If you are going to use Outlook 2007 as an email program, and you can’t connect it to a Microsoft Exchange server, you’ll need to connect Outlook to a Web-based email account. Lots of big companies, like Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google offer free email accounts, as do hundreds of smaller companies. But not all of them are suitable for use with Outlook.
The best choice for most people is to connect Outlook to a free Gmail account from Google. Once you have a Gmail account, it only takes moments to configure the Gmail Outlook connection. This allows you to use Outlook to read messages sent to your Gmail account. It also allows you to send messages from Outlook using your Gmail account.
Why should you choose Gmail? Well, there are lots of other free email accounts out there, for example Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail. But connecting them to Outlook for free is another story. Some of the email accounts you can get for free are set up so you can view them using your Web browser, but they’re set up to prevent you from connecting to them with programs like Outlook.
Other email accounts (Yahoo! Mail & Hotmail, for example) allow you to connect them to Outlook, but they charge you a fee for the privilege. With those services, the free versions of the email account need to be upgraded to a paying version to enable the connection. There’s only a small number of Web-based email accounts that allow you to connect Outlook for free. Google’s Gmail is the biggest and best of this select group.
Gmail gives you a huge amount of free storage for your email right on the Google computers. It also provides powerful search capabilities (basically doing a Google search on your own email). Google supports the Gmail service with advertising, but you only see the ads when you use your Gmail account with your web browser, not when you use Outlook. Gmail is clearly the free email service you want to use to connect to Outlook.
The steps required to make the Gmail Outlook connection are moderately difficult, but most people can make the connection on their own or with a little help. If you want to try setting up a Gmail account & connecting it to Outlook 2007, the instructions are posted here.