New, app-like Outlook features added to Hotmail

New, app-like Outlook features added to Hotmail

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As we think about features to add to Hotmail, one of the things we look at is how customers are using other mail apps like Outlook, and if some of the things they love about those apps would also be valuable in Hotmail. Today, we’re excited to tell you about some of the latest Outlook features that we’ve added to Hotmail – giving it even more of the power of your apps.

Mouse & keyboard shortcuts

After an update to Hotmail this past week, now when you right-click a message in your inbox, you’ll see a new menu that allows you to Reply, Reply all, or Forward the message. This expands on other right-click actions that Hotmail already supported like Mark as unread, Delete, Junk, Move, and View message source. So now, just like in Outlook, it’s even quicker to take care some of your most common tasks using that second button on your mouse.

Hotmail also supports many of the keyboard shortcuts that you’re used to in Outlook, such as Ctrl+N for a new message, and Ctrl+Enter to send a message. And if you’re one of the millions of people who’ve recently switched from Yahoo! Mail or Gmail to Hotmail, we’ve also made popular shortcuts from those email services work in Hotmail. So # (from Gmail) can be used to delete a message and N (from Yahoo! Mail) will create a new message. You can see a full list of Hotmail keyboard shortcuts here. To switch your inbox from using standard Hotmail shortcuts to Gmail or Yahoo! shortcuts, go to the keyboard shortcuts options page from your inbox.

Personalization

For a long time, Hotmail has had the ability to customize an individual email message by doing things like changing your font and signature. But now, you can go into your Hotmail options and set a default font and personal signature for all your email messages, much like you would in Outlook.

And lots more …

We’ve also recently fixed some common complaints including improving how the Back button works, and how attachments get saved with your email drafts.

If you happen to accidentally delete a message, it is now possible to recover some lost messages through a new link in the Deleted folder.

And as some of you may have noticed, we’ve started rolling out speed improvements that combine smart programming with the best of HTML5 to make your inbox super fast. We’ll tell you more about this in the coming days.

So check out the changes, and let us know what you think. We hope you enjoy the new features – and there’s a lot more on the way.

Dick Craddock
Group Program Manager, Hotmail

54 Comments
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  • You need to go back and fix the login, there wasn't anything wrong with it but in an effort to protect users from themselves MS has once again made a change that negatively impacts those of us that do know how to protect ourselves online. I do not want to have to re-enter my username everytime I go back to my Live account. I shouldn't have to re-enter my username every time i go back to my LIve account and I damn sure do not want to stay logged in all the time so I dont have to do that.

    It was bad enough when you clowns took away the auto complete on usernames. Now I either have to stay logged in all the time (WHICH I DO NOT WANT TO DO UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES) or I have to re-enter my username every time i go back to my Live account which is generally quite a few times a day.

    Ill advised change at the best and just plain flat out stupid at best.

  • Dear Mr Craddock   I need your help to unblock my 10 year old hotmaill account gsmboss@hotmail.com   I have exhausted all means to unblock it using you automated system.Your forum moderators are not help either.The account is absolutely vital to me because i have been storing there all my financial date for the past 10 years.

    I am looking forward for you involvement in the process,TempUser DF2FEEEB-FFBE-42CF-AC76-D63878956A22windowslivehelp.com/ReportAbuse.aspx

    Dick (Vadim)Shegalov

  • Neil__C
    7 Posts

    Hi,

    I would also like to echo the call for proper task/todo integration with Outlook via the connector. Appearing on the calendar is not a sufficient solution as that's not how most people use tasks. I am running the windows phone 7 mango beta, which now has an excellent task facility from hotmail (separate pane - not on calendar), and the lack of function between Outlook and Hotmail in this respect is absolutely ruining the functionality. I hope MS are doing more than just 'considering it'. Such a facility would complete an excellent product and make the cloud paradigm for WP7 usable for me.

    Regards

  • @abm – I agree, attaching an email is a neat feature! Something we’ll think about for a future release. Thanks for that and your other suggestions.

  • @Gordonbp – You can synchronize Calendar “to dos” with Oultook using the Outlook Connector, although they show up on the Calendar instead of tasks. We know this has some limitations, and we’re considering changes to improve the experience.

  • @wiluser – Wow! Lots of feedback. Thanks. I’ll try to address some of them. For the ones I haven’t addressed: We’ve taken the feedback and will certainly give them thought. Many of them are good ideas – thanks.

    We’re not investing in more Themes right now.

    We constantly review our policy around sending limits. Our aim is to provide a great service for our “real” users while limiting the abuse that can be caused by spammers. It’s a tricky balance, but we are always monitoring and looking for ways to improve. Thanks for the feedback.

    The feature that “remembers” email addresses you’ve typed so that they come up in auto-complete in future New emails can be turned off in the Options page. Options->More Options->Advanced Privacy Settings->Auto-complete suggestions.

    We are making huge investments in security. Many of those investments are in the product and paying off now, but we know that security is an area that must be a long-term commitment, so we won’t stop. Watch this space for more feature announcements and information.

    We’ve gotten the “on-behalf-of” feedback, and we think it’s a good idea. We’re considering fixing this is a future release.

    You can now send 25 MB attachments in Hotmail. You can also send multiple 50 MB files or photos using “document mail” or “photo mail.” In fact, photo mail is the best way to share photos. The photos get stored on SkyDrive (so, one copy, instead of one per recipient) and the permissions are automatically set up so that the only people that can see them are the people you send the mail to. Also, the mail looks really beautiful. Try it out! It’s very cool. About 14 billion photos have been sent this way already.

    Many people still have the perception that Hotmail doesn’t have enough storage. But Hotmail has (essentially) unlimited storage space today. Our lawyers make us call it “ever increasing storage” or something like that, but it is, for all practical purposes, unlimited. We have governors, of course, to prevent abuse. So, you can’t just consume a zillion GBs overnight, but the storage space for an individual account grows as you need it. We have users in Hotmail today that have tens of gigabytes of storage.

    Thanks again for all the feedback.

  • @controlz – Account Rename is definitely a feature we want. It turns out to be a bit complex, given that you can use a Live ID for a lot of different services. It’s something we continue to investigate. Thanks.

  • @jamiet – I agree with you that keyboard shortcuts still have some limitations. We will try to address some of these in an upcoming release. (In particular, I find it frustrating that <esc> doesn’t work to cancel a new email!) Thanks for the feedback.

  • @W_HSN – thanks for the suggestions. We’ve gotten many of those and are considering them for a future release.

  • @osmanmohamed – auto spell-checker is one I want, too. We’re figuring out the best way to do this, so don’t have anything to announce just yet.

  • @shahharshj – storing IM conversation history is definitely something we’ve heard feedback about. We’re considering it for the future but can’t talk about dates in this blog. Thanks.

  • @richardjgreen – we like the Social Connector, too! We’re considering those kinds of features for future versions of Hotmail. Thanks.

  • abm
    268 Posts

    One feature hasn't been offered by any of Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail that is provided by Office Outlook: "Including other email(s) as attachment"

    So please, be the first to provide... from compose view, supply an option to "attach email" with search/filter option to locate the required email from the user folders within the compose view (an Ajax driven box!) so a user can select multiple emails and attach it with the message being composed.

    Other thing that way introduced in Office 2010 and was there in Gmail way-back since its inception, viewing the emails and chats as a conversation. It can be extended with Phone SMS when connected with WP7 and incorporated in HOTMAIL.

    Finally, SkyDrive’s 100MB should be extended/merged with my Hotmail space.

    P.S. IDK about MS plans, but apparently it’s about the time to wrap up Hotmail plus and start providing all the features to a unified web-based email client for no-charges. Stop punishing me by not providing me with a filter to clean tons of (no subject) spam emails with bogus links from almost every person in my contact book….because I didn’t paid for HoTMaiL plus! 90’s is gone sir!  and competition is already eating up your clientele!

  • naren
    1 Posts

    I love it, I have been using gmail until now, but not any more. Please bring more features that are in outlook. It is the right way to go.  And bring some icon color to the folders.

  • wvcadle
    3 Posts

    @Dharmesh:  Wonder if she's had to be as patient as I was for almost 8 months while MS's Live team fumbled around my problem that never got solved...  and subsequently made me switch to gmail?

  • @kcrannie Apologies, will have them reach out again and I'll make sure it's fixed this time.  Thanks for the patience.

  • kcrannie
    31 Posts

    @Dharmesh Mehta:  Thanks.  A representative from Microsoft Billing did contact me last evening.  However,  I was never trying  " to add more than two Hotmail Plus subscriptions to a single credit card", as explained by Microsoft.

    "The only option the customer has is to provide an alternate payment instrument. You can try using your Debit card as long as it has a major credit card logo on it and is enabled for online/reocurring charge/s."

    Unfortunately, Microsoft "will now be closing this case as resolved."    

    A case "resolved" by Microsoft that remains 'unresolved'.   I only have one credit card, and my debit card does not have a credit card log on it to enable online/reoccuring charges.

  • @kcrannie We'll have someone from our billing support team reach out to you to help debug.

  • kcrannie
    31 Posts

    @Dharmesh Mehta:  I have tried on a few occasions to upgrade to Hotmail Plus.  However, each time I do I receive the following message,

    "•To continue, please enter the required information, and then click Continue.

    •We cannot authorize the selected payment method because the allowed number of subscriptions billed to a single payment method has been reached. Please select a different payment method or add a new one."

    I've contact my bank and am told my credit card has unlimited transactions, and that, nothing is wrong with my card.  On the other hand, Microsoft is saying it's the banks fault.

    So, what does this message I'm receiving mean when I attempt to upgrade to Hotmail Plus mean?  Obviously, a clitch on Microsoft's end.

  • bigjim01
    27 Posts

    A more important feature, would be upgrade the To-Do list to full-blown tasks and have it synchronize with Outlook. This is what people want, and it would not be hard to implement at all.

  • wvcadle
    3 Posts

    @Controlz  Be thankful that's the only thing wrong with your Hotmail.  I couldn't even get attachments to show up in my WLM configured Hotmail account.  Well, I had two Hotmail accounts configured in my WLM desktop client.  One could get attachments, one couldn't.  After about 8 months of back and forth with the support team, I moved to gmail.

  • @Controlz:

    The "apps" as in the title of this blog post we are all commenting on.

    And MY calendar in Hotmail  on Windows Live does NOT have a "Tasks" function....it has a "To Do list" which does NOT synchronise with the Tasks in Outlook using the Outlook Connector...

    Here's a screenshot.

    skydrive.live.com

    As you will see - NO "tasks"

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    @ Gordonbp Apps?! What apps?

    You can create tasks in Hotmail Calendar (http://calendar.live.com) - just click the "tasks" tab. You can even set reminders! Simple.

  • How about adding TASKS to Hotmail - so that users can synchronise TASKS between computers using Hotmail and Windows Live/Outlook connector?

    I would have thought that this was more important for user functionality than adding "apps"...

  • wiluser
    2 Posts

    Here are some suggestions for WLHotmail updates:

    Default Email address for Reminders: Are users able to set up an email address for reminders/appts/tasks in their main calendar?  

    Yearly view:  Can users please have a yearly view for their Hotmail Calendar instead of how it is currently set up now?

    Profile Names on WLSC:  Can a username please be available after a certain time for a person to set up that name for themselves when setting up an account/profile on WLSC?

    Deleted Contacts:  If a user no longer wishes to have a specific or certain contact in their address list, "currently" the contact is then able to be deleted, but is not removed entirely from the person's account.  Can you please update the contact list so that the person is then able to remove the unwanted contact from their list entirely altogether?

    Please put the links for Home/Inbox/Contacts/Calendar up the top instead of right down the bottom of the left hand side.  This will make it far easier to navigate to these pages if they are up the top of the page under the inbox link!

    Can we please have a wider/longer compose window to write emails to contacts/can there please also be a Send link added to the bottom of the compose page?

    Can we also please have a bigger file sending limit?  Instead of 10mb can it be upgraded to 25mb or higher to 30mb?  If you look "outside the square" you will see that Gmail, Yahoo have a 25 mb sending limit, and Inbox.com has a 50 mb file sending limit.  

    Yahoo has unlimited storage space in their mailboxes, so why can't Hotmail have the same?  Why does Hotmail have the smallest mailbox ever?

    Why can't the mailboxes of WLHotmail users be upgraded to 10 gig or higher or have the same unlimited mailboxes that their competitors have?

  • wiluser
    2 Posts

    Hi,

    Here is some feedback for the next available Hotmail update if you want to improve your services to your customers/users:-

    In regards to the current themes, can you change/remove them and update them if possible!

    The themes are:  darkhearts, birdman, punga, sweet monsters, storybook, metalwork, skyturtle, zuneheart, graffiti, spore & robots!  

    Can we please get some plain colours added to the variety of themes we've got now, and instead of having the above themes to choose from, can the above please get deleted & can we please get some different themes?  Are there more that are going to be available in the future?

    Can we also have our email sending limit increased to 500 per day for free users and higher for premium users.  Can Australian users have a way or link of upgrade their accounts in WLHotmail?  It is currently just for the UK/US and as an Australian user I would like to upgrade to a premium account instead of having annoying adds in mine.

    When you add an email address to your email that you are sending to a new person, that person's email address stays in your past contact so that when you type a specific letter in your "To", "CC" or "BCC" fields, that email address automatically comes up even though you have only contacted that particular person once and won't ever contact them again.   Can you please update this so that only your contacts come up in your "To, CC or BCC" field instead of having a whole long list of them that pop up that you no longer or don't want in your email account?

    Usernames:  Can you please have a username available sooner than 365 days?  Can you please have the system reset so that usernames are available within a 3 month period instead of the usual 270 - 365 days?  Can this please be seriously considered for current/future users of WLHotmail?

    Can you please make WLHotmail even more secure so that users feel more safer than what they do now?

    When users write an email from a pop mail service eg, a domain name, can the email be sent from that actual address, not on "behalf of" yourname@hotmail.com for example?

    Default Email address for Reminders: Are users able to set up an email address for reminders/appts/tasks in their main calendar?  

    Yearly view:  Can users please have a yearly view for their Hotmail Calendar instead of how it is currently set up now?

    Profile Names on WLSC:  Can a username please be available after a certain time for a person to set up that name for themselves when setting up an account/profile on WLSC?

    Deleted Contacts:  If a user no longer wishes to have a specific or certain contact in their address list, "currently" the contact is then able to be deleted, but is not removed entirely from the person's account.  Can you please update the contact list so that the person is then able to remove the unwanted contact from their list entirely altogether?

    Please put the links for Home/Inbox/Contacts/Calendar up the top instead of right down the bottom of the left hand side.  This will make it far easier to navigate to these pages if they are up the top of the page under the inbox link!

    Can we please have a wider/longer compose window to write emails to contacts/can there please also be a Send link added to the bottom of the compose page?

    Can we also please have a bigger file sending limit?  Instead of 10mb can it be upgraded to 25mb or higher to 30mb?  If you look "outside the square" you will see that Gmail, Yahoo have a 25 mb sending limit, and Inbox.com has a 50 mb file sending limit.  

    Yahoo has unlimited storage space in their mailboxes, so why can't Hotmail have the same?  Why does Hotmail have the smallest mailbox ever?

    Why can't the mailboxes of WLHotmail users be upgraded to 10 gig or higher or have the same unlimited mailboxes that their competitors have?

    Thanks

  • wiluser
    2 Posts

    Hi,

    Here is a post that I have read on the WLSC Forum about bugs not being fixed in WLHotmail!

    Here they are:

    Here is a list of unsolved BUGS in Wave4 Hotmail. WHEN WILL THESE BUGS BE FIXED?

    1. With the Reading Pane sized to occupy the bottom 30% of the screen, when a message is selected (and appears in the reading pane), and the Actions (or Reply) option (top right of the message) is clicked, the drop down list is truncated (cut off by the top of the reading pane's frame). This bug has been reproduced in XP, Vista, and Windows 7 with both IE8 and Firefox.

    2. When the reading pane is on the right, the number of messages in a folder (usually displayed on the left side of the footer) is not shown ..... the left side of footer is truncated. This BUG has been reproduced on both IE8 and Firefox .... using XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

    3. When reading a long message, the Next and Previous arrows are scrolled off screen .... requiring the user to scroll in order to view and click the Next/Previous arrow. This is poor User Interface design. The Next/Previous arrows should be placed into the "frozen" menu at the top of the page.

    4. In IE8, if an Explorer Bar (Favorites, History, Feeds) is displayed, the User name, profile, and sign out selections are truncated off the right side of the screen. This is on a monitor set to 1280x1024.

    5. The previous version of Hotmail allowed one to navigate the inbox (and all other folders) by page number. The ability to navigate by page number has been removed from Wave4 Hotmail.

    6. After selecting "Show Cc & Bcc" and then canceling the new message, the setting becomes permanent until a new message is sent.

    7. An UNREAD message that is deleted from the inbox is moved to the Deleted folder, but is NOT CHANGED TO READ.

    8. Messages deleted from the Junk folder are moved to the Deleted folder instead of being removed from the account.

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    Just a question: why can't I change my Windows Live ID? It says "your Windows Live ID cannot be changed at this time". I have a Hotmail address that I created a long time ago that I wish to change, and creating a new ID isn't really an option...

  • jamiet
    45 Posts

    Hello Dick/Dharmesh,

    I'm trying to familiarise myself with the new Hotmail keyboar shortcuts and, while I can do most things using keyboard shortcuts, I'm disappointed to learn that I sometimes have to resort to the mouse.

    For example, I hit CTRL+N to write a new email but if I then decide to cancel that email there is no way to do it except for clicking the Cancel button - I would have expected ESC would have done the same job, but it does not.

    Also, the shortcuts for getting to Inbox (F, I) & Sent Items (F, S) don't work all the time. To see what I mean go to Windows Live Home and select (F, I). This will successfully take you to your inbox but if you immediately try to go to your Sent Items (F, S) .... it does not work.

    Could you take a look?

    thanks

    Jamie

    P.S. I love the fact that email shortcuts work from Windows Live Home page too!

  • langware
    154 Posts

    Here is a list of bugs in Hotmail's User Interface that were reported a year ago (when Wave 4 was released). Why haven't these problems been fixed ...

    1. With the Reading Pane sized to occupy the bottom 30% of the screen, when a message is selected (and appears in the reading pane), and the Actions (or Reply) option (top right of the message) is clicked, the drop down list is truncated (cut off by the top of the reading pane's frame). This bug has been reproduced in XP, Vista, and Windows 7 with both IE8 and Firefox.

    2. When the reading pane is on the right, the number of messages in a folder (usually displayed on the left side of the footer) is not shown ..... the left side of footer is truncated. This BUG has been reproduced on both IE8 and Firefox .... using XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

    3. When reading a long message, the Next and Previous arrows are scrolled off screen .... requiring the user to scroll in order to view and click the Next/Previous arrow. This is poor User Interface design. The Next/Previous arrows should be placed into the "frozen" menu at the top of the page.

    4. In IE, if an Explorer Bar (Favorites, History, Feeds) is displayed, the User name, profile, and sign out selections are truncated off the right side of the screen. This is on a monitor set to 1280x1024.

    5. The previous version of Hotmail (before Wave 4) allowed one to navigate the inbox (and all other folders) by page number. The ability to navigate by page number has been removed from Wave4 Hotmail.

    6. With the Reading Pane at bottom (or right), why don't you allow the splitter bar to be moved all the way to the bottom (or right) of the screen (for those who want to minimize the real estate taken up by the Reading Pane and maximize the real estate available to the inbox)? Turning the Reading Pane off is not a solution, because when the Reading Pane option is off, then all of the toolbars are scrolled off the top of the screen when scrolling down the inbox.

    All of the above are simple fixes that would improve Hotmail's UI ... all of the above have been identified for more than a year. Yet none of the above have been fixed.

  • Great improvements. The option of recovering your deleted messages is surely an edge over other email services.

    I have always had a few suggestions for Hotmail:

    People would love the feature of drag-and-drop to add attachments to their emails.

    Labels instead of folders will be more handy - like the ones in Gmail.

    Message loading is still slow in Hotmail compared to Gmail and new Yahoo.

    Please lets us know if you are working on one of such features.

    Thanks.

  • PLEASE PLEASE all these features are great, but where is the auto spell checker. that is a really really important feature.

    thanks alot for all the hard work

  • @ Dharmesh Mehta. I have also noticed New Calender and Messenger Contacts in the side bar below Quick Views in one of my Hotmail accounts. The Calender is integrated with very smoothly and it is very easy to use. Please share some information about the forthcoming features...

  • Randa
    9 Posts

    Great features!

    I love shortcuts and the ability to use shortcuts from other email providers, especially Yahoo! it's shortcuts are amazing.

    I switched back to Hotmail last year when you announced the new improved one, and I love it!!!

    Keep up the great work!

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    @  Dharmesh Mehta - thanks for the header clarification. And thanks for making Hotmail Wave 5 the best email service EVER! Who needs desktop programs??

  • @Mike Mathis.  We realize folks have different preference for display ads vs. the text ads that Gmail has, and we are looking at how we can continue to improve our ad quality and placements to ensure they don't detract from your mail experience.  And if you really don't want ads of any kind at all, you can sign up for Hotmail Plus: explore.live.com/windows-live-hotmail-plus

  • ok all we need now is for you to knock off the big ad in hotmail (you know like gmail)

  • The new changes are great and i have moved all of my emails to Hotmail.. Could I know when we will ge the conversation histroy stored in windows live hotmail - same as we see in outlook today.

  • @maxim Have you used the Outlook Social Connector? Not only is it optional to use, but even when it's turned on it's descrete. The idea of the OSC is to add photos to your email recipients and to help you get fast access to information about the people you are contacting.

  • @cmwind: I like the sound of that. SkyMail *staring into space* :D

  • Maxim
    9 Posts

    Please, don't try to integrate Facebook to e-mail! Just open second tab with Facebook! It's too much facebook and the worst that it is impossible to turn off! Just like in skype, it always shows that Facebook tab, Messenger aeverytime asks to connect to facebook, almost every page has facebook plug-in...

  • It's great to see Hotmail improving and blurring the lines between online applications and desktop applications.

    A feature I like in Outlook 2010 that I would like to see in Hotmail is the Social Connector.

    Being that my Windows Live account is already linked to my Facebook, LinkedIn and other online social accounts, it would be easy enough to setup I would have thought?

    Richard

  • Maxim
    9 Posts

    Great improvements, but can you finally fix problems with Russian language in attachement's names? If someone sends me attachement with file with long name (more than 9 characters) like "отчёт о прибылях и убытках за 2010 год.docx" hotmail cuts it's name to "отчёт о п...docx" so it makes hotmail totally unusable for such purposes.

    Oh, and please, bring TASK sync to Hotmail Connector for Outlook)))

  • @cmwind, @controlz There are some folks that love the brand and definitely others that don't.  We get that and want to make sure we're giving you a great mail experience whether you already have an email address from another domain, or want a new one from us but don't want it to end with @hotmail.com .  So you can bring your existing email address or create a new one that's @live.com from http://signup.live.com/.

  • @controlz impressive that you caught that and our apologies on the miss.  we had used an internal environment for part of the video clip and it didn't have that change in it at the time - but you're definitely right that our new header has SkyDrive and not Photos and Office (like you see in most of the video)

  • Sadatay
    15 Posts

    Keep up the good work guys. Keep bringing those updates.

  • Bring more and more updates to Windows Live as a whole! :D

  • Alfi
    5 Posts

    Just KILL big and stupid ads in mail interface!!

    Its so hard?

  • w1ngnut
    25 Posts

    Hi guys. Nice additions! I would like to see improvements in folders (right-click menus, + ways to hide / collapse / expand folders). Do you have anything planned  for that?

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    @ cmwind - Hotmail is called that way for a reason HoTMaiL. HTML. Plus it's a cool name, unlike Gmail/Google Mail or Yahoo! Mail. Windows Live Hotmail sounds great!

  • cmwind
    71 Posts

    i love you hotmail... although the name could use a fresh start... SkyMail anyone? SkyMail and SkyDrive

  • bartw78
    5 Posts

    Loving all the updates made to Hotmail!

    But is there any chance of having a messenger notification on the Hotmail icon when pinned to the task bar? Just as you get a notification of a new email.

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    I really like it! Though in the video, it shows the Wave 5 Hotmail but no Wave 5 header - it says Office and Photos, not SkyDrive. Weird!

  • Awesome. Tried out the new features and I really like the implementation.