Collaborating With Office 2003- Our Outlook

Outlook 2003 is also an impressively capable team player. Whenever you attach a file to an e-mail, Outlook offers to put the file in a SharePoint document workspace instead. This makes it easier for all intended recipients to work together on the same version.

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In addition, calendaring and scheduling are significantly improved. We like the program’s new side-by-side calendar feature, which let us view another user’s available dates and times next to our own. While users could negotiate a meeting in previous versions, there’s nothing like being able to view someone’s entire day planner to simplify scheduling. Team calendars are also available so that you can view upcoming events and appointments for your workgroup.

You and You but not You

To protect shared Office documents from falling into the wrong hands, support for information rights management (IRM) comes as standard equipment here. (For those not running the IRM component, Microsoft offers a Passport-based hosting service to authenticate users.) Available from within the File menu of each Office application, as well as from within the Shared Workspace, the documents can be marked as available for certain users only or marked “do not distribute.” We marked an Excel budget as available only to selected users, and it could not be viewed by those outside a simulated group of managers. (Examining the raw bytes of this file proved that it was indeed encrypted.) By using digital keys to match user identities to content, Office 2003 can ensure your company’s intellectual property remains safe.

There is the briefest glimpse here of Microsoft’s future plans for trusted computing, which locks down programs as well as content (though at the operating-system level) based on a user’s digital identity. If your organization makes use of IRM, who you are determines what you can view and access in Office 2003.

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January 2011
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