Power to the People
At the heart of Outlook Social Connector is the People Pane. By default, this pane appears below the Reading Pane in an e-mail message or at the bottom of the screen when viewing a contact, a calendar meeting, or other Outlook item. The People Pane is the hub of social activity within Outlook, and this is where you can view all the network information related to a particular person (see Figure 1). You can also connect the People Pane to SharePoint and use it to see status and document updates from other SharePoint users.
Figure 1 The email message’s People Pane highlighted.
The People Pane adopts the context in which it appears. So if you’re in an e-mail message, you can click on a particular personsuch as the person who sent the e-mailand view all of their network information. The People Pane has links to view the following information:
- All Items: All activity and messages. Clicking this link shows any Outlook information related to the person such as e-mails, meetings, etc., as well as social network status updates, RSS feeds, and so on. You don’t need to set up anything special for the Outlook information to appear.
- Activities: Activity from the social network sites to which you’re connected.
- Mail: Shows all messages received from the person. Each message is a hyperlink that you can click to view the message contents.
- Attachments: Shows all attachments that you have received from the person. Each attachment is a hyperlink that you can click to view the message containing the attachment.
- Calendar: Shows all upcoming meetings with the person.
- Status Updates: Any status updates recently posted on the social network.
If you don’t see the People Pane in Outlook, you may either have the Reading Pane turned off or the People Pane turned off. Here’s how you can fix both of those problems:
- To enable the Reading Pane, click the View menu, click Reading Pane, and select a location.
- To enable the People Pane, click the View menu, click People Pane, and select how you wish to view it.
Although the People Pane is a great feature, it has a bit of a 1.0 feel to it. For example, you can’t select what information you’d like to see in it or sort the information that it displays. Hopefully, Microsoft will enhance the People Pane in the next version of Outlook.