In-line reply in Outlook.com

If you're an email power user, you frequently know what to do with messages as soon as they hit your inbox -- even if it's just to avoid dealing with them until later. Microsoft is more than happy to accommodate your exacting requirements, as it just began rolling out a big Outlook.com update that allows for particularly complex email rules. You can now perform automatic actions based on time limits, the read state, email tallies and the familiarity of a contact. If you haven't read a friend's message for a day, for example, you can mark it as important so that it doesn't get buried.

Whether or not you're that demanding, there are a few other upgrades you're likely to notice in day-to-day use. You can now respond in-line to an email thread, and it's possible to undo mistakes in more places. It's also much easier to sort people depending on whether they're using Facebook or Skype messaging. You can even switch services in mid-stream; if you'd rather go straight to Skype chat, you can. The Outlook.com refinements will take a few weeks to reach everyone, but it might be worth the wait if you believe that small time-savers make a big difference.

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Outlook.com now lets you create extra-specific email rules