What Is Microsoft Outlook? (All You Need To Know)

If you are choosing a new email platform, you have most likely considered Microsoft Outlook and are reading this article to find out everything you need to know about it.

Well, this article discusses what Microsoft Outlook is, how it functions, and the ways you can use it. You will also learn the answers to many questions that you may have about Outlook, so keep reading!

What Is Microsoft Outlook?

Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager that was introduced in 1997. It was later included as a part of the MS Office suite and is mainly used for email services. Possibly one of the biggest advantages of using MS Outlook is that it can serve the purpose of both a stand-alone application and also a multi-user software. 

Keep reading if you would like to learn more about Microsoft Outlook, like what you can use it for, whether you need an internet connection to use it, and so much more!

Microsoft Outlook was introduced in 1997 and was later made a part of this MS Office suite. The program is a personal information manager and is mainly used for email services.

With MS Outlook, you can use it as either a stand-alone application or a multi-user software. 

It can be used by an individual as an email client-server and also by an organization which requires features like a mailbox, calendar, appointments, and more. 

The program was initially added as a part of the Office suite which could be installed into a computer system.

Nowadays, there are various other versions of Outlook which have been released and made compatible with mobile phones, laptops, and many other Android and Mac devices.

What Are the Different Versions of Microsoft Outlook?

What Are the Different Versions of Microsoft Outlook?

Over the years, Microsoft has released many different versions of MS Outlook, have a look at the list below to see which different versions there have been:



Outlook 97

  • Released on January 16, 1997

  • It replaced the existing Microsoft’s email clients including Exchange Client, Schedule+, etc.

Outlook 98

  • Released on June 21, 1998

  • It was freely distributed with books and magazines to cope up with the latest Internet standard

  • Involved usage of HTML mail

Outlook 2002

  • Released on May 31, 2001

  • Introduced in Office XP

  • Brought in new features like colored tables, hyperlinks, autocomplete and MSN messenger integration

Outlook 2003

  • Released on June 27, 1999

  • Desktop alerts for emails were introduced

  • Filtering of mails to skip spam

  • Expandable distribution list

  • Unicode support

Outlook 2007

  • Released on January 27, 2007

  • Feature to preview the attachments was introduced

  • Excel, Word, PowerPoint files were now supported by Outlook

  • Features like calendar sharing, export of PDF and XLS files, unified messaging support, etc. were also added to the application

Outlook 2010

  • Released on July 15, 2010

  • Group messages could now be shared

  • The feature of social connector, where the files could be shared on social networking platforms was introduced

Outlook 2013

  • Released on January 29, 2013

  • A reminder to ask the user to attach files with mail was introduced

  • People hub

  • Compression of Outlook data file

  • Improvement in start up performances

Outlook 2016

  • Released on September 22, 2015

  • Almost similar features, only cloud computing was added

Outlook 2019

  • Released on September 24, 2018

  • Filtering and sorting of mails became easier

  • Supported a focussed inbox

  • Multiple time zones could be added

What Functions Does Microsoft Outlook Have?

Microsoft Outlook, which is a part of the MS Office suite, allows you to send emails, arrange meetings, give appointments, and more. 

As mentioned previously, the program can be used by a single person or even by a group of people for whatever their needs may be. 

The main functions of Microsoft Outlook are listed here:

  • MS Outlook simplifies communication by allowing you to send emails with just a click. Plus, you will be able to apply different attachments and various formats can be added to these emails. 
  • Since MS Outlook is used as an organizing and managing application, it provides features to set up appointments and meetings by using a calendar and setting up reminders.
  • If the correct settings have been added to the application, all of your emails sent or received can be easily tracked on MS Outlook.
  • Again, your life will be much easier with Outlook. For organizations, you can easily share and collaborate with other members of your team or group to set up activities. 
  • MS Outlook can also automatically form a mail thread of similar emails by automatically gathering together emails which are interlinked.

Do You Need Internet to Use Microsoft Outlook?

A lack of an internet connection shouldn’t prevent you from opening your MS Outlook application.

There may be several files that will open a display if they have already been downloaded onto your device.

As well, you should have the ability to draft emails and whatnot. However, in order to send and receive emails, a steady internet connection is required.

To know more, you can also read our posts on Microsoft OneDrive, why Microsoft bought Minecraft, and why Microsoft bought LinkedIn.


MS Outlook is an information manager which was first introduced in 1997 and is now part of the MS Office suite. The program is mainly used as an email service and can be used as a stand-alone application, or a multi-user software.

There is so much that you can accomplish by using Microsoft Outlook some of which includes sending and tracking emails, keeping your communication organized, along with sending you reminders of appointments and meetings. 

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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