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November 7, 2007

Save Time and Eliminate Spam: Integrate RSS Feeds in Outlook 2007


You’ve probably noticed these strange little icons on many websites and nearly all blogs. They come in different shapes, colors and sizes, but they all do the same thing — keep you updated with the latest available content from your favorite sites!

This is one of my favorite features in the new Outlook 2007 and I’m here to tell you all about it!

RSS Feed Icons

For those of you who are new to RSS feeds, let me start with a short explanation of this awesomely convenient and time saving technology.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it represents technology that automatically transmits new content from a site directly to you. It basically eliminates the time you would have to spend checking that site for new content.

With RSS all new updates are sent directly to you. And with Outlook 2007 you have access to them right next to your inbox!

RSS or Email?

So now you’re thinking: what’s the point of RSS when I can get the same information through an email subscription. Right?

Well, not exactly. Email works great in many situations, but if you’re looking for updates on content, there are several things that make RSS better than an ordinary email subscription.

For one thing, with RSS you’re not giving your email address to anyone, so the website you’re subscribing to does not have access to your email address. If you want to stop receiving updates all you have to do is click and it’s done! You don’t have to go through the hassle of contacting the site to be taken off the email list.

Another big advantage is — absolutely no more spam! With RSS no one has access to your email and no one can send you anything you don’t want. All you get is clean content from your favorite sites!

Let RSS Do The Work For You!

RSS is also a great time saver! Instead of bookmarking your favorite sites and coming back to them to check for new content, the content is send directly to you as soon as it becomes available.

All you have to do is read it at your own convenience and you never miss a thing. You’re also eliminating the time you would spend going to a site that doesn’t update on a regular basis by seeing the same information multiple times.

With RSS you are in control! You get to tell your favorite sites to send you the updates as soon as they’re available and you get to read the ones you choose at your own convenience. And while you’re saving time you’re also increasing your information consumption because you get notified every time the site is updated.

So if you’re ready to try out RSS in your Outlook 2007 keep reading! In this article I will show you:

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Outlook

There are a few different ways that you can add an RSS feed to your Outlook — all of which are really easy. A couple of simple ways that I use are: through your Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and through Windows Internet Explorer 7 — in either case your feeds will be accessible to you in your Outlook and Internet Explorer.

Adding an RSS Feed through Outlook 2007

To simplify things, I will be using Train Signal Training as an example, but you can do this with any other website that offers as RSS feed.

1. Locate the website you want to grab a feed from, and click the RSS icon. On Train Signal Training the icon is located in the top left corner of the screen, and it looks like this:

TST RSS Button/Tab

2. Next open your Outlook, go to Tools and click on Account Settings

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3. Choose the RSS Feeds tab and click New

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4. A dialogue box will pop up that says: Enter the location of the RSS feed you want to add to Outlook

This is where you enter the link from your RSS web page. So go back to the Train Signal Training page you opened in step # 1 — copy the link and paste it in the dialogue box:

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5. After your link is in, click Add and then Okay. That’s it, you’re done! The RSS feed that you just added is now in a nifty little folder, below your Inbox, labeled RSS Feeds

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Note: Once you’ve done this once, you can also add new RSS feeds by right clicking on the RSS Feeds folder in your Outlook and selecting Add a New RSS Feed

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Doing this automatically takes you to step # 4 where you enter the link to the RSS feed in the dialogue box.

Adding RSS Feeds through Internet Explorer 7

This option works only if you have Outlook 2007 and Internet Explorer 7, and there are two ways of doing this — both very easy. Once again, I’ll be using Train Signal Training as an example, but you can do the same with any site.

1. Locate the site you want to grab an RSS feed from, and find the RSS icon on your toolbar, which looks like this:

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If the website does not have a feed, the RSS icon will be grayed out and will look like this:

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2. If the RSS icon on your toolbar is orange, click it and a list of all available RSS feeds for that particular website will be displayed. Usually there will only be one, but some sites have more than one feed

3. Choose the RSS feed you want to add and click on Subscribe to this feed

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Note: Another way to do this is to skip steps # 1 and # 2. Instead, find the website you want to subscribe to, click on the RSS icon that’s located on the site and click Subscribe to this feed

The RSS feed that you just added is now available in your Outlook and in your Favorites Center on your toolbar under Feeds:

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Reading and Sharing Your RSS Feeds in Outlook

Reading your RSS feeds in Outlook is easy — it’s just like reading your email! Your feeds are all in their individual folders right below your inbox and each new update is sent to you just like any other email message.

The cool thing is that you have the option of sharing an interesting update that you’ve found. All you have to do is open the RSS article you want to share by clicking it (just like you would open an email), then locate the Share This Feed button at the top:

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Once you’ve done that, you can share the article by entering the email address of the person you want to send this article to – it’s just like forwarding an email message in Outlook:

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Click Send and you’re done!

Managing and Cancelling RSS Feeds in Outlook

Managing your RSS feeds in Outlook is very similar to managing your Inbox – except most of the work is already done for you!

Your RSS Feeds folder in Outlook is already organized for you. All your feeds are neatly stored in labeled folders, and this is done automatically when you subscribe to a feed. You can rename the folders just as you would any other folder in Outlook (right click on the folder and select rename).

To cancel your RSS subscription all you have to do is delete the folder associated with that particular RSS Feed, just as you would delete any other folder in Outlook. But beware: doing this also deletes all the items that were in that folder!

If you want to cancel a subscription to an RSS feed and keep all the content from that folder, follow these steps:

1. In Outlook, go to Tools and click Account Settings

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2. Select the RSS Feeds tab and under the Feed Name select the feed you want to cancel by clicking it – which will highlight the title of the feed you want to cancel

3. Click Remove and you’re done!

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There is a lot more you can do with RSS Feeds, but I hope this gets you to a good start. RSS can be a great time saver, it’s convenient and it will get you to read more too!

Now you don’t have an excuse for missing my next article! Follow the above steps and grab our RSS Feed!

Accomplish More With Your Email With Outlook 2007 Training Videos!

Outlook 2007 Training

The new Outlook 2007 has more features and gives you more control — if you know how to use it. Some of the topics covered in the training include:

– Installing and setting up your profile
– Personalizing the Outlook 2007 Interface
– Effectively organizing your information
– Using third party add-ons to increase productivity
– Managing calendars, meetings, tasks, contacts, distribution lists
– and more!

If you’re ready to take advantage of everything the new Outlook has to offer check out Microsoft Outlook 2007 Training Videos!

About the Author

served as the editor-in-chief of the TrainSignal blog from 2007 - 2012. In addition to covering a variety of topics, including IT certification, training and technology news, Kasia was also responsible for the content strategy and website management at TrainSignal. You can connect with Kasia on Twitter @kasialorenc.