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The Ribbon, or the long toolbar at the top of your Outlook screen view, should be immediately familiar if you've ever used the Microsoft Office suite. The Ribbon.
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Fortunately, Outlook makes it easy to color code tasks, making important obligations pop out from the bar. Just as we discovered for meetings and events in chapter two, you can set recurring tasks at the frequency and time of your choosing. Outlook makes it easy to prep for weekly sales calls with clients and prospects. Creating a task template for common tasks is very similar to creating a task template for a meeting or event, which we described back in chapter two. If there are other parties to the task, enter their emails as well.

Next, save it as an Outlook Template. Just like any other task, you can color code task templates. Every task template you create is one less task you have to make from scratch. That can be a huge time-saver for folks with cluttered ToDo Bars. If you routinely deal with new prospects, creating reminders of each meeting from scratch can quickly become cumbersome.

This chapter includes instruction on creating, foldering and flagging email, creating meetings and contacts from email, saving and printing email and producing powerful templates within your inbox. Creating logical mail folders is a big first step towards mastering your Outlook inbox and email. We all know the moment of panic that accompanies the realization that a key deadline has passed. To flag a message for action during the current calendar day, simply click the Flag icon where it appears in your inbox.

You can also add a reminder to very important messages: A similar principle—and similarly clutch time-saving capabilities—applies to creating a contact from an Outlook email message. To do so, simply open the message from the person you want to turn into a contact. Outlook lets you save emails directly to your hard drive or an external drive in multiple formats, including PDF and XPS.

Now you can refer to your most important, long-term emails without even opening Outlook. Printing an email for future reference is easy as well. Simply open the message and click the Microsoft Office button in your Outlook Ribbon. Here are four that everyone—yes, that means you—should be using. Do you oversee or work on multiple projects and spend large periods creating status updates for each one? You can turn any Outlook task into a status update.

Creating a meeting request template is similar to creating a meeting invitation template in your Outlook Calendar. Save it in your Outlook Template folder. If you routinely change meetings from their scheduled times, you may need an email template that can accommodate these shifts—and notify the relevant people before they waste valuable time on a phantom meeting.


Use the template-creating process described above to produce a generic email that you can send out ahead of the inevitable reschedule. You can easily create a customized email template to send out such responses quickly and effortlessly. Again, the process for creating this template is the same as that described above. Be sure to word the email in a generic, professional manner that appeals to all client personas. Note that you can also create and save an email template using any received email.

If possible, open your Outlook program and follow along as we outline each of the features in the following four chapters. While some themes might be challenging, this section will help you harness the full power of Outlook in your workday routine. What if there was a way to combine multiple email tasks into a single automated action? With Quick Steps, there is—and it could save you a lot of time and effort. Simply put, Quick Steps lets you combine multiple tasks into one automated action. Think of each Quick Step as a one-click solution to a function that normally takes multiple steps to address.

As email management guru David Allen notes, your email inbox needs to be free of clutter to achieve maximal function. Rather, it means making an efficient decision about each email or the information contained therein in a timely fashion.

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Quick Steps is critical to this process. By reducing the number of discrete steps you need to take to get email-related functions done, Quick Steps reduces decision fatigue and frees up time and energy to focus on the more important—and enjoyable—aspects of your workday.

First introduced for Outlook , Quick Steps is now an indispensable feature of the platform. Its beauty lies in its versatility: Here are four Quick Steps that you might not have considered before. We find them extremely useful and believe you will as well:. This Quick Step helps you convert the email to a task quickly, send out an acknowledgement, and then store the email itself for posterity. Used properly, it can mean the difference between a flurry of reminder emails and a satisfied coworker or boss.

For instance, you might need to copy your support team every time a customer account comes to you with a bug or problem. You can create multiple email templates to use with this Quick Step.

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This is great for routine status checks or reports that you need to send to a regular cast of recipients. For instance, you might need to send a daily or weekly sales update to your direct boss, the VP above her and other members of your sales team. For instance, if all the email you get from a specific sender has the same theme, you can create a rule that sends it to a given folder—and eliminates the need to manually check it first. Otherwise, you could get duplicate emails or deal with other annoyances. Automatic filtering is another powerful concept that can dramatically simplify your Outlook experience.

You can use filters to separate nonessential emails from messages that demand your immediate attention, reducing the need to slog through your rapidly expanding inbox in search of relevant material. You can also filter by sender. Finally, you can create Rules that function as automatic filters for your email, making certain messages stand out in your inbox or folders. Can a few simple shortcuts save you almost an hour each workweek?

How to Use Microsoft Outlook (Essential Tutorial Guide) - Envato Tuts+ Business Tutorials

We ran a basic simulation and found that—on average—you can save nearly 10 minutes per day by leveraging the potential of these shortcuts. That translates to dramatically improved efficiency and even less exposure to decision fatigue. In particular, this chapter will focus on leveraging standard Outlook shortcuts. Do you want to be able to display blocked external content in an email message? Call up the download menu? Show multiple days in your Outlook Calendar? In fact, there are literally hundreds of standard shortcuts for simple Outlook tasks.

The table below contains many of the most common.

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Time how long it takes you to complete any of the tasks above using your mouse. Write it down, and then time how long it takes with the shortcuts above. When you think about how many simple tasks you perform on a daily basis, it quickly becomes clear that standard shortcuts can add precious minutes to your day. Since every Outlook user is unique, custom shortcuts can be even more powerful than standard shortcuts. Keep in mind that you can add and remove keyboard shortcuts as your needs change.

How can you keep track of it all? With advanced search techniques, you can easily find and —not hours after the fact. Thankfully, advanced search techniques are a lot like keyboard shortcuts, reducing the number of inputs you need to make to achieve a desired results.

Outlook is rife with features that can reduce decision fatigue and boost your efficiency. You just have to know where to find them. In the table below, we outline some of the most important. There are a few that demand special attention due to their usefulness or frequency of use. This has the effect of narrowing a search. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

The Ultimate Help Guide to Using Outlook When used properly, Outlook can dramatically improve your productivity by reducing the number of small decisions you have to make and streamlining the repetitive tasks that can eat up huge chunks of your day. The Ribbon — What Is It? To minimize the Ribbon and use it while minimized, follow these steps: This removes most of the icons from the Ribbon view, leaving only the tabs above it. To perform a function with the Ribbon minimized, click the tab that houses the function, and then select the appropriate command.

To customize the Quick Access Toolbar, follow these steps: Here you can quickly add or remove the most used commands in Outlook. To add a Quick Access Toolbar command not found in the ribbon, follow these steps: Scroll the list to find the appropriate command you would like to add. To edit these columns in your messages view, follow these steps: To add icons to the interface, follow these steps: Create your own Card View object by following these steps: To change the To-Do Bar, follow these steps: To minimize the Folder Pane, follow these steps: To save a Custom View, these steps: Choose the view type you want to customize.

Make your desired changes using the menus provided. Close the dialog box. If you don't like the changes you made, or just want to start over, choose Reset. Email connects you to people inside and outside your organization. You can add an electronic signature and attachments to your email messages.

From any mail folder such as your Inbox , choose New Email. For more information, see Create an email message. Create personalized signatures that appear at the bottom of your messages. Signatures can include text, images, your Electronic Business Card, a logo, or even an image of your handwritten signature. On the Email Signature tab, choose New. In the E-mail account list, choose an email account to associate with the signature. In the New messages list, choose the signature that you want to be added automatically to all new email messages.

If you don't want to auto sign your email messages, you can ignore this option as none is the default value. Otherwise, accept the default option of none. Under Edit signature , type the signature , and then choose OK. In a new message, choose Signature , and then choose the signature that you want. For more information, see Create and add an email message signature. On the ribbon or in the reading pane, choose Reply , Reply All , or Forward. In the To , Cc , or Bcc box, do one of the following:. To remove a recipient, click in the appropriate box, choose the recipient's name, and then press Delete.

For more information, see Reply to or forward an email message. To share a file, you can attach it to your message. You can also attach other Outlook items, such as messages, contacts, or tasks. Create a new message, or choose an existing message and choose Reply , Reply All , or Forward. For more information, see Attach a file, message, contact, or task to an email message. You can open an attachment from the reading pane or from an open message. After opening and viewing an attachment, you can save it. If a message has more than one attachment, you can save them as a group or one at a time.

Depending on the version of Outlook you're using, there might be multiple options available to open an attachment. For more information, see Open attachments. On the Attachments tab, in the Actions group, choose Save As. You can also right-click the attachment, and then choose Save As. For more information, see Save attachments. Appointments and meetings are a byproduct of your personal and business life and your calendar is the perfect vehicle for managing both. With Outlook you also can set reminders of scheduled events. In a Calendar folder, choose New Appointment.

You can also right-click a time block in your calendar grid, and then choose New Appointment. For more information, see Schedule an appointment. In Outlook, a meeting includes other people and can include resources such as conference rooms. For more information, see Schedule a meeting with other people. You can set or remove reminders for almost anything in Outlook, including email messages, appointments, and contacts. Open an Appointment or Meeting , and then in the Reminder list box, choose the amount of time before the appointment or meeting when you want the reminder to appear.

To turn off a reminder, choose None. You can quickly flag email messages as to-do items by using reminders. Right-click the flag in the message list to add a reminder. People is the bucket name for those persons—and companies—who form your business and personal contacts. Who you add as a contact is completely discretionary and the only restrictions that might apply as to who you can or can't add are the limitations that you or your company impose.

Your company, for example, might have rules about correspondence with certain external email addresses. A contact can be as simple as a name and email addresses, or you can include, for example, details such as street addresses, multiple phone numbers, a picture, and birthdays.

You'll find your Contacts under the People option in the shortcuts bar in the lower-left corner of the Outlook window. For more information, see Create or add a contact. Saving a copy of contacts in your address book is a good practice. In Outlook or Outlook for Windows, you can download a comma-separated value.