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Top 10 Tips for Outlook

Microsoft Office Outlook offers an integrated solution for managing your time and information, connecting across boundaries, and remaining in control of the information that reaches you. Outlook delivers innovations you can use to quickly search your communications, organize your work, and better share your information with others — all from one place.

Some useful features of Microsoft Outlook comprise:

  • Full blown Contact Manager
  • Full HTML Email capability
  • Calendar
  • Contacts with consumer history of correspondence
  • To-Do lists
  • Mail Merge

Microsoft Outlook or MS Outlook helps you to:Store, track and manage all your information and communications in one place
Track your appointments, meetings, and tasks on your Calendar and store information about everyone from your customer and business associations to friends and family in your Contact lists.

Provides the tools to help you address all your contact management needs.

If you are not quite familiar with all features of Outlook or want to utilize it more efficiently, here are a few tips that can help you to make the most optimum use of Outlook installed on your machine:

1) Speed up your searches in Outlook – If you get boggled by the amount of emails in your Inbox (especially those hundreds of mails from an important client or senior colleague), there is a simple way to speed up the search for relevant mail. In case you have a very large inbox that is always filled with messages, you can use one of the free desktop search tools to get instant results back when you look for messages. A tool like Copernic Desktop Search makes it possible for you to keep your e-mails indexed, and even if you have a huge inbox or individual folder to search within, the results will come back in about a second.

2) Recall a message that you sent incorrectly – There is no need to panic if you sent an incorrect email to someone or sent to the wrong recipient(s). In all Outlook versions – 2000 and above, you can recall an email message that you have sent to another user of the application. This feature however works only if the receiver has not opened the mail yet. To recall a sent message, simply go to your ‘Sent Items Folder’, open the message that you wish to recall and select Actions-Recall from the Menu bar. From the ‘Recall This Message’ dialog box, you may choose to simply delete unread copies of the message, or can replace unread copies with a brand new message.

3) Use short cuts for the Date Navigator – This is the small calendar on the top right corner of the calendar views. A click on the navigator can change the days shown in the main view pane. To navigate quickly through the calendar, simply use:

  • Alt/Up Arrow – For going to the same day in the previous week
  • Alt/Down Arrow – For going to the same day in the next week
  • Alt/Page Up – For going to the first day of the month
  • Alt/Page Down – For going to the last day of the month

4) Create and add Word Signature to mail messages – For inserting a signature into a message, while using MS Word as email editor, you:

  • Select Insert/Auto Text from Menu
  • Point to Email Signature
  • Select the name for Signature
  • Copy the Signature from MS Word and paste it in Outlook.

5) Create a V Card for mail messages – While creating a signature in Microsoft Outlook, you are given the option to attach a VCard to the signature. VCard is an electronic business card that allows the Email recipient to add full contact information into their contacts database with very little effort. Remember, that in the Contacts window, you should include only the information you want others to view as part of the VCard. To create your VCard:

  • Create a new contact or open an existing one
  • Click the File menu in the Contact window
  • Click Export to VCard File
  • Enter a file name for the VCard
  • Click Save

6) Shortcuts to Create, Reply and Forward Messages – If you prefer to work fast without using the mouse frequently, use these keyboard shortcuts to create and work with messages on Outlook.

  • Ctrl+ N = New message
  • Ctrl+ R = Reply to a message
  • Ctrl + F = Forward a massage

7) Send emails to multiple IDs without all of them appearing in the ‘To’ column – It is easy to avoid a long list of email addresses in the TO box by doing the following:

Set up a ‘contact’ in Outlook named “Recipient List Suppressed” and use your email ID in the address area
Set up a new distribution list – name it and add all email IDs that you send mails to
When you need to send a message that is going to the large distribution list:

– In the TO: area, use your ‘Recipient List Suppressed’ contact (which is YOU)

– In the BCC: area, select your large Distribution List

– Send your message

The only thing the recipients of the email will be able to view in the TO: area is ‘Recipient List'

8) Navigation Short cut keys – Some simple keyboard shortcuts that can be used to toggle between different sections on MS Outlook include:

  • Ctrl+1 – To switch to Mail
  • Ctrl+2 – To switch to Calendar
  • Ctrl+3 – To switch to Contacts
  • Ctrl+4 – To switch to Tasks
  • Ctrl+5 – To switch to Notes
  • Ctrl+Shift+I – To switch to Inbox

9) Deal with stuck outgoing messages – At times, you send a message only to find that it just gets stuck in the Outbox for minutes or hours! To send a message that is just sits in the Outbox, simply open it again, save any changes that you may have made to the message, and click the Send button. If the message still does not go, copy the contents and paste into a new message window. Send the identical, new message and delete the original, stuck message from the Outbox.

10) Delete email address entries on Auto Complete List – While creating a new mail message, there can be instances when the AutoComplete listing has incorrect email IDs. If you accidentally sent an email using an incorrect email address, that address starts appearing on the AutoComplete listing. These can be deleted quickly – use Up or Down Arrows on keyboard to select the name on the AutoComplete list and hit Delete!

About the Author:Frank Johnson is a regular editorial contributor on technology products and services and business operation tips that help small to mid size enterprises. To know more about setting up using MS Outlook effectively, you may interact with him here

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