6 Microsoft Outlook Tips To Maximize Your Efficiency
Microsoft marketed Outlook 97 as more than just an email client. Outlook could manage your personal information also. It included a calendar, contact list, tasks, and more. While its mission remains the same, Outlook has evolved over the last 23 years. Adding these tricks will help you use Outlook more efficiently than ever!
1. Schedule Email Sending
Don’t want people to know you’re working at 3 am? Or maybe you’re trying to avoid a 50-message, 5-minute email conversation (they’re not text messages, people). Pump the brakes a little before you hit the send button on that reply. Outlook has another option for you.
For Windows users, click on the Options tab in a message and look for the Delay Delivery button. Under Delivery options, select the date and time you’d like to send the message. Click Close, and the Delay Delivery button should remain highlighted showing that it’s active. You can always click the button again and uncheck the box to deactivate it. We have a minor word of warning here. Once you hit the Delay Delivery button, your message will be delayed. If you don’t want it delayed, be sure to deactivate it.
For Mac users, use the arrow next to the send button, and click Send Later. Just select the date and time for the message to be delivered.
2. Use Folders For Organization
We’ve seen many, many people keep everything in the inbox. Do everyone a favor, and start using folders. You can create a new folder using the Folder tab. Just click that New Folder button. Once you have messages sorted, you can use Outlook’s search tools to find anything you need.
How you use folders is up to you, but we recommend keeping it simple. A lot of folders will lead to time lost organizing. You can use general folders like Customers, Projects, or Newsletters. Another option is just a few folders based on the priority level. Critical messages remain in your inbox. Everything else can be sorted into Non-Critical or To-Do folders.
3. Use Rules To Handle Emails Automatically
Rules can help you on so many levels. Move messages from one sender or even a whole domain to a specific folder. Mark those messages as read or forward them to another address. Delete unnecessary messages that don’t let you unsubscribe.
The easiest way to get started is by selecting an email that you’d like rules to handle. Then, click the Rules button on the Home tab and Create Rule. You can also right-click on the message and select Rules -> Create Rule.
Initially, you’ll be presented with basic options. You can always click the Advanced Options button to really work some magic. Only your imagination limits what you can do with rules. If you’re not already using them, set aside some time to implement a few.
4. Keyboard Shortcuts
As always, it’s always a good idea to learn keyboard shortcuts wherever possible. They can help you navigate any program and perform actions much more quickly. Outlook offers a variety of keyboard shortcuts. We’ve listed a few below. Hovering over buttons on the toolbar can show you many more.
Ctrl+R starts a new email reply.
Ctrl+Shift+M creates a new email.
Ctrl+1 opens the email tab.
Ctrl+2 opens the calendar.
Ctrl+3 opens contacts.
Ctrl+4 opens tasks.
5. Go To Date Function
Navigating the calendar usually isn’t too bad. However, going beyond several months or years can be annoying. Sure, you can use the navigation arrows or scroll. Neither those will beat the Go To Date function. It’s a tiny button under the Today and Next 7 Days buttons. Alternatively, you can just hit Ctrl+G. Type your date and hit enter.
6. Use The Filter, Luke
Amazingly, the Filter often goes underused. It offers a variety of ways to quickly filter down to unread messages, messages with attachments, messages in a particular date range, and much more. It defaults to the folder you’re currently looking at, but you can easily change that to all folders or even all of Outlook. Try it out for a few minutes, and you’ll find yourself using it more than you can imagine.
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