Suck it, Outlook 2003

Among all the unbelievably retarded things to be associated with MS Outlook and Exchange, like the unusable search, the ridiculously slow and inefficient everything, completely useless view customization, and so on, this tiny little thing is what takes the cake. It might seem minor in comparison to everything else that’s wrong, but this just made me want to go into the woods and hide.

Typing a normal plain text e-mail. Select four lines of text, hit [Tab]. Text is replaced with a tab. :smack: Doh! Ok, let’s do it the Microsoft way. Hit [Ctrl-Z], select the same four lines of text, click the “Indent” button on the toolbar.

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

Screw fighting ignorance when sanity is losing ground every day.

I probably lack the required vitriol, but while I too detest the underpowered search (Thunderbird is waaay better), I most dislike the occasional dialogue asking if I would like to AutoArchive my mail. If it’s going to speed things up and I won’t notice, just do it automatically. If this means I’ll have to look somewhere else for my mail, or I might accidentally delete it, or something, explain that to me somewhere, otherwise I’ll just click “No” forever. :rolleyes:

On the search thing, Google Desktop is worth installing purely for the Outlook plugin; it’s truly magnificent. Well, the plugin interface isn’t great actually, but the sheer pace and thoroughness relative to the native search is like night and day.

As for the formatting thing, the indent button’s greyed out for me when using plain text composition; I’m not sure why it’s not for you. And I wouldn’t have necessarily expected highlighting+TAB to indent stuff, either; it sounds like you’re expecting (admittedly useful) behaviour from some other software to be present in every editor you use. I agree it’d be nice, but the behaviour you describe is at least consistent - TAB is a character like any other, and the standard Windows behaviour when you highlight text and type a character is to replace the former with the latter.

Nanoda: Go Tools…Options. Select the “Other” tab, and hit the “Autoarchive” button. Turn it off (either Autoarchive completely, or just the dialogue box).

I’m not sure what your gripe is, either. As Badger mentioned, Tab is a character, when you highlight things and type a character, it should be expected to replace.

When you’re using plain text for your email, many formatting options are rightfully disabled, because it’s plain text. Indent is a fancy function, and doesn’t have a place in plain text. You should be thrilled that Microsoft was nice enough to actually give you an understandable reason as to why indent is disabled, instead of just greying out the button.

Fighting Ignorance - If you want 4 lines indented in a plain text document, put a Tab character at the front of each line.

Lookout for Outlook is a somewhat more comprehensive Search function.

Well, what he wants is a common enough behaviour in other editors, particularly ones aimed at programmers, who often have the need to move large blocks of text in and out a tab stop or two. Essentially it’s a shortcut for doing exactly what you describe, namely putting a TAB character at the start of each line.

I can’t really see its utility in written documents, though, particularly ones which are displayed using soft line-wrapping, and then get hard-wrapped (which is precisely what happens to plain text emails). In an IDE individual lines are distinct: no reasonable editor should wrap lines without making it very clear it’s doing so; it’s up to the programmer to make sure his lines don’t get ridiculously long. So the highlight+TAB behaviour is well defined: all lines get moved across one tab stop.

In the Outlook email editor, however, what shows up as four lines of text may be (in fact is almost certainly, assuming you just typed it) just one that’s been soft-wrapped to fit the editor window. So what’s the behaviour when you select those “four” lines and hit TAB? Do you just get one tab at the start of the soft-wrapped line, or do you arbitrarily hard-wrap the block into four real lines, and indent those? Where do you put the line break; where they appear to be wrapped on your screen, or at the customary 76 character mark? (This could mean you end up with more than four lines.) In a wrapped environment, all of this is unclear, and leads to wildly divergent results, meaning the user can’t really know what to expect when he hits TAB. Not great from a usability point of view.

Essentially the only reason I can see for wanting this feature in an email composer is if you’re writing code directly in your emails. In this case, surely it’s easier to write it in the IDE of your choice, and C&P? That way you get all your usual auto-formatting to boot…

You know, what I would expect with a word-wrapped plaintext environment is that it puts a tab in front of every line. Hell if you want to replace text with a tab character when you press [Tab] fine, but Ctrl-I or Ctrl-] or a toolbar button should still do this.

Think about it, either you are going to have manually inserted line breaks and then all lines will get indented – reasonable, or you will have about a paragraph of text per line word-wrapped into a paragraph and then first lines of every paragraph will be indented - also reasonable. The reason I had to indent a block in the first place WAS because I copy pasted code and Outlook ate all the plain text formatting.

TextPad which I use as a notepad replacement (but not really for code editing) can handle this advanced task word-wrap or no word-wrap. I have to keep in mind though that Microsoft is between a rock and a hard place. I have to remember this crucial paragraph that shaped how we interact with Windows computers to this day (i.e. we’re using pink circles of paper and safety scissors instead of ruled legal pads and Xacto knives)

From The Windows® 95 User Interface: A Case Study in Usability Engineering