerts that you signed up for.
7. Create An E-mail Alias
How about an e-mail address that you want to use for a job site which you want to dispose later? In that case you don’t have to register another e-mail account, instead, you can create an e-mail alias by going to Inbox > Options > Create a Outlook alias. That way, messages sent to your alias can be kept in a separate folder.
8. Rename Your E-mail Address
Hotmail Outlook is perhaps the only e-mail service which allows you to rename your e-mail address. Go to Inbox > Options > Rename your email address and enter your new username. You can even choose a different e-mail domain for your new username (e.g. from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org etc.). Your new ID will work just like your old one and all the new mails will go to your new inbox. You can keep all your old e-mails in a separate folder and your contacts, photos, docs on SkyDrive will be moved to your new address in few days.
9. Clean Your Inbox With “Sweep”
It’s a powerful feature (like Gmail filters) which lets you to clean your inbox. It allows you to – move e-mail messages from a sender to a specific folder, delete all email from a sender and schedule automatic cleanups. Learn how to organize your inbox with Outlook.
10. Sort Your E-mails (by Date, From, Subject, Size, and Conversation)
You can arrange/sort your e-mails by Date, From, Subject, Size, and Conversation. It’s an awesome feature which I would like to see on Gmail as well. You can use the “Arrange by Size” feature to find e-mails which is using so much space.
11. Send Attachments Using SkyDrive
12. Send & Receive E-mails From Any POP Accounts
With Outlook, you can send and receive email from other email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail Plus etc.) but those accounts must be POP-enabled. When you compose an e-mail you can choose your “other account” but your recipients may see: “on behalf of“. So, now you have all your inboxes in one place. Learn how to send and receive mail from other email accounts on Outlook here. Gmail also used to show an annoying “On behalf of” message to the recipient, but not anymore, as they support SMTP now.
13. Outlook Is Social: It Is Connected To Your people
With Microsoft Outlook, your e-mails and conversations are richer with photos, updates and Tweets from Facebook and Twitter. When you open an e-mail from your contact Outlook shows their latest profile picture and activities on Facebook and Twitter (you need to connect your Facebook & Twitter account to Outlook by going to Inbox > Options > Content from third-party networks). Also, connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Outlook means that you’ll have an automatically updated address book. That’s not all. If your Facebook, Outlook, Skype (soon) friend is online then you can send them an instant message right from your inbox.
Compare: Hotmail.com vs. Outlook.com
The Old Hotmail Interface
Hotmail Outlook.com Interface
I’ve my Sidebar & Quick views disabled, so as you can see, the new interface is now much, much, much simple, user-friendly and super fast with no ads (at least as of now). – Sign Up Now and reserve your @Outlook.com e-mail today!
Hotmail vs. Gmail vs. Yahoo! Mail
Gmail (or Google Mail) is really useful, there is no doubt about that, and is much more powerful than any other e-mail service out there but at the same time it’s heavy with tons of features.
As you can see from the chart, Hotmail still rules the world of e-mails but is losing it’s market share to Gmail (it’s rival).
Now, what led to Gmail’s growth? Google has a lot of online products which a lot of people use. Earlier you could sign up for a Google account using any e-mail id but now you need a Gmail ID to use any of those Google’s services that requires a registration. Also, Gmail is a spammer’s paradise. I myself get tons of spam mails and most of them comes from Gmail accounts. So, that may also have contributed to Gmail’s sudden surge in growth.