What Is Microsoft Outlook?

The email program is offered in different ways depending on your needs

Microsoft Outlook is an application mainly used to send and receive emails. It is also used to manage various types of personal data, including calendar appointments and entries, tasks, contacts, and similar notes. However, Microsoft Outlook is not free; you have to buy it directly or pay a subscription if you want to use it.

The evolution of Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook was introduced to the public in 1997 and was included with Microsoft Office 97. Outlook Express was included with Windows XP (and was the only free version). Since then, Microsoft has released a large number of updated versions, each offering more features than the previous one.

Outlook is included in many Microsoft Office suites, including Office 2010, 2013, and 2016, and Microsoft 365. It’s important to note that not all versions include Outlook. For example, Microsoft Outlook is available on Start of Microsoft 365 but not included in Office Home & Student 2016 for PC.

Microsoft Outlook is an application that you pay for and install on your device. An Outlook email address is a free email address from Microsoft, accessible for free from the Outlook webmail portal:

Do you need Microsoft Outlook?

A screenshot of the Mail app in Windows 10.

If you just want to send and receive email, you don’t need to buy Microsoft Outlook. You can use the Mail app included with Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. You can also get your email from your provider’s website (such as If you need to do more than that, you need a more powerful email management program.

With Microsoft Outlook, you can sync your personal data with your phone, tablet, and other computers, as long as you can sign in to them with your Microsoft account. You can sort your emails into folders based on rules you create, automatically send out-of-office messages, mark emails for follow-up, and receive emails from Exchange servers. The latter means you can receive work emails and personal emails from the same Microsoft Outlook app, even when you’re out of the office. You can’t do this with the Mail app that comes with Windows 10. You can also delay sending emails, request receipts, and more.

It is also possible to integrate your personal data with Microsoft Outlook. It includes an address book, calendar, to-do list, and virtual sticky notes. What you put in the calendar can be synchronized with your other devices. You can delegate tasks to others. You can also share and delegate calendars.

Do you have Microsoft Outlook?

A screenshot showing the Outlook icon in the Start menu.

You may already have a version of Microsoft Outlook on your computer, tablet, or even your phone. You must do your research before making a purchase.

To see if Microsoft Outlook is installed on your Windows device:

  • From search window about him taskbar (Windows 10), the Begin (Windows 8.1), or from the screen Investigate window in the Begin menu (Windows 7), type panorama and press Get in.
  • Watch for panorama entry.
  • To find out if you have a version of Outlook on your MacLook for it in Seeker sidebar below Applications. To find out if you have Microsoft Outlook on your call; search from any search box.

    Where to get Microsoft Outlook

    Screenshot of the Lifewire article How to sign up and install Office 365 with Windows.

    Sign up and install Office 365.

    If you’re sure you don’t already have a Microsoft Office suite that includes Outlook, you can get the latest version with Microsoft 365. However, Microsoft 365 is a subscription service and you pay for it monthly. If you’re not interested in a subscription, consider purchasing Microsoft Outlook outright.

    Some employers, community colleges, and universities offer Microsoft 365 free to their employees and students.

    You can compare and purchase all available editions and suites in the Microsoft Store. Microsoft Outlook is now available in the following Office suites:

    • Start of Microsoft 365
    • Microsoft 365 staff
    • Office Home and Business 2016 for PC or Mac
    • Office 2019 Home and Business for PC or Mac


    • You can purchase Microsoft Outlook separately for PC or Mac.

    Once you decide to purchase, follow the steps to download the installation files. Once done, run the installer. It is simple and above all infallible if you opt for Microsoft 365.

    Microsoft Outlook has many identities

    A photo of a pair of shoes on the sidewalk with question marks around them.

    Michael Zwahlen/EyeEm/Getty Images

    People refer to Microsoft Outlook in many ways and use many different terms. This creates confusion around Microsoft Outlook, which is simply a single application for managing emails and other personal data. However, for the sake of completeness, please understand that you may also hear Microsoft Outlook referred to in these terms:

    • panorama
    • 365 perspective
    • outlook email
    • microsoft email
    • outlookexpress
    • online perspective
    • Hotmail perspective
    • Microsoft Office Email

    Frequent questions

    • What is the difference between Outlook and Gmail? Both Outlook and Gmail allow you to access your messages via POP3 or IMAP. You can set up multiple email providers in Outlook, while Gmail is mostly used with Google’s email service. Generally speaking, Gmail is free and offers a simpler experience, while Outlook has more features and requires a subscription.
    • What is Outlook for iOS? Microsoft Outlook for iOS is the Outlook email client designed to work on iPhone and iPad. It’s especially useful for people who use Outlook on desktop and want to access their emails on an iOS device. Download it for free from the App Store.
    • What is my Outlook email address? To find your connected email addresses in Microsoft Outlook, select Case > account settings > account settings > Email language. To find your email address, select your profile picture in the top right corner; your email address is below your name.
    • What is my Outlook password? Your Outlook password depends on the email service connected to your Outlook account. For example, if you use Gmail, your password is the same password you use to sign in to your Google account. To recover a Gmail password, or almost any forgotten password, select Did you forget your password? on the email login screen.

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