Windows 8 deep dive: Get to know the Mail and Calendar apps

By Alex Cocilova, PC World |  Windows, windows 8

The end result is a single calendar view full of meetings, plans, and deadlines, but that's how we stay organized and make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. Unfortunately, the Windows 8 Calendar app supports only one main calendar per account; it doesn't surface secondary calendars and shared calendars. So to receive the full spectrum of PCWorld's daily events, we have to bypass the Calendar app entirely, and hit our Web browsers instead.

Hiding specific calendar items is also impossible, as a calendar is either exposed or hidden, with no compromises in between. For example, if you want to selectively remove the birthday of someone you don't really care about--say, a birthday that's present only thanks to People app integration--you're out of luck. The only way to excise it is to hide everyone's birthday, a shotgun approach that's simply not helpful. I suppose Microsoft figures it's better to have too much information than none at all.

What Mail does well

I hate having three different browser windows open just so I can monitor all of my inboxes at once. Mail makes a valiant attempt to save users the trouble of switching tabs and resizing browsers to keep up with their email. The interface is simple and clean, and funnels all of your email accounts into a single, unified view.

Emoticons may seem silly to some people, but Mail has more of them than you could ever hope to use. In fact, Mail has so many emoticons that Microsoft seems to be challenging us to author a detailed, comprehensible email message made entirely of these little pictures. One of the emoticons is a slice of pizza. Enough said.

Where Mail falls short

In most email clients, text-editing options reside on an easy-to-use toolbar at the top of the message. For the Mail app, though, be prepared to do some digging: Everything from bold to undo is located in the Options bar, which you access by right-clicking or swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Fortunately, highlighting some text automatically brings up the menu, saving yourself a couple clicks. But this is something you find by accident--which is the case with many Windows 8 features.

Considering the amount of emoticons that Mail has available, I half expected to see as many fonts as in Word. However, the Mail app falls quite short in this regard: Only eight fonts are available, and all of them are boring. I guess the limitations help to keep you from accidentally sending an important email in Comic Sans.

It may be a little too much to ask, but having Mail and Calendar work together with greater efficiency would be a blessing. When dates and times come up in an email, it would be great to have the option to add the event to the Calendar right from Mail. Alas, you need to add it in manually.

Key options and settings

For Mail...

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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