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Using RSS in Outlook 2007

How you can use Outlook to keep up to date with content

What is RSS?

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a way for content publishers to make news, blogs, and other content available to subscribers. You can view RSS content in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007.

RSS provides a convenient way for content publishers to distribute information in a standardised format. A standardised XML file format allows the information to be published once and viewed by many different programs such as Outlook. A common example of RSS content is sources of information such as news headlines that are frequently updated.

RSS benefit

The benefit of RSS is the aggregation of all content from multiple Web sources in one place. You no longer have to visit different Websites to obtain the latest information on your topics of interest. With RSS, summaries of content are delivered to you, and then you decide which articles you want to read by clicking a link.

RSS content is usually text-based, published by a variety of sources but primarily media outlets or personal weblogs - also known as blogs. A blog can be compared to an online journal. As the popularity of RSS increases, new types of content are appearing, including multimedia-based content. Sharing this type of content is known as blogcasting or podcasting. For example, some media outlets offer an audio copy of their individual news stories.

RSS feeds

The delivery mechanism for RSS content is known as an RSS Feed. There are millions of RSS Feeds that consist of headlines or short summaries of content with a link provided to the original source. The feeds can also contain the complete content, and include attachments of almost any type. Other names for RSS Feeds are Web feeds, XML feeds, RSS channels, and syndicated content.

Most people take advantage of some form of client software programs to read their RSS Feeds. These programs are known as RSS aggregators or RSS readers. Outlook includes the functionality of an RSS aggregator.

Using RSS in Outlook

After you have added an RSS Feed to Outlook, a folder is displayed for the RSS Feed in the Navigation Pane. When you open the folder, the latest items downloaded from the RSS Feed are displayed. These items might contain only headlines with links that you can click to read the complete article.

Outlook checks the RSS publisher's server for new and updated items on a regular schedule.

The new and updated items are downloaded to Outlook where they are displayed in the folder associated with the RSS Feed. You open, read, and delete these RSS items just as you would any mail message. You can even move, flag or forward the information to someone else.

RSS publishers use their feeds as a way to customise their content for readers and to offer links back to their Web sites. For you, RSS Feeds are an easy way to keep up with Web sites, news, or blogs that you read frequently. Instead of browsing the Web to multiple Web sites, the latest news or updates from those sites comes to you automatically. Compare RSS Feeds to having your own personal assistant who clips headlines or writes brief summaries of Web content to save you time. You can quickly see which items interest you and then decide which of the full articles to read.

As RSS Feeds are optional and subscription-based, the new content delivered to you is just on the topics that you are interested in. You select which RSS Feeds to subscribe to and decide which RSS Feeds you want to cancel.

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