Outlook Tips to Save Time

Outlook Tips to Save Time

Millions of people use Microsoft Outlook to manage their email and calendar at work and at home. It’s a useful tool but the truth is that few of us really know how to make the most of its features. Learning a few simple tricks can save you time and help you work more efficiently at work and home. These tips are geared towards Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013.

Create Folders for Common Searches

You can always search the current folder by typing into the search field above the message list. If there’s a particular search you frequently carry out, you can simplify the job with a Search Folder. Go to the Folder tab and click New Search Folder to create one: you can choose from a variety of templates (such as finding mail from specific people, or mail marked as important) or set up your own criteria using the “Create a custom Search Folder” option. Your new search folder appears in the folders pane at the left-hand side of the Outlook window; click on it to see messages meeting your selected conditions. Right-click and select Rename Folder to give it a convenient name.

Filter Emails to Find Stuff

Another quick way to find specific emails is to use the Filter Email dropdown at the far right of the Home tab.  Choosing a menu option instantly filters your mailbox display to show only certain types of emails, such as those with attachments, those dated within a specific time period and so forth. Within your filtered view, you can type into the regular search box to drill down further.

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

Automate Recurring Tasks

If you find yourself regularly performing a particular task – such as forwarding an incoming email to a colleague, or inviting a group of recipients to a meeting – then Quick Steps can save you time. You’ll find a set of predefined Quick Steps in the middle of the Home tab, but the real power of the feature comes in defining your own. Click the dropdown arrow and select New Quick Step to create a custom sequence of actions that can categorize, move, flag and delete messages with a single tap of your mouse. Clicking on “Manage Quick Steps…” opens a dialog from which you can duplicate and edit shortcuts, so you can create a range of variations on a theme.

Hope these simple tricks save you time in the week ahead.

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