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10 Simple Outlook Tips

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Looking for tips using Outlook? We put together a list of some of our favorite features.



Streamlined Mail Experience - Outlook helps you read, organize, follow-up, and find e-mail messages more efficiently than before. The new window layout displays more information on the screen at one time, even on smaller monitors. The list of messages has been redesigned to use space more intelligently; as a result, you will spend less time scrolling and more time getting your work done. Automatic grouping of your messages helps you find and go to e-mail messages anywhere in the list more quickly than before; you can even move or delete all messages in a group at once!


Junk E-mail Filter - The Junk E-mail Filter helps prevent much of the unwanted e-mail that you receive every day. It uses state-of-the-art technology developed by Microsoft Research to evaluate whether a message should be treated as junk e-mail based on several factors, such as the time it was sent and the content of the message. The filter does not single out any particular sender or type of e-mail; it is based on the content of the message in general and uses advanced analysis of the structure of the message to determine the probability that it is junk e-mail. Any message that is caught by the filter is moved to your Junk E-mail folder, where it can be retrieved or reviewed at a later time. You can add e-mail addresses to your Safe Senders List to ensure that messages from these senders will never be treated as junk e-mail and block messages from certain e-mail addresses or domain names by adding the sender to your Blocked Senders List.


Navigation Pane - The Navigation Pane is more than a simple list of folders: It combines the main navigation and sharing features of Outlook into one, easy-to-use place. In Mail, you will see more mail folders than before, and you can add your favorite folders to the top of the list. In Calendar, you can view other people’s shared calendars side-by-side with your own Calendar. In Contacts, you will see the list of all contacts folders you can open - whether stored on your computer or on a network location, as well as improved ways to view your contacts. All eight of the Outlook modules have a user interface designed to help you quickly see what you are looking for, in the way that you like to see it.


Reading Pane - The Reading Pane is a great place to read e-mail messages without needing to open a separate window for each message. Like a piece of paper, the Reading Pane is laid out vertically. This layout is easier on your eyes and, together with the new multi-line message list, means that you can see nearly twice as much of an e-mail message on the same size monitor as compared to the Preview Pane in earlier versions of Outlook.


Quick Flags - If you need to respond to an e-mail message but you don’t have the time now, you can click on the flag icon next to it to mark it with a Quick Flag. Multiple colored flags make it easy to categorize your messages. The folder named "For Follow Up" always contains an up-to-date list of all Quick Flagged messages in every folder in your mailbox.


Arrange By Conversation - If you receive many e-mail messages daily, you could benefit from a grouping option called Arrange By Conversation. Arrange By Conversation view shows your message list in a conversation-oriented or "threaded" view. To help you read your e-mail messages as quickly as possible, the Arrange By Conversation view displays only unread and Quick Flagged messages at first. Each conversation can be expanded further to show all messages in the conversation, including messages you have already read. To arrange your messages this way, click Arrange By Conversation on the View menu.


Search Folders - Search Folders contain constantly-updated search results of all e-mail items matching specific search criteria. You can see all the unread e-mail messages from every folder in your mailbox in a Search Folder named "Unread Mail." To help you reduce the size of your mailbox, the "Large Mail" Search Folder shows you the largest mail in your mailbox, regardless of what folder the messages are stored in. You can also create your own Search Folders: Choose from a list of pre-defined templates or create a search with custom criteria and save it as a Search Folder for future use.


Side-by-Side Calendars - You can now view multiple calendars side-by-side inside of the Outlook Calendar window. All calendars can be seen side-by-side: local calendars, public folder calendars, other users’ calendars, or Microsoft Windows® SharePoint™ Services team event lists. The calendars are color-coded to help you tell them apart.


Rules and Alerts - Outlook will alert you when new e-mail messages arrive in your Inbox by displaying a subtle notification on your desktop, even when you’re using another program. You can quickly create rules to file e-mail based on the message by selecting the message and clicking Create Rule.


Cached Exchange Mode - If you use Microsoft Exchange Server you no longer have to worry about problems caused by slow or far-away networks. Outlook can download your mailbox to your computer, reducing the need to communicate with the e-mail server. If the network becomes unavailable, Outlook will keep using the information it has already downloaded — and you might not even realize the network is gone! Outlook adapts to the type of network available, downloading more e-mail items over faster networks and giving you more control over what is downloaded over slower networks. If you use Outlook 2003 with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, you will benefit from a significant reduction in network traffic, helping you get to your information faster.


And Much More - There are many more features in Outlook that we didn’t have space to describe here, including AutoSuggest addressing, Meetings Workspaces, Live Attachments, the resizable Address Book, Contact Pictures, Distribution List expansion, Alerts, the Current Time Indicator, privacy and performance enhancements, data files larger than 2 gigabytes (GB), full Unicode support, usability improvements throughout the product, online training for Outlook available on the Microsoft Office Online Web site, and more.


To keep up with the latest information about Outlook, sign up for a free subscription to the Inside Office Newsletter. The newsletter will be sent to you by e-mail on a regular basis. Although it is impossible for them to answer all of your questions personally, please feel free to follow this link if you want to let them know what you think about Outlook. They're always looking for feedback from the people who use Outlook every day!


Source: Microsoft Outlook