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Friday, July 8, 2011

Mozilla Thunderbird Vs Microsoft Outlook

When choosing an email client, one has a number of concerns they need to address:

- Will this client work with my email provider?
- How easy is it to use?
- Do I like the UI?
- Is it powerful enough for my mailing needs?

Many people will simply stick with web-mail clients, which affords some convenience at the cost of customization and power. For those of us looking for more control over our inboxes however, third-party mail clients are the way to go. Presently the most two mail clients I run into most are Mozilla Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook.

Thunderbird is free, and usually offers what people are looking for. The UI is simple and uncluttered, the text-editor has a rich variety of formatting options, it's relatively simple to set up, and most importantly, it uses an 'extension' system similar to Firefox. For those not familiar with Firefox's extensions, they're basically community developed add-ons to the program that add or tweak functionality. Thunderbird's extensions can be used to a variety of things, from setting up auto-response systems to automatically creating and fully indexing an address book out of an inbox. Thunderbird is a program of few weaknesses, though those accustomed to other email clients like Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes Email may have difficulty switching over at first.

Outlook tends to be what comes to mind when most people think of the "classic" email client. Most people have experienced it in some form or another, whether it be as a part of the Microsoft Office Suite or simply as the web-based Outlook Express. This really is a testament to the strength of office; the vast majority of people either have experienced it, or can learn how to use it relatively quickly. Outlook is slightly less robust in features, though is on par with, if not better than Thunderbird in text editing/formatting options. As far as setup, Microsoft has done an excellent job in streamlining the installation process, and Outlook can usually configure itself to any email service. When it can't, the Microsoft support community is there to provide guidance, covering effectively any issue that might arise.

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