Yes! It is actually possible to send text messages directly from Microsoft Outlook 2007 to a mobile phone, just as if you were writing an email! You use the cell phone number as the "email" address, and you send messages in 160-character blocks, all with your full-size computer keyboard--no more texter's thumb!
In this mini-tutorial I am going to show you step-by-step how to setup this exciting feature, as well as it's limitations and pitfalls.
First Things First, A Little Background
In order to send text messages from Outlook, you need to first make sure you are using version 2007. This feature does not work with version 2003 and earlier.
Secondly, you need to setup an account with a service provider to make it work. There's good news and bad news. The good news is, for a select few of you, this will be free of charge by the 3rd party company; the bad news is for most of you (including me) you have to pay for the service, and you may also get charged for each text message from your cell phone company. More on this later. For now, let's get started seeing how to set up this service.
Setting Up Outlook Mobile Service (OMS)
Your first step is to create an account with a 3rd party service. It's actually pretty easy to do. You can start directly within Outlook 2007, by going to Tools-Account Settings:
Next, you'll click New... to setup the account:
Then, click Other and select Outlook Mobile Service (Text Messaging):
Then you'll come to the screen where you setup the actual account. If you already have an account with a 3rd party messaging provider, then you would fill in the information you already have. Otherwise, it's easy to setup a new account by just clicking Fill in this information using Microsoft Office Online configuration:
On the second page of this article we'll discuss how to complete your configuration, and how to actually send text messages.