An indispensable add-on
If you own Outlook 97, 98, 2000, or 2002, just download the 2.7MB, free, 30-day Nelson trial, install it, and you're set. (Sorry, cheapskates: NEO doesn't work with Outlook Express.) You can manage your e-mail using NEO, with or without Outlook active in memory, and open Outlook from NEO with just a click of a toolbar button--handy when you use Outlook for scheduling as well as e-mail.
Automatic message organization
Whereas Outlook simply drops all of your e-mail into the Inbox, leaving you to filter messages on your own, NEO automatically sorts messages by several criteria, each reached from tabs at the top of the window. For example, to view all messages to and from a specific sender, no matter where they live in Outlook, just click the Correspondent tab, then the sender's name. Slick.
NEO also sorts messages according to when they were received or sent so that you can quickly see mail from today, yesterday, this week, or last week. Need to hunt down an attachment? Click the Attachment tab to see every file attachment sent or received. NEO even groups messages by attachment type, making it a snap to find that one XLS file among scores of DOC files. Best of all, the Active Mail function isolates all new messages in a folder until you decide how to act on each. And, thanks to its superfast search tool, you can use NEO to list similar messages in a flash. Our only minor gripe: NEO works a little differently than Outlook, so it'll take you a day or two to adjust your mail-handling habits.
New in 2.5
In addition to its sorting prowess, a new notification icon in the system tray tells you when you have new mail. Also, NEO now synchronizes with Outlook so that you stay up-to-date in both programs; delete a message in NEO, and Outlook deletes it, too. Plus, NEO will now automatically mark messages as "read" when you move them to your to-do list or to an Outlook folder.
No phone support
Built-in help is thorough and includes a short tutorial that walks you through the program's main functions. But there's no phone support--not even if you pony up the $29.95 registration fee. Not acceptable.
Even so, we're sold on NEO. We spend less time managing mail, and fewer messages fall through the cracks. Got Outlook? Rely on e-mail? You owe it to yourself to drop $30 for this slick add-on.