In addition to being a robust e-mail client, Outlook often functions as a contact manager, maintains a calendar, and tracks tasks. The new Access file format avoids many security issues and allows Access to leverage these features. As mentioned, routine tasks can be added to Outlook, so that users get reminders and processes are run on schedule. Other new features utilize Outlook to collect data and make it easier to share information about contacts.

Contact information is a significant business asset. Because e-mail is one of the most used channels for communications, it needs to be easy to maintain contact lists, both in Access solutions and in Outlook. Now it's simple to import and export contact records to and from Outlook 2007 and Access 2007.

But there is something even better. With Outlook 2007, you can select contacts from Outlook or from an Access table and use either an HTML e-mail or an InfoPath form to collect data and import it directly into a database. Whether it's a new record or updating an existing record, the entire process can be automated. This is a big benefit for collecting routine reports, such as daily sales totals, inventories, or attendance records, as well as for surveys and other questionnaires. As you can imagine, it's also an excellent tool for collecting error messages and other data about application usage and events.

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