Outlook Performance Tip – Word Editor

A little known thing about Outlook is that by default, when you edit a message, you are actually typing your message into Word rather than Outlook.

Starting Outlook using the default settings causes both Outlook and Word to be loaded at startup.  Editing messages through Outlook invokes Word as the editor.  At startup, Outlook uses 24MB of RAM and Word uses 18MB.

If you’ve got a system without a lot of RAM, I strongly recommend turning off Word as the editor.  Most people never use the Word features anyway.  Even without using Word as the editor, you can still format your messages with rich text- bold, italics, mixed fonts, etc. 

To turn off Word, go to Outlook’s Tools menu, select Options -> Mail Format, and uncheck “Use Microsoft Office Word 2003 to edit e-mail messages”. 

When you startup, you’ll find that Word is not invoked, you still have all the rich-text editing features, that Outlook still only consumes 24MB of RAM.  This can be a significant performance boost.

If any readers know of good reasons to use Word as Editor, it would be great to know! I’m sure there is a reason Microsoft uses this option by default, and I would like to know why too.

Here are images of Outlook 2003’s Compose Window in each mode.  As you can see, they look practically identical.  Quiz – which is Word?

One thought on “Outlook Performance Tip – Word Editor

  • September 5, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Best thing about using word as your email editor is the use of in-line auto correct, spell-checker, and grammar correction. All of these happen as you type, and not via a window at the end of the email when you simply want to just SEND!!

    Plus, you have access to the in-line dictionary and thesaurus (synonymns). This is great for writing long, wordy emails.


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