As part of our tips and tricks series, we have already shown some great info on how to be more productive with Microsoft Word – read our previous post Tips and Tricks: Are you being productive in Microsoft Word?.

In today’s post, we will continue our trip though the Microsoft Office suite.

Microsoft Outlook is a widely used email client my small and medium enterprises, and also has some great features to help you make the most of your time. A BALANCED+ MS Outlook guru shared some of his tips, tricks, and shortcuts to work faster in MS Outlook.

A lot of things that apply for Word, apply for Outlook as well. Namely:

  1. Text selection and navigation
  2. Easy text alignment
  3. Copy and Paste Text
  4. Undoing actions
  5. Finding and replacing text
  6. Spelling check
  7. Text formatting

Convenient Keyboard Shortcuts:

  1. To create a new email message, Ctrl+N
  2. To reply to a message, Ctrl+R
  3. To Reply to All, Ctrl+Shift+R
  4. To forward a message, Ctrl+F
  5. To send a message, Ctrl+Enter (unless this option is disabled)
  6. Switch between mail, calendar, contacts, and other items in the navigation pane by hitting Ctrl + [the place number of the item],
    • e.g. Ctrl+1 will open mail, Ctrl+2 will open the calendar, and so forth.
  7. Create a new item from the clipboard. Copy any text to your clipboard, then in Outlook press Ctrl+V. Outlook will create a new message (or note or appointment or whatever item, depending on the folder you’re viewing) with the text already pasted.

Inbox Organization

You can create inbox folders and rules to direct messages with certain senders to those folders, so the messages will automatically go to those folders.

  1. To create a folder, right-click on the Inbox, select New Folder, and type the folder name.
  2. To create a rule, select the email from the sender for whom you want to make the rule, right-click and select Create Rule.
  3. Select the “From …” checkbox.
  4. Select the “Move the item to folder:” checkbox and click Select Folder, and then select the folder you created for that person.
  5. You can do similar organisation based on subject, not recipient.

Managing Multiple Signatures

  1. Go to File > Options > Mail > Click on Signatures.
  2. Click New, and type a name for the signature.
  3. Enter the text and formatting for the signature, when finished click Save.
  4. In the drop-down menus on the right, select from the dropdown the signature you want to use for
    • New Messages (full signature)
    • Replies/Forwards (shortened signature)

Using Follow-up flags to track messages / tasks

This is a convenient feature that lets you remember if you need to follow up on an email.

  1. For an email you want to track, click on the flag beside it (on the right).
    • To select a different priority (time range within which to follow up), right-click on the Flag beside it and select the appropriate time range.
  2. The email will now appear in Tasks.
    • To stop tracking the email (i.e. to mark the task as complete), in the list of Tasks, click on the flag – it will change to a check mark and disappear from the list.
    • You can do the same in your inbox by clicking on the flag.

Saving important emails as files

  1. To save an email as a file, open the email, go to File > Save as, and select the location to which you want to save. The email will be saved as an Outlook message that can be opened with Outlook.
  2. To save as a PDF, simply print the email as a PDF (File > Print > Select Microsoft Print to PDF printer)

Manual Send/Receive

This allows you to have a second look through all your emails before you send them, but requires you to remember to do that.

  1. To set manual Send/Receive, go to File > Options > Advanced > Scroll to Send and Receive.
  2. Uncheck the box “Send immediately when connected” and press OK.
  3. Now, all emails that you send will appear in the Outbox.
  4. To send all emails in the Outbox, in the Home tab press “Send/Receive All Folders”.

Our Thoughts

Microsoft Outlook is a powerful tool that can greatly improve your productivity if used effectively. By following these tips and tricks, you can better manage your inbox, schedule, and tasks, while also reducing the time spent on administrative tasks. With a little practice and patience, you can turn Microsoft Outlook into a streamlined and efficient tool that helps you stay organized and focused on what really matters. So why not give it a try and see how it can benefit you?