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Puryear IT Provides Tips and Tricks for Getting the Most Out Of Microsoft Outlook

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Puryear IT recently held an informative webinar to help our clients get the most out of their Microsoft Outlook experience. Headed by Puryear IT CEO Dustin Puryear, the webinar offered little-known tips and trick to help cut down the time spent using Microsoft Outlook on a daily basis.

Microsoft Outlook Time Saving Tips and Tricks
Watch Our Webcast Replay Below

What is Microsoft Outlook?

Microsoft Outlook is the dominant email client in the business world today. Despite the fact that most people use Microsoft Outlook for email and calendar management, Microsoft tells us it’s a personal information manager (PIM) because it can also allow users to connect to SharePoint, view RSS feeds, and much more. This webinar focused primarily on email and calendar features and was designed with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook desktop Google app users in mind.

Only See Unread Email

The first portion of the webinar focused on what is likely the most common issue encountered by users: managing their inbox (i.e. “inbox clutter). This can be remedied by setting up the inbox to only show unread emails.

  • This can be done by clicking “Unread” at the top of the inbox.
  • To configure this feature, simply click View > Change View >  Manage Views, then copy the “Compact” default view, and create a new view called “Unread”, in which your inbox is filtered by unread message.
  • This process can also be used to filter for only emails that have attachments, only unread emails, etc.

However, it’s still cumbersome to have to switch between each of the views. The next tip explained how to create a special Quick Access Toolbar option to toggle between the views.

  • Click More Commands > View Tab > Add, which adds it to the quick menu bar, which makes it easy to quickly switch between multiple views.
  • Microsoft Outlook will even remember your last used View in each folder.
  • What’s more, the search function honors the filter currently set in place.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The keyboard is your friend! So many users insist on using the mouse to input commands, but they could save so much time by learning just a few simply keyboard shortcuts.

The three basic universal shortcuts that you should memorize and use across all Microsoft apps are:

  • CTRL + C – Copy
  • CRTL + X – Cut
  • CRTL + V – Paste

There are also shortcuts specific to Microsoft Outlook that can help you save time in managing your email and calendar, which include:

  • CRTL + R – Reply
  • ALT + W – Forward
  • ALT + R – Reply All
  • CRTL + G – Go To Date – This is useful for checking the Microsoft Outlook calendar to see whether you’re busy at a given time. After entering the shortcut, you will be prompted to enter a date. Do so and click OK, at which point you’ll be automatically taken to that date in your calendar, which saves you the time of looking manually.
  • CRTL + 1 takes you to the Email tab
  • CRTL + 2 takes you to the Calendar tab
  • CRTL + 3 takes you to Address Book
  • CRTL + 5 takes you to Tasks
  • Input copied text into a new email: Instead of copying text, opening a new email and pasting the text, simply input CRTL + V in Microsoft Outlook after copying the text to your clipboard, and a new email with the copied text will automatically open.

Microsoft Outlook Quick Steps

Quick Steps are a way to create a Macro, or automated set of actions, for your Email or Calendar. For example, without the right Quick Step, the process of acknowledging a customer request would require two steps: emailing the customer in response, and forwarding that email to the service team. However, by creating a Quick Step for this process, you can get it done a lot faster.

  • Simply click Create New > Title “Customer Request” > Forward (enter Service Team Email) > Add Action > Reply > Enter Response Text > Add Action > Mark As Read > Finish.
  • Your new Quick Step, titled “Customer Request” will now appear with the other default Quick Steps.

This process can be applied to any repetitive and tedious task that you perform in Microsoft Outlook every day to help you save time. You can forward to multiple people, edit CCs and BCCs, edit topic lines and more.

Inbox Vs Inbox CC

As a manager or executive, you’re likely CC’d on a lot of emails every day. Instead of managing these emails manually, you can create an “Inbox CC” to filter them out of your daily mail and keep them organized for easy access as need be.

  • Click Create Rule > Advanced Options > Move “Where My Name Is Not In The To Field” to a new folder > Name that folder “Inbox CC” > Finish

These rules can be applied to a wide range of actions in Microsoft Outlook. It’s important to keep in mind that the order of your rules determines how they are applied. Your first rule will take effect on an eligible message before the second or third.

Microsoft Outlook Forms (Templates)

Email is often used to send the same type of message to many different recipients on different occasions. Microsoft Outlook forms can help you cut down the time it takes to create messages such as weekly progress update, request for office supplies, etc. For example, say you need to send a weekly progress report that will have the same format, and be sent to the same recipients each time.

  • Choose Save As > Template > Save to Desktop > OK

This now creates a desktop file that, when opened, opens a new email with this same format and text. To remove clutter in your desktop, you can save or drag the file into a Template folder in your Microsoft Outlook window.

Search Folders vs Rules

While many people use Rules to sort mail into subfolders, a much more efficient method of achieving this is by using search folders. (Note: it is recommended that Microsoft Outlook Web access users stick to Rules for this function, as Search Folders are much more difficult to set up in web access). 

To create a Search Folder:

  • Right click “Search Folders” in the folders list > New Search Folder > Input search filter parameter (e.g. from a specific sender, from Microsoft, etc.) > OK

This automatically creates a window into the Inbox (and all folders and subfolders) showing all the emails that fit that one parameter. You can also use this to find emails from specific domains, that have been sent directly to you, older email, etc.

Why Not PST Files

The last portion of the webinar provided information about PST files and why it’s important to avoid them. These files are used to download emails and do not leave a copy on the server. They’re almost universally condemned in IT because they remove the backup copy, meaning that if you encounter an error on your PC and fail to save the PST file elsewhere, you’ve lost that email forever. Furthermore, they get very slow as they grow, which can affect your PCs speed. Due to this, Microsoft specifically refuses to store active PST files on a file server.

For expert consultation on all Microsoft technologies, get in touch with Puryear IT today at (225) 706-8414 or info@puryear-it.com.

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