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Windows 8 productivity apps get much-needed facelift

Calendar
Microsoft
Microsoft

Microsoft has announced updates to its Mail, Calendar, and People apps in Windows 8, making them somewhat more viable tools for power users. The updates go live on Tuesday.

Mail received the most improvements: Users can now select to view only unread messages, flag emails as important, or manage them in folders — all critical features for email clients that seemed a rather glaring omission from the original application.

Likewise, the ability to search through mail archived on the mail server, also added this week, is a core feature that heavy emailers resort to constantly.

Composing messages has also been improved slightly, making the addition of links and bulleted lists easier.

Microsoft

The Calendar app has had its color scheme replaced with a less intense one; Calendar items will now only have a bar of color on the side indicating their type, rather than being entirely that color. It will now also provide others' schedules when inviting them to a meeting, streamlining that process.

Lastly, the People app should be a bit easier to navigate now, using app commands available by swiping down from the top of the screen. Users can also now filter the "What's new" tab by social network, and post directly to Facebook.

The updates will be live Tuesday, at which point they will appear in the updates section of the Windows Store.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.