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Millions of people around the world rely on Microsoft Outlook to deliver a daily dashboard of their work and personal activities, email, and connections with friends, family, coworkers, and others. For Office 2013, Outlook integrates deeply Microsoft technologies like Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), Hotmail, and Social Connector.

Key new and improved features include:

Inline replies. In keeping with the Metro-like simplification ideals that permeate Office 2013, Outlook provides inline replies by default, rather than opening another window.

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Navigation bar with Peeks. The Outlook navigation bar has been moved to the bottom off the application window and now provides pop-up “Peek” access to email, calendar, people, and tasks.

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People, not contacts. Outlook’s contacts module has been renamed to People to make it more consistent with Microsoft’s other contacts management solutions. A new People card provides a single view for contacts with multiple accounts.

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Windows 8 notifications. Outlook notifications don’t just look like Metro notifications on Windows 8, they are Metro notifications, and it integrates right into the Notification settings interface like an actual Metro app.

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Hotmail integration. Outlook now natively supports Hotmail accounts, so you no longer need to install the Outlook Connector.

Social Connector integration. Social connectors are now built into Outlook and don’t require a separate installation to see updates from users via Facebook, LinkedIn, and other networks.

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Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) support. Outlook is now a full EAS client and can accept push updates for email, contacts, calendar accounts.

Site mailboxes. If you’re using both SharePoint and Exchange—which you are with an Office 365 account, hint, hint—you can set up a special email folder for everyone on a team; this folder can also contain documents.

Side-by-side deployment. In a first for Outlook, you can install Outlook 2013 side-by-side with a previous version of Outlook.

Weather bar. Answering a frequent user request, Microsoft has added weather updates to Calendar.

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