Microsoft's Outlook RT preview: Which features are (and aren't) supported

Microsoft's Outlook RT preview: Which features are (and aren't) supported

Summary: The Windows RT 8.1 preview includes a bundled version of a new Outlook RT client. Here's which features are and are not supported in this new app.


As part of this week's Windows RT 8.1 public preview, Microsoft also made available to testers a first public preview of Outlook 2013 RT.


Microsoft officials shared information about which features are and are not supported with the Outlook RT preview in an Outlook IT Pro blog post on June 27.

The Outlook RT app is a live tile application with "most of the familiar look and feature functionality found in the enterprise version of Outlook," Microsoft officials said. Outlook 2013 RT can connect to Exchange Server 2007, 2010 or 2013, as long as Autodiscover is configured, officials confirmed.

However, because tablets have different requirements than other computing devices, a few features in the enterprise version of Outlook are not in the RT version, according to to the Softies.

Among them:

  • No support for Online Archive or Personal Archive mailboxes
  • No ability to apply Messaging Records Management (MRM) retention policies
  • No Site Mailboxes
  • No support for Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy tips
  • No Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and COM Add-in support, no support for macros, add-ins or other custom programs (This is the same limitation that's imposed on all applications that are part of Office Home & Student 2013, which is installed as part of Windows RT and the RT 8.1 preview.)
  • No ability to set information rights management (IRM) on new email messages
  • No integration between Outlook 2013 RT and Lync (or any other of the Office Home & Student 2013 apps, for that matter
  • No integration with SharePoint, as the Outlook Contact Card does not display an active link to users' SharePoint My Site pages
  • No ability to add a fax account to Outlook 2013 RT
  • No ability to configure Outlook 2013 RT using Group Policy (same limitation as other Office Home & Student 2013 apps face)

The blog post also made explicit the licensing terms around the new Outlook RT:

"Windows RT 8 and Windows RT 8.1 Preview ship with Office Home & Student. If your organization also purchased commercial use rights or has a commercial license to Office 2013 suites that include Outlook, your users can use Outlook 2013 RT to get to business on their RT devices too."

Outlook RT runs on Microsoft's ARM-based Surface RT devices, as well as any/all other ARM-based Windows RT tablets and PCs. It is being positioned as a complement, not a replacement to, the built-in Windows Mail client on Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs. Outlook RT will function the same as Outlook 2013, in terms of how it is installed and maintained.

Topics: Unified Comms, Collaboration, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, Microsoft Surface, Windows 8


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • My Surface was the best tablet before 8.1

    As bad as I felt for people who had to settle for inferior tablets like the ipad before, I feel even worse for them now that 8.1 is around the corner. This preview has been flawless for me so far and has really improved upon the places where the Surface was merely "as good as" the competition.
    • Merely as good?!

      I'm sort of looking forward to 8.1 on my Surface Pro. I will NOT install this preview but will wait until 8.1 is officially released.

      BTW, have you noticed any overall system performance "speed" increase? Does your RT feel any "snappier"? Just curious, Todd.
      • No substantial speed increase

        Then again, I had no complaints about the speed before the upgrade.

        I would have held off too but adding Outlook was just too much of a temptation. Since that isn't an issue for your Pro, you should hold off if your Pro has become part of your workflow.

        And by "merely as good" I was referring to the email, calendar, and contact functionality in RT which was merely as good as what is available by default on the ipad. Now that Surface RT comes with Outlook (or will soon) it absolutely blows the ipad away.
        • Re: Now that Surface RT comes with Outlook (or will soon)

          This bears the question.. did you actually install the Windows RT 8.1 software n your Surface RT, or you did not?

          If you did, you should know whether Outlook is there. If it is not, it's a bit pathetic to claim "has really improved upon". If it will come "soon", you apparently do not know what it is, yet.

          Typical Toddy, so no surprises here. Except you forgot the customary kudos.
          • I know English isn't your first language

            You might not understand the difference between preview and production.

            Outlook is here today in the preview release but since preview releases should not be installed on production devices (and I'm not taking my own advice here, I admit) I'm not going to say that Surface RT now has Outlook. It will soon.

            This concludes your English lesson of the day. I don't want to take up any more of your time since your Tamagotchi needs you. Again.
      • In my experience

        There is a slight speed increase.

        For example, I've noticed that the already pretty good boot times have gotten better. The tiles seem a bit more responsive. It isn't huge, but it's there.
        Michael Alan Goff
        • I hesitate to attribute this to the update

          Every time my iphone and ipad got a new update, they felt faster for about a day. Then they slowed down to their normal speed.

          So any perceived speed increase could be more due to a reboot.
          • Might be true

            But I can't come up with any reason why my boot times would be sub 5-seconds after the update when it was closer to ten before.
            Michael Alan Goff
      • Hold Off

        Hold off until the official release. I updated mine and I'm got tons of memory leaks causing crashes (1-2 an hour). Could be driver issues. Re-installed 8.0 and all is well again, so they have quite a bit of work before it is stable.
        Koopa Troopa
    • Eh

      I really liked the original Windows RT and so far the 8.1 preview seems to be significantly worse. Most of the changes they made to Metro make it harder to use and Outlook is pretty useless to me since there's no way I'm ever using desktop applications on a tablet.
  • Licensing confusion required

    I wonder why Microsoft imposes such confusing, unenforced, and unenforceable licensing restrictions. No one who didn't read this column will be aware of these restrictions, and they'll just go ahead and use it with or without the necessary Office version license. Why bother?
    • Microsoft makes its money from software licenses

      An awful lot of its customers are "Enterprise" customers who really care about license compliance (keeping both an important vendor and the in-house lawyers happy). They want to know that their use of Microsoft software is consistent with their license purchases.

      Outlook doesn't come with Windows RT (unlike Word, Excel and PowerPoint). Adding it to a Windows RT device requires a license. Microsoft is just saying "here's how to comply".
      • Re: Microsoft makes its money from software licenses

        Which means, of course, that its needs can never be properly aligned with its customers' needs.
      • Exactly

        Exactly. Microsoft isn't really that concerned about the little guy. They're not going to crack down on an eBay merchant who prepares his item descriptions on an RT device. They want ton prevent a Fortune 500 company from rolling out a bunch of cheap RT tablets to their executives without also paying for an enterprise Office license.
      • No..

        It does come with RT just like Excel, Word, and Powerpoint. The only thing a license is needed for is your company to be paying for Exchange. Connect your personal email accounts to it, no problem.
    • Software licensing audit

      "No one who didn't read this column will be aware of these restrictions, and they'll just go ahead and use it with or without the necessary Office version license."

      (sorry, spam filter testing).
      • (stupid spam filter)

        "No one who didn't read this column will be aware of these restrictions, and they'll just go ahead and use it with or without the necessary Office version license."

        That is, until they undergo a software licensing audit. Once presented with that bill, most businesses learn very, very quickly how to read a EULA.
        • Re: Once presented with that bill, most businesses learn very, very quickl

          Or they could do what Ernie Ball did, and move to Open Source.
          • Cost

            If you're not paying for the software, then you're definitely paying for support. Nothing in the end is free pal.
            Jeff Kibuule
          • Re: Nothing in the end is free pal.

            How much were you paid to say that?