Gettin’ crafty with reading RSS feeds

There are several cool ways you leverage Outlook's folder management and search infrastructure to improve the way you view RSS feeds inside the application.  They range from the simple, like creating subfolders, to the complex, like using search folders to find key terms.  Here's a look at some of the ways I use these techniques to read my RSS feeds in Outlook...

Folder Management

The simplest thing you can do is use Outlook's standard folder management to organize your feeds by criteria you choose.  Here, I have added a few organizational folders for my feeds to group them by type:

This lets me easily group the numerous feeds I can be subscribed to at any one point in time.

Search Folders

Outlook 12 ships with a powerful new Search platform for explicit queries that is also used for Search Folders.  You can now perform powerful searches on RSS feeds using the Full Text Engine and easily monitor thousands of feed items for specific keywords.

I subscribe to approximatley one hundred feeds in my default Outlook profile, and there is obviously no way to read all of the new items during the course of a day.  What I've done is create two Search Folders to help me out:

Search Folder 1: "Today's News"
This Search Folder queries all of my feeds and displays just the new, unread posts from today.  Whenever I have a few spare minutes I love to go in this folder and just read the news from my favorite blogs and ezines.  As I read an article the item disappears out of the search folder since it's read/unread status automatically changes to unread.

To create this search folder, it's a simple setup using our Search Folder criteria selector:

When you view the Search Folder, the best part is being able to group by folder, as I then get a really easy roll-up view to view today's RSS items:

Search Folder 2: "RSS Watcher"
I subscribe to lots of RSS feeds from sites that can potentially be discussing Microsoft Office, my product Outlook, or any of several topics that I consider really important (search technologies, RSS, tagging, etc.).  Instead of having to wade through all of them, or even do explicit searches inside of each feed's folder, I have a Search Folder that I call my "RSS Watcher". 

This Search Folder goes over all of the feeds that I'm subscribed to, and only pulls the unread items out that have certain keywords in them:

Which results in a nice roll-up view that I then sort-by folder:

Hope those provide some interesting ways to think about how RSS aggregation in Outlook can more tightly integrated into your daily information workflow.  In my next post I'll focus on how to use Rules and Alerts to easily bring relevent feeds to a specific folder, and enable a bunch of other cool scenarios.

Comments (10)

  1. Alex Yakhnin says:


    Is there any way to import feeds from OPML into Outlook 12?

  2. michaelaffronti says:

    Yes, the ability to import and export OPML lists is built right in to our Import/Export wizard.

  3. Colin Walker says:

    Great ideas Michael. I’ve been having some issues with the aggregator and certain feeds but will re-evaluate this with the B1TR build and see how I go.

  4. Will there be any way to import existing RSS repositories into your folder structure? For example, I’m currently using Omea Reader. If I switched to using the new Outlook RSS reader, I’d like to import all the posts I’ve previously downloaded into Outlook for indexing and future reference.

  5. Pete Miller says:

    This is more of an Exchange / Pocket Outloook question:

    Will feeds sync to a mobile device, and be included as part of the DirectPush updates?

  6. Pete,

    that is currently possible. you can subscribe to every folder in outlook to be synced with the mobile. just add there some rss feeds….

  7. Pete Miller says:

    Thanks Chris, but I meant will Exchange "12" download any new RSS items and push them to those folders so that a mobile device will get them, or does Outlook 2007 have to be running somewhere with my mailbox open?

    If Exchange could receive RSS directly that would be killer.

  8. Adam says:

    Great blog!

    1. Can you subscribe to Authenticated feeds in Outlook 12?

    2. Also Newsgator has a Size limit on the URL for RSS feeds which is 256 characters…not too helpful for longer feeds (i.e., /feedgenerator.aspx?date=newposts&categories=longcategorynames[…]" etc. – I’m talking about you, Confluence!).

    3. O.T. – Please make it easier to open and manage pst "archives" (a friend in the beta group complained this wasn’t possible without crashing in B1 which I assume is temporary…but making it easier to do overall would be nice as many people have to archive due to exchange storage restrictions or just for organization’s sake).

    4. Any ETA on when Office 12 will go out to MSDN subscribers?

  9. I did this recently as I wanted to move off RSS Bandit to Outlook 2007 as my main RSS aggregator. For

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