Handy Tips from the People who Brought you Outlook

The good people at Microsoft have created their very own Microsoft Office Outlook Team Blog.

There are many useful tips/tricks for using Outlook, as well as announcements on software updates and other news. It’s worth checking out. There’s some great stuff on there, including how-to’s and other time-saving tips to enhance email productivity.

I’ve summarized a couple of the articles below. More detailed information can be found on the blog.

1) Keyboard Shortcuts  800px-ctrl_z

Keyboard shortcuts can save you time and provide some sweet relief from your mouse-induced carpel tunnel. The author lists some of her favorite keyboard shortcuts, and offers tips on using a color coding system (automated by Outlook) to organize her inbox. An expanded list of keyboard shortcuts can be found here.

2) Preparing to be Away

This handy how-to outlines steps to take prior to leaving on vacation or an extended holiday. The author suggests using Outlook’s meeting scheduler to let your manager and peers know which days you will be away. Sending a simple meeting request, with “All day event” checked, will mark your vacation on your colleagues’ calendars. You can even provide them the name of the person to contact in your absence, or if you are feeling very generous, a number they can reach you at while you are away.

The next step is to prepare your oh-so-important “Out of Office” message.
Note: the following is only useful for Microsoft Exchange accounts. If you do not have Microsoft Exchange, use the instructions to send automatic responses found here on Microsoft’s website.

Using Microsoft Exchange, you can set your Out of Office message any time before you leave. You can access the Out of Office Assistant in the Tools menu. In your message you can indicate if you have no/limited contact to email or an alternate person to reach while you are away.

3) Message Templates

Outlook Message Templates can save you valuable time. Instead of re-writing the same email over and over, use a template! Many people send the same message multiple times a day. Whether it’s the answer to a commonly asked question from coworkers or customers, or a thank you note to a new client. Simply write a new email message with the appropriate information and formatting. Then, save as, “Outlook template (*.oft). Now, all you have to do is access your template and update it with information relevant to the recipient or situation. You access the templates in the folder where you chose to save the file, as opposed to through Outlook.

Hopefully, the Microsoft Office Outlook Team Blog will provide other valuable tips to save you time and increase your email productivity.

1 Response to “Handy Tips from the People who Brought you Outlook”


  1. 1 Andrew Lampert July 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Hi Kayla,

    In case anyone was confused (like me), the Microsoft Office Outlook blog is not new. It was started back in June 2007. I interpreted your wording about the blog having been ‘created’ as signalling a new Outlook blog. This isn’t actually the case.

    Still a useful pointer if you hadn’t already found the Outlook blog.


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