Outlook 2003 Client Features

Tiger Feet…

A couple of weeks ago, one of my CRM 2011 prospects asked for details about which features are/aren’t available when using older versions of desktop software. Like many large enterprises their standard desktop is based on Windows XP & Office 2003, and although they are planning a Windows 7 rollout, this won’t be ready for another 12-18 months.

The problem is that all the CRM marketing material I’ve seen shows CRM with the latest and greatest versions of Windows 7, Outlook 2010 and IE 8 or 9, and I wasn’t entirely sure what features would be available when running previous versions. So I spun up a new CRM Online 30-day trial, and built a fresh Hyper-V virtual machine running Windows XP SP3, Office 2003 SP3 and Internet Explorer 7.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the majority of CRM 2011 features are in-tact, with a couple of exceptions:

  • Outlook Ribbon – Although Outlook 2003 uses menus (remember them?) instead of the more recent Office fluent UI (a.k.a. the ribbon), CRM 2011 gives you context-sensitive menus, which change depending on which entity you are working with.
  • Outlook Preview Pane – Unfortunately, Outlook 2003 does not provide this capability, so you don’t get to preview CRM records when navigating views.
  • Outlook Conditional Formatting, Follow-up and Categories – One real innovation made possible with Outlook 2010 is the use of native MAPI grids to surface CRM views. By using these native features, you get access to rich Outlook features for free.


In order to bring this to life for my prospect, I put together a PowerPoint presentation containing a number of screenshots of the core CRM 2011 functionality with Outlook 2003. I thought this might be useful to the wider community, so I have attached a copy for you here.

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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CRM 2011 + Office 2003.zip

Comments (9)

  1. Ross Lotharius says:

    Thanks Simon!  This post is very helpful!

  2. Albert Porrà says:

    Great job Simon. It will be very usefull for us in our presentations.

  3. Martin Svensson says:


    What a nice presentation. I am currently trying to configure CRM 2011 with win XP and Outlook 2003. What I am missing is the ability to use the function "convert to" for incoming emails. Do you know if this feature isn´t availible in Outlook 2003?

    I want to be able to convert incoming emails to case in CRM.



  4. Simon Hutson says:

    Hi Martin. Unfortunately the one button click to Convert to Lead, Opportunity or Case is only available with Outlook 2010.

  5. Martin Svensson says:

    Thanks for such a quick reply!

    Ok, thats what I was afraid of. Any suggestion for a work around on this issue? I am thinking perhaps a workflow that creates a "case" whenever a new email is received in CRM?

  6. Simon Hutson says:

    Martin, yes you could implement e-mail-to-case workflow quite easily.

  7. Martin Svensson says:

    Simon, ok yes that sounds like a plan, but how do I get the original email to be included under closed activities when looking at the case?

  8. Simon Hutson says:

    Martin, take a look at these posts to get some ideas of what can be done with & without code. Although the examples are CRM 4.0, they should be good for CRM 2011 as well.



    Regards, Simon

  9. Adam Pope says:

    Integrating Outlook 2003 with MS CRM 2011…beware of the limitations.

    I recently upgraded a client from MS CRM 4.0 to MS CRM 2011, I also upgraded the Outlook Client on all 300 users at the same time. The users were all running Outlook 2003 on XP which I was told could handle the new MS CRM 2011 Outlook Client.

    Day 1 we started getting lots of calls about very slow performance, missing Track buttons and Copy and Paste not working, non of which showed itself in the Test environment we have been running.

    We resolved the the performance issues by rolling out a bunch of registry setting to make Outlook less processor intensive on the Users PC's, there are a few papers and suggestion out there on this. But, the random button performance I couldn't solve. Then the eureka moment; I was running a trace on friendly users machine when I noticed a Word document open with a "Track in CRM" button sat on the top left corner. I thought that was strange but led me to check what Editor the user had set in Outlook and it was "Word".

    Bingo, if you are using Word as your Email editor and have a Word Document open when you do a New Email the Track buttons will appear in the Word document not the Email. I also found that by not using Word as my editor the Copy Paste problem went away.

    I contacted Microsoft Support and they confirmed that there is a limitation when using Outlook 2003 and Word as your editor.

    The client is moving to Windows 7 and Office 2010 in the next few months so we will need to educate the users until the new kit arrives.

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