Tidy up those RSS feeds

I tend to read my RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds in Outlook 2007. For some reason I never got the hang of reading them in a web browser, even though this functionality has been included for some time in Internet Explorer 7. But one thing that bugs me is that subscribing to more than a handful of RSS feeds can quickly degenerate into a frustrating daily trawl through a lengthy list of feed names.
By default, Outlook adds new RSS feeds to the (predictably named) ‘RSS Feeds’ folder in Outlook. It doesn’t attempt to structure the feeds in any way, other than sorting them alphabetically. Even if you assigned a feed to a specific feed folder, the only place you’ll find this folder is in Internet Explorer, not in Outlook. To organise your RSS feeds in Outlook you have to manually create folders that replicate the structure in Internet Explorer. A bit of a bind I know but still well worth doing if you prefer to read RSS feeds in Outlook. Thankfully Outlook is at least smart enough to know that if you move a feed from one folder to another it should deliver future feeds to the new location.
Some tips:
  • Keep your RSS feed folder structure as simple as possible. The more folders you create the more you’ll have to navigate through.
  • Try to prioritise your feeds into folders, maybe ‘High’ and ‘Low’ could help define a priority so you read the most important feeds first
  • If you have several folders, consider numbering them like ‘1-Work’, ‘2-Personal’, ‘3-Home’ so they appear in a logical order
  • Rename long feed names to something simpler. E.g. ‘BBC Sport | Sport Homepage | World Edition’ becomes ‘BBC Sport’

You can manage your RSS feed list in lots of ways. The simplest is to right click on a feed folder in Outlook and select Properties. Another neat way is through Tools>Account Settings then the RSS Feeds tab. Here you can edit feed names (although note their appearance won’t change in Outlook), the folder where they land in Outlook and the frequency with which they update (handy if you’re on a slow connection).

If, for whatever reason, your Outlook and Internet Explorer RSS feeds are not synchronised (i.e. showing the same RSS feeds) you can fix this by following these steps:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Other tab, under General, click Advanced Options.
  3. Under General settings, select the Sync RSS Feeds to the Common Feed List check box.

The RSS integration in Outlook 2007 is not yet perfect, but with a little jiggery-pokery you can quickly turn it into the streamlined communications hub that you deserve. Let me know how you get on!