Microsoft Outlook 2007 Feature Matrix Based on Exchange Server Version


Topic Last Modified: 2010-03-30

Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, the most current version of the Microsoft Exchange e-mail client, is flexible enough to be able to connect to a mailbox on any of the following versions of Exchange:

  • Microsoft Exchange 2000

  • Microsoft Exchange 2003

  • Microsoft Exchange 2007

A mailbox on an Exchange 2007 server benefits from many new Outlook features. The following features are available only when you access an Exchange 2007 mailbox by using an Outlook 2007 e-mail client. Items that are marked by an asterisk (*) indicate limited support in earlier versions of the Outlook e-mail client.

  • Autodiscover

  • Web-based Offline Address Book (OAB)

  • Availability service

  • Resource Assistant

  • Unified Messaging

  • *Out of Office Assistant

  • Managed Folders

  • *Increased Rules Limit

  • Partial Item Change Download

  • Message Classification

This topic discusses these features in detail. For more information about the client, and for a feature comparison between Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, and Outlook Web Access 2007, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

Exchange Server 2007 Product Overview

The Autodiscover service is automatically installed and configured when the Client Access Server role is installed on an Exchange 2007 server. During the configuration of the CAS role, the Autodiscover virtual directory is created under the default Web site, and a Service Connection Point object is created in Active Directory. The virtual directory and the SCP object are necessary elements of the Exchange environment because they enable Outlook 2007 clients to quickly find and communicate together with the CAS.

Depending on the client location, Outlook uses one of the following methods for communicating together with the CAS:

  • SCP object

    If you are logged into the domain, Outlook 2007 searches Active Directory for the SCP information. The SCP contains the URL to the Autodiscover service, which is then used by Outlook to contact the CAS.

  • DNS

    If you are not logged into the domain or if Outlook cannot locate an SCP object in Active Directory, Outlook tries to locate the Autodiscover service by using DNS. Based on the suffix of your SMTP address, Outlook performs makes several attempts to connect to the following hard-coded URLs:

    • http(s)://

    • http(s)://

    If Outlook can make a connection by using either of these methods, the CAS configures Outlook clients by automatically pushing down settings for the following items:

    • Mailbox server

    • UM server URL

    • OAB download location

    • Availability service URL

    • OOF URL

    • Outlook Anywhere configuration details

    • Authentication method

This information can easily be seen by using the Test E-mail AutoConfiguration tool in Outlook 2007. To access this tool, hold down the CTRL key, and then right-click the Outlook icon in the notification area.

For an overview of the Autodiscover Service, see Overview of the Autodiscover Service.

To learn about how Outlook discovery works and about how to modify an XML file to configure Autodiscover, see Outlook Automatic Account Configuration.

Autodiscover is not used by Outlook Web Access or by versions of Outlook 2007 or earlier versions. If you are connecting to an Exchange 2007 mailbox by using an Outlook 2003 client, the process is the same as connecting by using an Exchange 2003 mailbox.

Exchange Server 2007 introduces a new HTTP(s) mechanism for distributing Offline Address Book data to Outlook 2007 clients. This new OAB method does not require public folders. It does not replace the older public folder method. You can use either method to supply OAB data for Outlook 2007 and older clients. However, if you are in an Exchange 2007 environment without public folders, only the Web-download method is available for Outlook 2007 clients.

Outlook 2007 determines which OAB download method to use by using the information pushed down by the Autodiscover service. If you did not configure Exchange by using a Web OAB download, the Test E-mail AutoConfiguration tool reports "Public Folder" for the OAB URL. In this case, Outlook uses the traditional (public folder) method for downloading OAB data.

If Exchange is configured by using a Web distribution point for OAB files, the Test E-mail AutoConfiguration tool reports an HTTP(s) location for the OAB URL. In this case, Outlook retrieves OAB data from the Client Access Server.

The data that is downloaded by using the Web distribution method is the same data that is downloaded from public folders. However, the HTTP download for OAB data uses BITS technology. The BITS download mechanism is the same one that is used to download updates from the Windows Update site. This mechanism helps provide more flexible OAB downloads.

For more information about the Exchange 2007 Web-based Offline Address Books, see the following Exchange Server Team Blog article:

Depending on the existing topology, the Availability service handles your free/busy requirements in Exchange 2007. To do this, the service calculates free/busy information directly from the calendar in your mailbox.

Support for earlier versions of the Exchange Public Folder architecture is maintained to make sure that Outlook clients earlier than Outlook 2007 can still publish and retrieve free/busy information. In mixed-version client environments in which there are public folders, Outlook 2007 clients also publish free/busy information to the free/busy public folder so that down-level clients can access this information.

When Outlook 2007 starts, it locates and contacts the Autodiscover service for Exchange 2007 that is running on a server that has the CAS role. One parameter that is retrieved from Autodiscover is one or more URLs for the Availability service.

Depending on your topology, the server that is listed in the Autodiscover response might not actually retrieve the free/busy information from your mailbox server or the information about other users you invite to a meeting. For example, if you request free/busy data about a user in a different Active Directory site than your own, your local server that has the CAS role does not directly query the mailbox of the user. Instead, it directly proxies a Web request to a server that has the CAS role in the user's Active Directory site.

This proxy request resembles how Outlook requests data from the Availability service. The difference is that the proxied request has additional header data that indicates the original requesting user. This is done for security reasons. If you are scheduling a meeting together with a user whose mailbox resides on an Exchange 2003 server, the Availability service obtains the user's free/busy information from the appropriate public folder server.

The Availability service is a Web service that is built onto a common Availability API. Outlook 2007 obtains free/busy data by calling the Web service while OWA calls directly into the Availability API. In other words, OWA does not use the Availability service.

The Suggested Times pane is located on the right side of the OWA and Outlook meeting forms. It includes the following features and components:

  • Date Picker

  • Duration control

  • Suggested Times list

  • Suggestion color coding

The main function of the Suggested Times pane is to let you perform "what if" scenarios for your meeting. As you select different days in the date picker or change the possible meeting length by using the duration control, the suggested meeting times displayed in the meeting suggestions list automatically update. This lets you see at a glance which date and duration provides the most compatible meeting time for all attendees and resources.

The information that is displayed in the Suggested Times pane is generated by the Availability service. This information accounts for the attendee free/busy information, working days and hours, recurrence, and the number of attendees. Therefore, if you cannot generate meeting suggestions, you want to make sure that the Availability service is working before you assume that the problem affects only the Suggested Times feature.

In a cross-forest topology in which both forests have Exchange 2007 installed and users use Outlook 2007 to access e-mail, you can use the Availability service to collect free/busy data about users in both forests.

In a cross-forest co-existence topology in which one forest has no Exchange 2007 Mailbox servers or in which users do not use Outlook 2007 to access e-mail, you must use the Microsoft Exchange Server Inter-Organization Replication tool to share free/busy data across forests.

For more information about how to configure the Availability service in cross-forest topologies, see Deploy Multiple Forest Topologies.

Also see the Exchange Server Team Blog article What does Exchange 2007 Availability Service do?

Exchange Server 2007 introduces changes to the resource-booking architecture to address many of the problems and limitations that are found in resource mailboxes earlier than for Exchange 2007. This new architecture is implemented through the new Resource Assistant.

You can use the following features when you book or administer an Exchange 2007 resource mailbox.


Feature Notes

Direct resource booking

Because the resource assistant reads free/busy information directly from the calendar of the resource mailbox, you can book resources without worrying about receiving a "decline" message because of a conflict.

New meeting scheduling experience

Room scheduling is integrated by using a revamped client meeting experience both in Outlook 2007 and in Outlook Web Access.

By using the new All Rooms address book that is generated by Exchange 2007, you can quickly locate and select room-type resource mailboxes by using the following features.


Feature Notes

Resource Schema

Resource-specific schema ships as part of Exchange Server 2007. This schema provides a mechanism to let you quickly distinguish between user and resource mailboxes, and to search for resources based on attributes that you specify.

Scheduling policies

A scheduling policy defines when users can use resources. That is, "who can book what when." For example, if specific users should never receive an automatic "decline" message from a resource mailbox, you can configure the resource mailbox to forward the meeting request to a delegate for processing. To configure policies for a Resource Mailbox, use the Exchange Management Shell.

For more information about how to manage resource mailboxes, see Managing Resource Scheduling.

Exchange 2007 includes support for Unified Messaging (UM). Unified Messaging combines multiple messaging infrastructures into a single messaging infrastructure. Exchange 2007 UM-enabled users can receive all voice mail, e-mail, and fax messages in their Exchange 2007 mailboxes, and can access their mailboxes from various devices.

The following clients can take advantage of the new Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging infrastructure:

  • ActiveSync

  • Outlook 2007

  • Outlook Web Access

  • Telephone (analog, digital, or cellular)

For more information about client features that are included in Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging, see Client Features in Unified Messaging.

A UM-enabled user has more voice mail options if they use Outlook 2007 or Outlook Web Access than if they use a legacy version of Outlook. Pre-Outlook 2007 clients continue to receive their voice mail as a standard e-mail sound file attachment (in .wav or .wma format). However, they provide no voice mail configuration options.

The Unified Messaging configuration options in Outlook 2007 are provided by a custom COM Outlook add-in that is named Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging. This add-in is installed by default. It loads a new Voice Mail tab in the Tools|Options dialog box. However, this add-in is available in Outlook only to UM-enabled users, even if the COM add-in is selected in the COM Add-ins dialog box.

When the UM COM add-in is loaded, it communicates together with the UM Web service that runs on the Client Access Server. The URL for the UM Web service is also displayed in the Test E-mail AutoConfiguration dialog box in Outlook next to the Unified Message Service URL.

There are many Exchange 2007 blogs that discuss UM. Use the following search results link to see a list of these blogs:

Exchange 2007 (including OWA) and Outlook 2007 provide the following improvements to the Out-of-Office feature.

External OOF

Making some configuration changes in Exchange lets earlier versions of Exchange and Outlook send messages to users outside the Exchange organization. However, the same OOF message text is delivered to both internal and external recipients.

The new OOF architecture provides more detailed information between internal and external OOF messages. You can specify text for only internal recipients or for internal and external recipients. And you can do this with complete independence between the two OOF messages.

Scheduled OOF

You can now schedule when your OOF message is sent. One benefit of this feature is that you can create your OOF message beforehand, and set the desired schedule. When you leave the office, your messages are automatically sent. Upon your return, your OOF message is automatically disabled. This is especially helpful when you prepare for an extended period of absence, such as a business trip or vacation.

Directed OOF

You can select to send OOF messages to both internal and external recipients, with different OOF messages for each audience. Also, the new OOF architecture provides an option that lets you send external OOF messages only to people within your Contacts folder. As with many of the other Exchange 2007 features, the OOF feature in Outlook 2007 is available from the OOF Web service.

You can view the OOF URL information next to OOF URL in the Test E-mail AutoConfiguration tool.

The OOF URL is identical to the Availability service URL. Therefore, if you have problems that affect OOF connectivity, you should make sure that the Availability service is working. To test the Availability service, try to obtain free/busy information when you schedule a meeting. If you cannot do this, the problem could involve more than only the OOF functionality.

For more information about OOF, see the Exchange Server Team Blog article Exchange Server 2007 Out of Office (OOF).

Exchange 2007 lets users participate in the Messaging Records Management (MRM) process by exposing special mailbox folders named Managed Custom Folders. Managed Custom Folders appear as regular mailbox folders in user mailboxes. The difference is that they cannot be moved, renamed, or deleted unless the mailbox is decommissioned by the administrator.

All features of MRM are controlled from the Exchange Management Console or from the Exchange Management Shell. Managed Custom Folders are added to user mailboxes through a process that is known as provisioning. This process is defined in the mailbox policy settings. After you create your MRM managed folders and policies, you apply the desired policy to a user's mailbox.

Managed Folder Assistant

The Managed Folder Assistant is responsible for applying MRM policies to mailboxes. The Managed Folder Assistant runs as part of a background service on servers that have the Mailbox Server role. This time-based assistant runs on a predetermined schedule. But it can also be invoked through an administrative task. The Managed Folder assistant is also known as a "crawler" because it scans or crawls through all mailboxes on the server as it processes.

For more information about the managed Folder Assistant, see the Exchange Server Team Blog article Records Management in Exchange Server 2007 and Outlook 2007 in 5 Easy Steps.

One of the top complaints about Exchange Server 2003 and earlier versions is the 32 KB limitation for storing e-mail rules in an Exchange mailbox. This restriction has been imposed by a legacy MAPI limitation in Exchange stores.

If you run Outlook on servers that runs Exchange Server 2003 or earlier versions, and if you exceed this rules limit, you may receive one of the following error messages:


One or more rules could not be uploaded to Exchange server and have been deactivated. This could be because some parameters are not supported or there is insufficient space to store all rules.

There is insufficient space on the Microsoft Exchange Server to store all the rules. The rules that did not load have been deactivated.

Exchange Server 2007 provides an increased default limit of 64 KB for your mailbox. You can use the –RulesQuota parameter for the Set-Mailbox command to set the limit between 32 KB and 256 KB.

For more information about the Set-Mailbox cmdlet, see Set-Mailbox.

When you use an Outlook 2003 cached mode client in Exchange 2003 and earlier versions, changes to messages are tracked at the message level. To reduce the number of bytes that are uploaded to the Exchange server, Outlook 2003 uploads only changes to specific message properties instead of to the whole message. However, the download traffic from Exchange to the Outlook cached mode client is not optimized. If a property is changed on an existing message at the server (for example, through an OWA session), the whole message is resynchronized to the Outlook cached mode client.

In this scenario, every message is divided into several sections that are tracked independently. If part of a section is modified, only that section is then downloaded again to the Outlook client. This condition significantly reduces the number of bytes that are transferred from the server to the client. For this reason, you might not always want to use an Exchange 2007 server and an Outlook 2007 cached mode client.

There are no configuration settings for this feature in Exchange 2007 or in Outlook 2007. This feature is only an improvement of the cached mode synchronization process.

Message classifications are a feature in Exchange Server 2007 and in Outlook 2007 that helps organizations to comply with their e-mail policies and regulatory responsibilities. When a message is classified, it contains specific metadata that describes the intended use or audience of the message. Outlook 2007 or Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access may act on this metadata by displaying a user-friendly description of the classification to the senders and the receivers of a classified message. In Exchange 2007, the Microsoft Exchange Transport service may act on the metadata if there is a transport rule that meets specific criteria that are configured by the Exchange administrator.

Exchange 2007 includes several default message classifications that enabled Outlook 2007 clients can apply to messages. For example, you can use the Attorney/Client Privileged message classification to communicate the level of confidentiality that must be maintained by both the sender and the recipient. By default, a message that is classified as A/C Privileged displays information about the intended audience for the message. However, you can configure a transport rule that returns A/C Privileged messages if the message is addressed to a recipient that does not meet the conditions of the rule.

For more information about the Message Classification feature, see Understanding Message Classifications.

For more information about how to manage message classifications, see Messaging Policy and Compliance.