Microsoft Corp. announced Thursday the release of e-mail and organizational tool Outlook 2002, aimed at streamlining e-mail, scheduling and general tasks for Exchange Server users, the company said in a statement.

The latest version of Outlook features indexing and search functions for all content in Exchange 2000 Server, including messages, documents, contacts, tasks, calendar items and other data. Exchange is an e-mail and workgroup application server that includes collaborative features such as instant messaging as well as indexing capabilities.

Outlook 2002 also offers Exchange 2000 customers the ability to use Exchange’s instant messaging service, as well as access to better e-mail maintenance and more flexible calendar options. In addition, users looking to work offline over a slow connection will now be able to do so more quickly, while those working with Exchange Server online can prevent Outlook from synchronizing automatically.

Outlook 2002 will be included in all Office XP suites and will be available to Exchange 2000 users in Service Pack 1 in mid-2001.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., can be reached at