Outlook On the Desktop is a program that displays Outlook as a transparent, interactive object embedded in your desktop. Clicking on any control in the embedded interface will have the same effect as on that screen as they normally would, while clicking objects (such as emails) will cause the normal Outlook windows to be opened and displayed..
The premise behind Outlook on the desktop is the idea that, in order for calendaring programs to be effective and useable they need to be visible all the time, just like a real life “paper” calendar would be. Outlook on the desktop provides a fixed, transparent window embedded in your desktop that encompasses all of Outlook’s different views. Here are some notes on this program:
- Navigation: this program will place a little icon in the system tray that is used to switch between Outlook’s different views (calendar, contacts, inbox, notes, tasks). It also provides controls for resizing, moving, or hiding the embedded window. Although it definitely feels like using Outlook itself would be easier to hone in on what I want, in general it works well.
- Interactivity: your embedded Outlook actually works. You can click on a column in email view to sort by that column, resize it, etc.
- Memory use: while you do not see Outlook itself as a window or in the system tray when you run this program, it does need it to be running in the background. On my machine Outlook.exe was consuming around 40 megs of RAM, and Outlook on the desktop an additional 15 megs. If memory use is an issue you might consider doing without this program.
- Support for multiple monitors: is provided, although I had no way to test this.
If you’re looking for a way to make your Outlook’s calendar function work more effectively for you you might well give this program a try tot see if it makes a difference. However, if you thought a program like this might circumvent the need to have Outlook itself open in memory and/or simply tap into your Outlook data somehow then this is not what you’re looking for.
I’ve been using this for a few days, and my feeling is that if you’re serious about using Outlook and/or integrating it into your workday (and can afford the resouces) then you will probably like Outlook On the Desktop. For me it also had the unintended consequence of making me clean my desktop .
Compatibility: Windows 2000 or higher, Microsoft Outlook 2000 SR-1 or higher, Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (The setup program will download and install it for you if you don’t have it).
Go to the program page to get the latest version (approx 429K).