At work we just received a copy of Microsoft Office 2007. In fact, I felt really odd running over to DoIT to pick up a copy of it. I was actually excited to try out a Microsoft product. Yeppers, Tim the Linux guy was excited to try out Office 2007 and Windows Vista. Shocking isnâ€™t it?
I did a full install of Office 2007 and for my first daring adventure into Office 2007 land, Outlook was my target. The testing also gave me the chance to test out the latest version of my absolute favorite Outlook add-on ever, Clear Context. It made working with Outlook empowering. Heck, it made email empowering. Nothing on Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux yet has matched the power it gives email.
Clear Context for those not yet familiar with it, allows you to act quickly one each email that comes into your mailbox. You can quickly sort them into folders called Topics, you can move the email to your calendar as an appointment, you can delegate it to someone else, and a lot more. If you know about the Getting Things Done mentality of organization, it will be a great tool for you to use.
Excited to see what Office 2007 and Clear Context 3 had in store, I installed them on my Windows machine and went to town. Iâ€™ll highlight two of the new features that I found. The core of Clear Context is still there and still is as ever easy to use. (See my earlier post on Clear Context 2)
The first thing I see when opening an email is the first new feature, Related View. Upon opening an email, it shows you the emails associated with it. I think it uses the subject lines as a clue when listing the related emails, but it can also list related tasks and appointments. Very handy information to have on hand when working on a long email chain in a project.
The other new option that sticks out is the Unsubscribe button. If you donâ€™t want anything to do with an email chain, no problem. Click on the unsubscribe button, and youâ€™ll see no more of that chain. Itâ€™s a hand feature to have.
So far using Clear Context has been smooth, with only some minor glitches so far. The Unsubscribe feature by default moves all the unwanted messages to a general unsubscribed folder instead of the Topic folder if the email has a Topic assigned to it. You can change that in the settings, but it feels like it would be better on by default.
Another unsubscribe oddity takes place when you try to resubscribe to an email chain. When you go into the Unsubscribed folder and select one to resubscribe in, itâ€™s not clear how to resubscribe to it. The trick is to click the Unsubscribe button again to resubscribe to it. Feels like a weird double negative.
Also when you resubscribe to it, you are presented with this message box.
When asking a Yes/No question itâ€™s nice to have Yes/No buttons. If you hit OK or the close button it automatically resubscribes you to the conversation, so there really is no way to say no here. It also does not move the messages out of the Unsubscribed folder. That has to be done manually. I do hope that gets fixed soon. Itâ€™s weird having subscribed chains in the Unsubscribed folder.
The last quirk with the Unsubscribe is the message box when you initially unsubscribe from a thread. It says that is moves the message to the Unsubscribed folder and not the Topic folder if that option is set. It is a bit confusing.
I just started using Clear Context 3 on my computer, but I am already extraordinarily happy with it. Overall, I give it an A-. The Unsubscribe feature has some polishing to do, but it is the first release of version 3. I am sure that will be fixed in later versions and then it will be a full on A+.
Heck, itâ€™s enough to make me have Windows be my fulltime desktop over Linux. Yes, itâ€™s that powerful of a piece of software. If there was a Linux version of this for Evolution, Iâ€™d buy it in a heartbeat. Until then… Yes, the Linux guy will have a Windows desktop so he can use Clear Context.