Feature/improvement wishlist for Windows Live Mail (7/8/08)

I use Windows Live Mail as my desktop e-mail client. In the past, I just used my account’s web browser version, and it suited me fine enough, and I didn’t have to install anything extra. But an e-mail client is a great way to easily sift through your e-mail in a well optimized interface, and can do extra nifty things like RSS feeds, contact managing, and a lot more in an easier to use program. Also, there’s no ads in Windows Live Mail, so I’m quite happy about that.


Windows Live Mail works great if you’re a Hotmail/Windows-Live user, though it can even work with Gmail, AOL Mail, and other accounts. You can even send e-mail messages without an ad line attached to it! It’s just awesome. However, there are a few problems I find, and some features I’m hoping could come. Here’s what I want to see:

  • Option to turn off the Windows Live sign-in prompt – Not everyone that uses Windows Live Mail, uses a Windows Live account. Like I said, you could be a Gmail user and access your Gmail messages without having a Windows Live ID. As far as I can figure, there’s no optional way of turning the Windows Live sign-in off. It’d be nice if there were.
  • E-mail tagging – Even though the built-in search function does a great job of being dynamic results, I would love for the ability to add tags to my messages or feeds. Sometimes people might have quirky tags that don’t have an obvious special relation to the message, so it’d be handy to have that tagging capability to easily find them via search.
  • Access Live Favorites from client – If there could be a way to easily access and view your favorites/bookmarks in the client, that’d be a handy feature.
  • Improve contact search – Currently the only thing you can search for in Windows Live Contacts, is just the names of a person. I think the search should include the ability to find contacts via birthdays, location, address, and other info. you included for the contact. Maybe even tag supporting for contacts as well.
  • Better options to edit contacts – I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think there needs to be a more better way to edit contacts in Windows Live Contacts. Like for instance, some of the contacts I made don’t have Windows Live ID’s, thus they don’t have display pictures. There needs to be the ability to create custom display pictures for friends that don’t have Windows Live ID’s, tighter integration with Spaces friends (I only get their name, and that’s it! Not even a Spaces link!), tagging capabilities, and maybe a way where you can ask special permission from a Windows Live contact (Spaces, Messenger, etc.) to have all their contact info. available in your Windows Live Contact box. That way you don’t have to manually update your contacts one by one. Contacts can put up as much information they want about themselves available to friends who specifically ask for them. Maybe even a list of users you accepted to keep check.
  • Checkbox next to individual messages and feeds – The ability to have checkboxes next to individual messages and feeds would be a great feature, that I have no idea why that it didn’t make it to the Live Mail. Most of your web-based e-mail inboxes have this feature, and putting a check in a checkbox, next to individual messages/feeds to mass manipulate them, is far easier than treating each message one by one. These e-mails are from the same lousy person, so I’ll just check this and that and drag these messages into the trash bin. Oh wait, I can’t do that in Windows Live Mail, unfortunately. That feature is sorely needed in Windows Live Mail.
  • Better built-in emoticons – I think the emoticons that Windows Live and MSN uses is seriously outdated. They’re ok, and not as bad as the AOL emoticons, but I think they need to replace the old emoticons with a new look. I really like the emoticons on Yahoo! Messenger, and similar looking ones on the istartedsomething.com site. Emoticons are meant to show expression, and the ones in Windows Live Mail look kinda tacky. Maybe buying Yahoo! would be a good idea just to get the nice emoticons alone.
  • More choice in stationary – I find that the current choice in stationary for composing messages is rather too feminine. I’m not sure if stationary can be used by guys, but some choice for masculine-looking themes would be great. Another neat option would be some tool where users could their own custom stationary sets. As well as a site to share user-made e-mail stationary sets (maybe Windows Live Gallery).
  • Calendar – How long has it been since Live Calendar was in beta? As usual, these betas are taking forever without any new features popping up. Anyways, it would be wonderful to have integration with Live Calendar (which hopefully will improve). Hopefully, since it’s a desktop client, the calendar panes could be more bigger and encompass more information than the squashy interface that is the web version. Not to mention the features it really needs, yet still lacks.
  • Better built-in search – The built-in search is already great. It dynamically pulls up results as you type, and I haven’t had a problem with the results it pulls up. However, I would love it if there was a built-in inline search, autocomplete (pulling up past search queries), and that as results pop up as you type, the text of the message that contains the keyword is either in a different color or highlighted. Inline search helps me easily find a keyword I want, right within the message I’m viewing. Autocomplete can be useful if there’s a long, hard to remember name or word, and you can just select the past query that pops up with that word in the autocomplete list. When I search for something, and results come up, I’d like to see where exactly in the message the keywords show up. It should be possible to display that fragment, or those fragments with the keywords in a different color shade or highlighted, to pinpoint them out in the results.
  • Feeds need better left-aligning – For some reason, I notice that the feeds I read in Windows Live Mail has a problem along the left side. Sometimes, parts of the text posted at the very left of the feed have words mashed together. I have no idea what’s causing that, but it needs to be fixed.

That’s all I have to say for now. That’s the only things that wish could improve or be added to Windows Live Mail. Any other ideas?


3 thoughts on “Feature/improvement wishlist for Windows Live Mail (7/8/08)

  1. If one has Microsoft Outlook, would it be a good move to switch, or is Outlook still a superior program at this point?

  2. I saw your post on Treehugger, defending the fact that one close-minded Congressman in NC doesn\’t speak for all Republicans. Don\’t know if you saw my response earlier in the comments; but I completely agree!It sure is tough trying to convince "the other side" that I\’m a conservative that can support conservation too.

  3. @szul : If you have Microsoft Outlook, stay with it! Outlook is great. It has practically everything you could want in an e-mail client. I haven\’t personally used Outlook for myself, but from I\’ve seen and heard, I\’d suggest you simply just use that.
    @Recyclican : Thanks! I didn\’t see it, but I got tired of reading every single comment. Just because one stupid Congressman says bikes are stupid, doesn\’t mean every Republican is like that. Mayor Bill White is a Republican himself, and rides bikes all the time. And he\’s pushing to get trails rolling across Houston so that commuting to work via bike is more easier.
    I hate it when environmentalists start putting politics and environmental issues together. There\’s a lot of stupid people in Congress, but don\’t blame the party. Blame the individual. It\’s like saying a certain type of race, religion, or sex is incapable because of one dumb person.

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