Communicating online has never been so crucial, or indeed so widespread, as it is today. Recent studies revealed that a staggering 210 BILLION emails are sent every day, which equates to over 2 million per second!

Advances in software technology have revolutionised the way people communicate with each other, making it quick and simple to get in touch with someone on the other side of the world and removing hassle and uncertainty for countless businesses. As a result, typewritten letters and faxes now feel like relics from a bygone age.

For this reason Outlook has always been one of the most popular and enduring of all Microsoft products. Its reliability and day-to-day importance ensuring its place as the number one email package in the world.

Yet Microsoft Outlook is not just about sending and receiving messages. Many of its users do not fully understand or take advantage of the many other features that the programme has to offer. The enhanced 2007 version in particular is brimming with new and exciting ways to manage your working life.

Included in Microsoft Outlook are a calendar, task manager, note taker, contact manager, journal and web browser. All of these functions can be used in conjunction with your email account to systematically organise your communications. Once you receive an email it does not just have to sit there; there are numerous methods available for logging, categorising and incorporating it into your working routine.

For example, selecting an email's flag icon incorporates the message into your calendar, allowing you to plan when to reply or action any information that it contains. Likewise there is an option to colour code specific emails on your calendar enabling you both to prioritise and see at a glance what needs actioning.

Composing a message doesn't have to be boring either. In keeping with Microsoft's commitment to glamming up their products there is now greater facility to insert photographs and highlight text. There is even a translator and thesaurus to make your email look as stylish and professional as possible. A new live preview option allows you to keep track of any changes before you click to send.

Security is a growing concern for computer users and a favoured method of disseminating viruses is through bogus email attachments. Happily, Outlook goes a long way towards stamping this out by putting a warning system in place for suspicious emails that blocks them from loading until verified. Outlook's new Trust Center allows you to select varying degrees of security setting for specific content, meaning greater peace of mind when opening up those attachments.

And those attachments are now easier to read than ever with improved integration across the Microsoft Office suite. Excel, Power Point and Word attachments can be opened and read within the message allowing you to respond more quickly than ever to fast moving developments.

While we may use Microsoft Outlook primarily for quick and easy communication, it is well worth becoming familiar with these enhanced features as they can greatly aid organisation and professionalism within the working environment.

Go on, get to know your Outlook better.