Microsoft Replaces Hotmail

Our last post discussed whether Microsoft was abandoning the corporate user in favour of the more casual tablet user with the upcoming release of Windows 8, but today’s announcement from Microsoft reveals the demise of Hotmail in favour of the all new Hotmail has long been a dominant player in the battle for domestic email addresses and has been a major part of Microsoft’s online presence since they bought it back in 1997. However, today’s announcement declares the Hotmail brand soon to end, soon to be replaced by Microsoft’s Outlook brand, which has been the principal mail client amongst business users for over a decade.

So what is and how will it affect 350+ million Hotmail users? There are already a few changes that Hotmail users may have noticed. Firstly the login screen has changed its style:

New Hotmail Login ScreenNew Hotmail Login Screen

This new style is more in keeping with Windows 8 and the Metro Start Menu, but also matches the look of the new After signing in users are likely to be presented with a request for additional security measures (phone number, alternate email address and trusted PC), which users with a Google account may already be familiar with. Again this page has been styled to suit the new face of Microsoft.

Hotmail Additional SecurityHotmail Additional Security

So what’s the new like? Well, you can see for yourself as Microsoft has made it available for all current Hotmail users to try. Simply go to or select it from the Hotmail options menu and you will see the mail part of Hotmail in the new layout. Don’t worry, the transformation isn’t permanent – just click the setting ‘gear’ towards the top right and select “Switch back to Hotmail”. It’s worth noting that if you want a email address then you’d better register quick as your equivalent for your Hotmail address is NOT automatically allocated to you and the addresses are going fast (over a million went in the first two hours); has already gone, and not to us. Anyway, here’s our newly registered account:

New Outlook.comNew

As you can see the general structure is similar to the current Hotmail, which has been gradually moving towards the layout of the desktop version of Outlook for some time now. The major changes are in the menus and selection styling, which fit the new Metro style that is being applied to all things Microsoft (Windows 8, Xbox 360 and Windows Phone). Not only does the new style help tie all the Microsoft products together, it also provides a clean, responsive feel. This is also underpinned by a clean-up of the layout. The adverts have gone, but the presence of the ‘AdChoices’ in the bottom right suggests this is only temporary. Messenger has moved from the bottom of the left column to a dedicated messaging pane (next to the settings gear) where it is joined by the new Facebook messenger plug-in.

Facebook messenger isn’t the only new integrated feature. also allows Skype communications straight from the Chat panel and Office 365 is built-in to allow documents attached to an email to be edited within the email without leaving, which brings it up-to-date with Google Mail and Google Docs. However, Microsoft outdoes both Google and Apple by including 7GB of free storage using SkyDrive (Google Drive and iCloud only offer 5GB).

Unfortunately , Microsoft are still not providing IMAP support, so if you want your mail synchronised across multiple devices you will have to use either the website or a Microsoft supplied app. This is quite disappointing for us here at Mamu Computing as we strive to make technology work smartly to provide more functionality with less input from the user. Although this is a reasonably major feature to be lacking, seems to be doing everything else, and well.

To conclude, is a definite enhancement on Hotmail, bringing it right up-to-date and keeping up the fight against the likes of Google and Yahoo. Not everything is ready to try just yet, but you might want to try out the new Outlook layout for your Hotmail emails.


Insert Microsoft Project Gantt Chart Into Microsoft Word

On the whole Microsoft Office is quite good at importing objects from one program to another. It is common to copy and paste a table from Excel into your Word report, or add a flow chart using Visio, Microsoft has pretty much taken the pain out of producing rich documents. Why then is it such a challenge to import a Gantt chart from Microsoft Project into Microsoft Word? It is a fairly common scenario, but without an official solution provided by Microsoft, what’s the best way to do it? Here are several ways I have tried and how useful I found each.

Print or Publish to PDF
One method is to produce a PDF file of the Gantt chart and the Word document. The two PDF files can then be merged, inserting the Gantt chart pages where required. Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 both allow you to produce PDF files under the ‘save as’ menu, but PDF printers are available freely on the internet for older versions. However, merging of PDF files often requires editors that are not free, such as Adobe Acrobat. There are free alternatives available, such as PDF SAM, but these are more complicated to use. Even if you have the software required there is still the problem that you can only insert the Gantt chart after the document has been published to PDF. This means that any alterations required to the document or Gantt chart will result in having to start the process over. In addition, merging PDF files often breaks any links within the document, such as the contents page. This method is okay if you don’t need to edit the document and don’t require links, but it is straightforward to have the Gantt chart on a larger landscape page.

Insert as Screenshot
Another way would be to take a screenshot of the Gantt chart open in Microsoft Project and paste it into the Microsoft Word document. To capture a screenshot simply press the ‘Prt Sc’ (print screen) button on your keyboard and then paste it straight into Word. Tip: If you hold the ‘Alt’ key down when you press ‘Prt Sc’ it will only capture the selected window, hiding your task bar, which is particularly useful if you have more than one monitor. After pasting the screenshot into Word you can crop the image down to suit. This method allows you to continue editing the document before publishing, but be careful when resizing the screenshot as the text will be unreadable if too small or distorted.

Insert as Table and Image
Finally, the method I have found most effective. This is done in two parts: first highlighting all the rows of the task table in Microsoft Project, and then copying them into Microsoft Word. Word should automatically convert the text into a table – if not, then look for the ‘Paste as Table’ option. Then, on the next page, you can paste a screenshot of just the Gantt chart without the task table. This will allow you to show the Gantt chart at a larger scale, making it clearer. If you are using Microsoft Word 2010 there is a ‘Screenshot’ tool on the ‘Insert’ ribbon that is very useful; you can either select any open window to capture or select ‘Screen Clipping’ to drag your cursor over the area of your screen you want to capture, removing the need to crop the screenshot afterwards. You will probably want the Gantt chart to be landscape – before changing the orientation, put a section break before and after so that only that page becomes landscape. This method ensures the task table is clearly visible and can be formatted to suit the rest of your document and also allows for a larger Gantt chart.