I’ve just upgraded my computer to Office 2007 (from the 2003 version which most people here still use) and one of the better features in this upgrade is the addition of a RSS feed to my Outlook system. In the 2007 version of Outlook, the RSS feed is located in the folder menu, under your Inbox. If you click on the folder, it will open a message in your view screen describing the features it offers. It is then an easy operation to click and add RSS feeds to your Outlook system.
But that begs the question. What is an RSS feed? RSS stands for “really simple syndication” and it represents a means for websites to easily share headlines and stories from other sites. Those of us surfing the web then can use something called an “aggregator” to collect those feeds and read them at our leisure. The Outlook program has its own aggregator, so that it can collect stories from the sites you tell it to. In my case, I have stories that come in from MicroSoft on the use of PowerPoint, Excel, and Word, and I also have the New York Times, Washington Post and MSN news linked. The stories go into folders for each newspaper and program, and I can then open and read at my pleasure, or simply delete a story if I do not want to read it.
RSS was actually invented by Netscape as a means to have an XML format to obtain news stories from other sites (because if they relied only their own reporters, of which they had few if any, there would be no stories to post). In order for a web story to be able to become an RSS feed, it has to have certain characteristics, which for the purpose of this article I need not describe (but which can be seen at http://webdesign.about.com/od/rss/a/what_is_rss.htm). What we are concerned with is adding the feed to our Outlook system, and for that purpose let me quote the system:
“Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a way for content publishers to make news, blogs, and other content available to subscribers. You can view RSS content in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. Using RSS, publishers can make content and updates available for download by subscribers automatically. The content on all Web sites is not available as an RSS Feed, but the list is growing daily.
How does RSS work in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007?
RSS readers, such as the one built into Office Outlook 2007, allow you to subscribe to RSS Feeds and then read content or follow links for additional information. Whenever you see a link to a feed, or an RSS icon such as the one at the top of this page, just click. Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 will automatically subscribe you to that RSS Feed.
Using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to subscribe to an RSS Feed is quick and easy and does not involve a registration process or fee. After you subscribe to an RSS Feed, headlines will appear in your RSS folders. RSS items appear similar to mail messages. When you see a headline that interests you, just click or open the item. For more information, read how to add an RSS feed to Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and how to read your subscribed RSS feeds. Below is a sample of the many feeds you can subscribe to from around the world. Click on the links that interest you and Outlook will subscribe to them.”
This is an easy way for you to keep up with all new feeds from whatever sites you frequent, and I highly recommend you take advantage of this tool to do so. It is a huge timesaver.