Share Me!

Our motto here in Outlook land is "Sharing Means Caring".  Okay, not really, but it's still a good virtue, and one we've grasped in several locations in Outlook 12.  🙂

What do I mean?  Let's say you're subscribed to a really interesting RSS feed, like Gizmodo, or even some obscure feed that no one has ever heard of.  You think the feed is great, and decide that you'd love to tell a friend about it.

How would you tell them about it using Outlook 12 Beta 1?  You would have to...

  1. Go to Tools: Accounts: RSS
  2. Open 'Subscription Options" for the individual feed
  3. Copy the URL for the feed's XML file
  4. Close all those windows.
  5. Open a new mail message
  6. Paste in the URL.
  7. Type in your message and address it.
  8. Send the mail.

Then, when you're recipient gets the mail, they would have to copy the URL and manually paste it into their Account Manager to subscribe to the feed.

Well, doesn't this sound better:

  1. Right-click on any RSS item.
  2. Choose "Share this subscription" to create a new Sharing Message.
  3. Enter the recipient's email address and type a message into the body.
  4. Click Send.

You're done!  The Sharing Message is a new message type in Outlook 12 that lets you easily "Tell a Friend" about any RSS feed, SharePoint list, or subscribed Internet Calendar.  The message is a new type in Outlook 12 with its own custom UI:

It packages up all the information about the RSS, Internet Calendar, or SharePoint subscription and puts it right into the message.  It eliminates all of the hassle of manually copying the URL, plus when the user receives the message they get a special "Add this subscription to Outlook" button that allows them to instantly subscribe to the resource.  Sweet!

You can also think about this from a corporate scenario, and how content managers can easily blast out a Sharing Message to many users that would allow them to easily subscribe to a new internal SharePoint site or link it into Outlook, add a new RSS feed that is a company newsletter, or even sign-up for an external calendar that tracks a conference or release schedule.

Get ready to share!

Comments (62)
  1. Dean Harding says:

    Does this only work when talking to Exchange, or does it create a new MIME Content-Type? If so, is it documented anywhere so other email UAs can at least parse the data and let the user do a similar thing to Outlook?

  2. Deepak says:

    This is great. I read about the ‘Windows RSS Platform’; is Outlook 12 compliant? It seems IE 7 and Outlook 12 use different platforms as they do not share the feeds. Share Me! should also work between Microsoft Applications.

  3. beeb says:

    I see Microsoft still employs 5-year-old design consultants to decide on UIs.

    MS designers, *WHAT* are you thinking!?

  4. OMG says:

    This is the most insane UI I have ever seen. Seriously.

  5. says:

    Outlook 12’s GUI – Too many words (and buttons), all of them negative….

  6. Rick says:

    Is it really gonna be that ugly. That’s about the most cluttered and ugly interface I’ve ever seen. I know it makes sense, it is from M$

  7. Keith Williams says:

    Uh, whatever happened to ‘plain-text’ email?  Jesus Christ folks, it looks like more than 40% of the screen real estate here is dedicated to controls.  Email composition is NOT THE SAME as document composition.  I want to communicate a message, not write a paper.

  8. Michael says:

    To my eyes, this is a horrific interface. I will never use it, and I’m beginning to suspect that Ubuntu is in my future. Sorry, Microsoft.

  9. Don says:

    Looking at it now makes anyone puke. But I’m sure there’s a "Switch to Simple Interface" button somewhere for people who just need a no nonsense email client. But if there’s no user-accessible control to choose what layout they want, then Outlook sucks!

    Besides, who actually takes time to stylize their emails anyway?

  10. Tyson says:

    Please tell me that’s not the final interface for Outlook. Please.

    You can’t be serious.

    This reminds me of the mid 90s when small-time developers had to put every single feature in to a "toolbar" button.

    Word 6 for Mac, anyone?

  11. Gabriel Jeffrey says:

    i just hugged my mac.

  12. mbaudis says:

    mac os x (all cocoa programs, e.g. safari, camino…):

    1. highlight address

    2. services – mail – send selection

    3. type/select adressee in the automatically generated mail

    4. cmd-shift-d

    to gabriel jeffrey: i don’t hug my macs. but if i would have to use outlook …

  13. BadAquaRipOff says:

    Deep down, you’re seriously proud of this!?

  14. fledgnet says:

    Caution: Microsoft UI must be taken with 1000mg of dramamine and plenty of water!

  15. Blark Siglovski says:

    I, too, dislike many Microsoft-designed user interfaces, but I think the rest of you people are mean and uncouth.

  16. AL says:

    I don’t like this UI much either but beyond the ‘new’ toolbar it’s pretty much the same. MS programs have always had extensive toolbar customisation so it’s probably not a huge deal to tone it down to something reasonable.

    Obviously they need to re-think the default toolbar layout though – it’s the incosistent grouping and sizing that really throws the user…

  17. hijack says:

    Has this interface done well in usability analysis? My immediate reaction to this is "gads!", but I also know that the general public sometimes reacts positively to things that I consider counterintuitive.

  18. Gareth says:

    All Microsoft interfaces are awful. I don’t see why the new Outlook should be any different. There are just so many options, buttons, folders, toolbars. To me it is unusable. I am interested in the new ‘ribbon’ interface, but from what I have seen I am not hopeful.

  19. Paul D says:

    6 distinct button styles, three drop-down menu styles, text menus and icon menus jumbled together, 70% of real-estate taken by inessential widgets and controls … and that shiny metal style pulls your eyes into the top middle where there is no data or functionality. Design by committee?

  20. Jonathan says:

    In fact, that’s the way the whole brand new Office 12 it’s gonna look like:

    It is already in Beta 1

  21. Christoph says:

    … thanks god, I use mac and mail …

  22. mattrothcline says:

    This is not the final look & feel of the UI, folks.

    See the second section, "The Visual Design of the Ribbon is Stolen From Mac OS X!"

  23. jens says:


    Im starting to think this is some sort of a joke just to trigger Mac freaks into posting comments on how bad the UI design is… please tell me so

  24. bert says:

    I think not only mac-user "smile" about the design …

  25. Blark Siglovski:

    I don’t think people are being uncouth. They are just stating that they think this interface is butt-ugly. I don’t get it. Perhaps it works better than it looks…

    Microsoft is an incredibly succesful company, undoubtedly with lots of incredibly talented people. They could do so much more than this half-assed excuse for an interface overhaul.

    And a big, whopping, DOUBLE-HUH regarding the "Share RSS" example.

    In ALL the browsers I know, I would:

    1) Right-Click on the XML Link in the Blog or to the permalink if we are talking about a single post

    2) Click "Send Link"

    3) enter the Email-adress in whatever email-client I use and  click the send-button.

    Also, In even the most inanely designed RSS-readers I know, it doesn’t take any more clicks. On what planet are any other steps necessary?

  26. Matt Turner says:

    Either of these sound better to me…

    (long method)

    1. You open or click on the link in Safari

    2. go file>mail link or use the shortcut (Shift+Command+I)

    3. Type in the recipients mail address and email it to them

    (short method)

    1. Drag the ‘RSS Item’ onto the mail icon in the doc

    2. Type in the recipients mail address and email it to them

    Then the recipient

    1. Clicks the link which opens Safari (or their default rss reader)

    2. Hits Command+D to bookmark it

    BTW, what happens with all this sharing stuff if the recipient isn’t blessed with Outlook 12 / windows vista, do they get it like an ordinary link?

  27. I completely agree with Matt Turner. Thanks for pointing out the short method, BTW, I should have added that, too 🙂

    Please note that we are not trying to bash you here! (At least I’m not.) We just don’t get it. What you described in version two is nothing to be proud of, it’s the bare minimum that people have come to expect. Sometimes we users think that Microsoft developers live in a completely different universe, where usability is defined by constants unknown to common man…

    Who needs a ”sharing message”, that only people who are using the right version Outlook will see anyway? What’s so bad about just a link? Operating systems have known for ages which application to open when you click a specific type of link. Couldn’t you let Outlook quietly handle RSS links and subscriptions and just use a different style/leading icon for them, without all the extraneous fluff? Of course you can’t, because you want to "innovate" (which you haven’t done since Office 97, and Windows 2000, respectively, at least in my book).

    That would be so much more transparent… Even to the end user, who doesn’t know or give a rat’s ass what a "sharing message" is. He received a link from somebody, if he wants to look at it, he will click it anyway. If not, he won’t. Why do you have to intimadate him by inventing a completely useless way of representing what’s in essence a perfectly normal email message?

    Microsoft has -with a few exceptions- disappointed me on every front for years, perhaps even a decade, and it doesn’t look as though Vista (don’t get me started) or Office 12 will do anything to reverse that trend.

  28. Bob Heidel says:

    Sweet Jesus, what did you do that that interface? Who needs jokes to poke fun at Microsoft when their own interface people come up with designs like these?  

    Of course, the masses will slurp it down, thinking its just the greatest thing ever and MS will sell billions more, there simply is no accounting for taste and some things never change.  

  29. Please, stop letting middle management decide the fate of design, Microsoft — this is another setback… what makes you think that because you think it looks good, you know what looks good; from this UI to ie7

  30. Blark Siglovski says:

    Michael Strök:

    Point taken. Microsoft’s UI’s are indeed an affront to the world not only asthetically but in terms of usability. And due to the company’s monopolistic business practices, these painfully ugly and inefficient systems are being forced upon innocent people and costing incalculable loss of creative energy across the globe. (Not me; I turn down job offers that won’t let me use a Mac. But there are many victims who simply don’t know better or have no choice.)

    Still, though, comments like: "I see Microsoft still employs 5-year-old design consultants to decide on UIs" kind of lower the level of discourse.

    Let us all continue to feel smug and superior to thug microsoft and their oddly unattractive and outrageously un-usable interfaces, without namecalling. I’m just saying, there was kind of a nasty tone developing and I don’t think "group of people who care about great design and usability" necessarily has to overlap that much with "group of people who are surly and fanatical," even though I am indeed offended by Microsoft on many levels, including primally.

  31. Brian says:

    "Still, though, comments like: "I see Microsoft still employs 5-year-old design consultants to decide on UIs" kind of lower the level of discourse."

    No, Microsoft creating that UI lowers the level of discourse. This is a jillion-dollars-a-day corporation. They can afford to make good products. They choose not to. That kind of comment is absolutely appropriate.

  32. luke says:

    my eyes are literally bleeding

    It has little to do with that UI. Actually I lied, it has Everything to do with that UI

  33. Fred says:

    What an abhorent user interface.

  34. Sandra Mueller says:

    About RSS:

    Two things that I would like to see altered.

    1.  When loading the links an IE browser opened to a blank screen.  By the time I was done with the Office 2007 RSS feeds I had a dozen browsers going across the screen.

    2.  RSS feed messages are included in my new mail count for the inbox.  Wish they were separate.  


  35. Matt says:

    i think the UI deserves some appreciation. so…

    are you kidding… that is the worst f***n’ UI i have ever seen…

    Sharing an RSS link is that buga a deal??? WTF?

  36. Tim says:

    It amazes me the number of people who’ve commented here who spout ignorance with pride.

    First, the new UI is a PLACEHOLDER. It’s not pretty, but it’s inteded to show the general concepts of the new user interface rather than be pretty. Beta 2 will apparently have a new look and feel, but conceptually it will be the same.

    Second, the new UI has been MASSIVELY usability tested. And, speaking as someone who has been playing about with Beta 1 for several months, it’s amazingly intuitive and easy to use. I’m not a beginner, and accessing features which were once limited to "advanced" users is now so easy that anyone can use them.

    So, rather than have a jerk reaction to something which you’ve never used and only seen a screenshot of, maybe you should shut the hell up until you’ve thought about it a little bit. The blog at explains a lot about the whys and hows of the new UI.

    Finally, I should stress that pictures do NOT do the UI justice. Until you’ve seen it in action your opinion is invalid.

  37. Dylan says:

    "Finally, I should stress that pictures do NOT do the UI justice. Until you’ve seen it in action your opinion is invalid."

    So why have a screenshot to show "its own custom UI"?

  38. Tim says:

    The screenshot in this case was showing the RSS attachment, not showcasing the new UI. Maybe every screenshot should be a video, but I doubt that’s practical or necessary.

  39. Michael Affronti hat in seinem Blog einen Screenshot einer zukünftigen Version von Outlook veröffentlicht. Auf den ersten Blick stellt sich mir da die Frage, weshalb man in „Outlook land“ so viele Bedienelemente in einem

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