Outlook Tips and Tricks for Efficient Work Productivity

Millions of people use Microsoft Outlook for managing their email, meetings, and contacts. It offers so many features but few of us really know how to make the most of its features. When you use these useful features effectively, Microsoft Outlook enables you to do your work seamlessly and as efficiently as possible.

Few of tips and tricks are listed below

Avoid Repeated Typing with Quick Parts

If you need to use a standard passage of text over and over again, save it as a Quick Part for easy insertion in emails. To do so, simply highlight the text in the composer window, and then move to the Insert tab, click the Quick Parts dropdown and select “Save selection to Quick Parts gallery”. We can also select text with the mouse through the Quick Parts dropdown and Right-click on the text for placement options or for editing and managing Quick Parts.

Write a Message to be delivered at a Future Time

If you write emails but don’t want to send it immediately, then Outlook can hold mail in the Outbox and send it at a later date. Write your email, then switch to the Options tab and click Delay Delivery. This opens a requester with a “Do not deliver before:” field; enter a date and time, then click Close. After you hit Send, the message will be held until the specified time for sending. If you’re using an Exchange server you may need to use online mode, not the cached mode, when you set up the message and send it to the Outbox.

Group Messages Together

If you receive a large number of emails, tracking down relevant messages can be a difficult task. Outlook can group emails into conversations so that a single click can shows all related messages together. You can set this on a global or per-mailbox basis by clicking the View tab and then check “Show as Conversations”. Click the “Arrange By:” bar at the top of the message list.

Create Search Folder for Common Searches

When you search for emails in Outlook, the default location is your Current Mailbox If there’s any search you perform often, just save the search for quick access. Click on Search Folders in the left navigation menu, select “New Search Folder,” and then either use the wizards or manually customize the search to your specifications. Right-click and select Rename Folder to give it a convenient name.

Filter Emails to find Relevant Messages

Another way to find specific emails is to use the Filter Email drop-down option as part of the Home tab. Select a menu option which instantly filters your mailbox to display only certain types of emails, such as within specific dates, with attachments and so forth. Within your filtered view, you can also type into the search box to drill down further.

For more search options, select “More Filters…” from the drop-down to make the Search Tools tab visible where you’ll find additional settings, as well as the Recent Searches dropdown that lets you repeat recent searches with a single click.

Block or Ignore Unwanted Email

If someone keeps spamming your inbox, you can block emails from that sender by clicking the Junk drop down from the Home tab. By Selecting “Junk E-mail Options” to open a configuration dialog that lets you specify what is considered as junk and what is not. If the sender is known but the conversation isn’t relevant then click Ignore. This doesn’t permanently block anyone but move the particular conversation and all future emails to the Deleted Items folder as soon as they arrive.

Create New Emails and Appointments Instantly

You can create new emails, appointments, contacts and so forth using the New Items drop-down on the Home tab. If you don’t want to open the Outlook interface, just right-click on Outlook’s icon to open a jump list offering direct shortcuts to create any of this new item.

Sort your mail with Rules and Conditional Formatting

The Rules drop-down in the Move section of the Home tab provides options to create and manage rules for automatically processing messages as they arrive. Select Create Rule and you’ll be given the option to set all sorts of criteria to check for – sender, recipient, size, date and more – and choose what should happen to match emails.

A similar feature is Conditional Formatting, which lets you choose the messages that meet certain standards to have a different formatting so that you can instantly spot them in your inbox. The email that meets the set criteria can be customized with a different font, color, size, style, and effect. To do so, simply choose View – Arrangeby-Custom.- Automatic Formatting.

Send Text Messages from Outlook

You can send SMS text messages directly to your contacts. You’ll need to register with a third-party messaging service to use this feature. To set up SMS, click the New Items dropdown under the Home tab, select Text message which will open a new dialog box, then click to find a text messaging service for your mobile operator.

Delegate Access to your Mail and Calendar

Delegating Access is an Outlook feature that allows someone else to manage your inbox and appointments temporarily. To set this up, open the file tab , then click the Account Settings drop-down and choose Delegate Access. Click Add and enter the name of the person or people to whom you want to grant access. You’ll see a set of dropdowns for permissions: by default, your delegate can access and update your calendar and task list, while email and contacts remain private.

Note that your delegate must be using the same version of Outlook as you, and the items you want them to access must be stored on an Exchange server: they won’t be able to get at a mailbox that lives on your hard drive.

Dual Time Zones Settings

If you are working across multiple time zones before you schedule any meeting it’s important to know the time on the other side to avoid setting up meetings and appointments that might be too early or too late. Outlook can help you by showing two time zones at the same time. To enable it, go to Tools | Options | preferences|CalendarOptions|Timezone button and add a second-time-zone. Now when you view the calendar in a day planner format where you’ll see two-time scales displayed. You can right click on the scale and choose Time zones to change zones or swap them.

“Post-it” Notes

Outlook includes a built-in sticky note feature which helps to save the information that you might need later, such as directions or text you want to reuse in other items or documents. To create or manage your notes, click on the Note icon at the bottom of the View pane or simply press Ctrl+Shift+N from anywhere in the Outlook interface. Type the text of the note which saves automatically.

Outlook’s Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ctrl+R − reply to email
  • Alt+R − reply to all in email or switch to the work week calendar view
  • Alt+W − forward email or switch to the weekly calendar view
  • Ctrl+M − F9 to Send/Receive all
  • Alt+S − Send email
  • Ctrl+G − open the “Go to date” dialog to jump to any date in the calendar.
  • Ctrl + [the place number of the item] − switch between mail, calendar, contacts, and other items in the navigation pane.eg, Ctrl+1 is for Mail etc

Hopefully, these tricks can save your time, help you to work more efficiently and synchronize home and work life.

Sharon Christine
Sharon Christine

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest

Updated on: 17-Jan-2020


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