Outlook tip #1 – Calendar sharing
Calendar sharing is a great communication tool. Why share your Outlook calendar?
- Sharing your availability
- Scheduling appointments for others or vice versa
- Coordinating one or more individuals for meetings or service calls
Outlook tip # 2 – Creating multiple Outlook calendars
This tip may seem obvious, but I don’t actually know anybody who does it (besides myself)! In Outlook, it’s possible to create additional calendars for yourself. This can be useful for several purposes, but my favourite use of this is in long-term planning.
Whether we are laying out all of our internal meetings for the next year, or brainstorming the best way to schedule our technical recurring appointments, a dedicated calendar can serve as a virtual ‘white board’ of sorts for laying out a bunch of stuff and seeing how it all connects together throughout the year. We have just finished populating a calendar with all of our technical appointments for the upcoming year. It was printed off and we had a great, engaging team meeting about what adjustments needed to be made. The calendar at this point is only temporary (like the notes on a white board) but its been a great tool in our planning process.
To create a new calendar in Outlook, just right-click Calendar and choose New Calendar.
Enter an appropriate name and you’re ready go to.
Outlook tip # 3 – Using Outlook Search Folders
Outlook Search Folders are virtual folders that show you email items from across your entire mailbox which match a certain search criteria. They are a great way of filtering and finding email quickly. If you find yourself regularly searching for the same things over and over, simply create a Search Folder and save yourself the trouble!
It is easy to understand the concept of Search Folders by looking at the ones you probably already have by default, which are these three:
For Follow Up – Any item with a flag
Large Mail – Any item larger than 100 Kilobytes, great for cleaning out your inbox
Unread Mail – Any unread email item
These folders can be found in your Outlook folder tree under Search Folders:
In addition to the defaults, you can create Search Folders for pretty much anything, such as Mail from specific people, Mail with attachments, or a custom set of criteria that you specify yourself.
Take a few minutes to consider how you use email and how Search Folders might save you time.
Outlook tip # 4 – Easily calculate dates for tasks and calendar entries in Outlook
When using either the tasks or calendar features of Outlook, you can use this tip to enter dates even faster:
Let’s say you have just started a project today and want to create a task reminding you to, for example, order parts in 5 days. Create a new task in Outlook, and in the Due Date field, enter 5 days.
You are not limited to using days as a calculation unit. You can also enter things like 2 weeks or 1 month. This doesn’t take into account holidays, weekends, etc. but it is great for at least ensuring that you get a heads-up before reaching a deadline.
Outlook tip # 5 – Find related messages in Outlook
You are having an email discussion with someone, going back and forth and you come to a point where you need to reference a different email from the same person. Or, perhaps you need to find an earlier message from this same conversation that you tucked away in your magnificent Outlook folder scheme. But you can’t remember exactly where it is. Outlook can find what you’re looking for – and fast!
Right-click any email and on the pop-up menu you will see Find Related. Within that submenu you can ask Outlook to find all messages that were a part of the (email) conversation or you can find all email from the sender.
Outlook tip # 6 – Take advantage of quick steps
Quick Steps is a feature built into Outlook that allows you to create templates, to do different types of actions. So whether you continuously create a new email that is going to the same people all the time, it has the same subject, it has some of the same body content etc. Using Quick Steps would allow you do this without having to go back to a previous message, make modifications to it, and then send it out.