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Add RSS feeds to Outlook

Google Reader used to be a great place to keep up to date with the latest news stories that were breaking around the world. However, Reader has been hidden and is no longer on Google's home page menu. Even if you know the URL, the service will stop working completely soon. If you are feeling abandoned by Google, there is always Microsoft. If you have a recent edition of Outlook you can add your RSS feeds to it and it's a useful alternative.

What is an RSS news feed?

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary and an RSS file contains a list of the latest updates on a website or section of a website. When a website is updated with new articles or stories, the headline and a brief description for each new item is compiled into an XML file and posted on one of the pages. The file contains the headline of each new story or article, a brief description in a couple of sentences, and a link to the page on the web where you can read it.

A regularly updated RSS file on a website is a useful thing to subscribe to because you can view it to see what's new on the site rather than having to hunt around yourself. A link to the RSS file is placed on the home page of a website or on the relevant page. A news site with sections for sport, politics, technology and entertainment might have a separate RSS feed for each section that lists the latest news stories posted on the website.

There are websites and software that enable you to subscribe to an RSS feed. You just tell it the URL of the RSS file and it regularly goes and gets the latest version. The contents are listed in easy-to-read form so you can see the latest website updates and go and read the articles.

RSS feed

Outlook and RSS feeds

Start Outlook and the panel on the left lists your email accounts and folders. Expand all the items and you should see one that is labelled RSS Feeds. Right click it and select Add a new RSS Feed. Switch to a web browser and find a web page with an RSS feed. Not all sites have them, but many do. They are usually indicated by a square orange icon and may say RSS or RSS Feed next to them. Right click the link or organge icon and copy the URL.

Click in the New RSS Feed box in Outlook and press CTRL+V to paste in the URL. Click Add and in a few second you will see the headings for the site's latest articles begin to appear in Outlook's main window. It looks a bit like email. Select one of the items listed and there is a longer description below with a link to the article. Click the link to open a browser and go there.

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