Gettin' crafty with reading RSS feeds

There are several cool ways you leverage Outlook's folder management and search infrastructure to improve the way you view RSS feeds inside the application. They range from the simple, like creating subfolders, to the complex, like using search folders to find key terms. Here's a look at some of the ways I use these techniques to read my RSS feeds in Outlook...

Folder Management

The simplest thing you can do is use Outlook's standard folder management to organize your feeds by criteria you choose. Here, I have added a few organizational folders for my feeds to group them by type:

This lets me easily group the numerous feeds I can be subscribed to at any one point in time.

Search Folders

Outlook 12 ships with a powerful new Search platform for explicit queries that is also used for Search Folders. You can now perform powerful searches on RSS feeds using the Full Text Engine and easily monitor thousands of feed items for specific keywords.

I subscribe to approximatley one hundred feeds in my default Outlook profile, and there is obviously no way to read all of the new items during the course of a day. What I've done is create two Search Folders to help me out:

Search Folder 1: "Today's News"
This Search Folder queries all of my feeds and displays just the new, unread posts from today. Whenever I have a few spare minutes I love to go in this folder and just read the news from my favorite blogs and ezines. As I read an article the item disappears out of the search folder since it's read/unread status automatically changes to unread.

To create this search folder, it's a simple setup using our Search Folder criteria selector:

When you view the Search Folder, the best part is being able to group by folder, as I then get a really easy roll-up view to view today's RSS items:

Search Folder 2: "RSS Watcher"
I subscribe to lots of RSS feeds from sites that can potentially be discussing Microsoft Office, my product Outlook, or any of several topics that I consider really important (search technologies, RSS, tagging, etc.). Instead of having to wade through all of them, or even do explicit searches inside of each feed's folder, I have a Search Folder that I call my "RSS Watcher". 

This Search Folder goes over all of the feeds that I'm subscribed to, and only pulls the unread items out that have certain keywords in them:

Which results in a nice roll-up view that I then sort-by folder:

Hope those provide some interesting ways to think about how RSS aggregation in Outlook can more tightly integrated into your daily information workflow. In my next post I'll focus on how to use Rules and Alerts to easily bring relevent feeds to a specific folder, and enable a bunch of other cool scenarios.