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Mastering Outlook

Although it can be a great office management tool, Outlook can quickly become a hindrance to your productivity if you don’t know how to use it properly.

In the hopes of saving you some time, we gathered the best tips and tricks for using Outlook’s capabilities to the fullest.

1. Get Organized.

Being organized is the key to productivity. Luckily, Outlook has many features to help with that.

Andy Lanning, a Microsoft Office computer training specialist, runs through all of her favorite features.

First off, she recommends using “Favorites” to keep active folders at the top of your folder pane, where you can sort urgent emails from clients, customers, and other correspondents.

You’ll also want to create Archive Folders that live at the bottom of your folder pane. These should hold perennial files – files with valuable information that can’t ever be deleted.

Once you have a file system established, you can use Outlook to file emails automatically by creating “Rules” for sorting.

Lanning also recommends using “Flags” and “Categories” to track important emails.

“I once taught at a company that had color-coded their internal departments but didn’t apply the same system to their emails. The Categories inside your inbox can serve that purpose,” Lanning describes.

Lastly, Lanning suggests viewing the calendar and inbox side by side with a second monitor. We know this would save us a bunch of hassle going back and forth!

2. Personalize Your Outlook Account

Make your Outlook account YOU.

You can insert a graphic or animation in your Outlook email signature, insert an inline image in an email, change the default email font and size, add a background image to a message, or set the default message format — all of which you can learn to do here.

The possibilities are endless with Outlook, get personalizing!

3. Optimize Outlook for Your Phone

With Outlook Mobile, you can do just about anything.

Switching accounts is made easy with a simple tap.

By rotating your phone, you can see a seven-day view of your calendar and then easily add an event with a “charm.” These charms give you a quick glance at the type of events making up your workweek.

While it may seem convoluted and overwhelming at first, Outlook is a great tool to organize your work life. We highly recommend diving into the features more and seeing what it can do for you.

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