Fed up with endless emails, meeting requests and spam in Outlook?

Then look no further. Microsoft's productivity app is a necessary evil in most workplaces, but it can be stubborn in the way it works.

So we've gathered together a raft of slick tools to ease the pain and make dealing with your email and calendar seem a lot less troublesome.

1. Xobni

This utility extracts phone numbers and creates a profile for each of your contacts. These include threaded conversations, related people and shared attachments. The Xobni sidebar brings up this information about the author of the message you're looking at.

2. OutlookAttachView

Slim down your inbox by extracting all the attachments using this add-on. It creates a list of all the files and provides a chance to save them in a separate folder.

3. FoxitPDF Preview Handler

Instead of loading up Adobe Acrobat to take a peek at a PDF attachment, choose the speedy option and use FoxitPDF to create a preview of the file from within Outlook.

4. Use Outlook 2007's Quick Parts

A new feature in Outlook 2007, Quick Parts are snippets of text that you use regularly in your emails. Open a new message, type in the sentences that you often use and select them, then click Text > Quick Parts > Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery. Now whenever you need that text you can pick it from the Quick Parts menu.

5. Calendar Printing Assistant for Outlook 2007

This free download from Microsoft makes it easy to customise and print your Outlook Calendar.

6. Taglocity

Give this one a go if you'd like to have the tagging functionality of Google Mail in Outlook. You can have actions performed automatically upon your mails according to the tags you've specified, which will get your inbox cleared out in record time.

7. Outlook on the Desktop

This one places a translucent Outlook calendar on your desktop so that you can keep an eye on your appointments.

8. Attachment Reminder

Avoid the embarrassment of forgetting an attachment with this useful reminder. If you try to send a mail that mentions attachments, but with no file in tow, a pop-up will alert you to your mistake.

9. Google Calendar Sync for Outlook

Hook up your Outlook and Google calendars with this small and handy download.

10. OutlookDeck

Who says email clients all have to look the same? OutlookDeck shakes things up a bit by creating columns that display emails included in a particular search criteria. It's also black and shiny-looking, which makes a change for an email program.

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First published in PCAnswers Issue 199

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