Outlook 2000
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CONVENIENT ABBREVIATIONS

Here are some abbreviations you can use when sending e-mail:

  • BTW: By the way
  • FAQ: Frequently asked questions
  • FOAF: Friend of a friend
  • FWIW: For whatever it's worth
  • FYI: For your information
  • IMHO: In my humble opinion
  • IMO: In my opinion
  • IOW: In other words
  • L8R: Later

 

CHECK ONE ACCOUNT FOR MESSAGES

If you have multiple email accounts added to Outlook 2000, it can take what seems like an eternity to retrieve all your email. And of course, the easiest way to get your mail is to click Send And Receive. But that checks all of your accounts. You can also check a single account for messages, which can save you time if you're only interested in, say, your work email address. Save the personal stuff for later.

Click Tools, Send/Receive, then select which account you want to check.

 

SELECT DIFFERENT ACCOUNT AS DEFAULT

In previous tips, you learned how to specify an account other than the default account to send a message. If you find yourself doing this a lot, you might want to make another account the default. Then when you create a new message, Outlook will automatically send the message from that account (unless you say otherwise).

Click Tools, Accounts. One account will have the word Default in italics and parentheses. To select another account, simply click on it, then click Set As Default. Finally, click Close. Easy as pie.

 

MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS

Many people keep multiple e-mail accounts, perhaps one at work or school, another at a local ISP, and others at various Internet domains or with free e-mail providers. If you have more than one e-mail account, you'll be happy to know that Outlook lets you set up, manage, and access all of the ones that use standard servers (you can't use Outlook with accounts that can only be accessed with a Web browser). You can use them individually or all at once. Of course, Outlook e-mail also works just fine with a single e-mail account.

 

HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE AN OUTLOOK ADDRESS BOOK

The Corporate version of Outlook (aimed at people who use Outlook in large businesses on big networks) uses a crazy quilt of Address Books that are really part of Microsoft Exchange Server. If you use Outlook on a large corporate network, here's the lowdown on the differences among your plethora of Address Books:

  • The Global Address List is maintained by your system administrator and contains the names and e-mail addresses of all the people in your company.
  • The Personal Address Book is your very own list of e-mail addresses of people to whom you send mail. It is not the same as the Outlook Contact list; you can include an individual in either or both the Personal Address Book and the Contact list.
  • The Contacts Address Book is really the list of e-mail addresses from your Contact list. Outlook automatically creates the Contacts Address book to allow you to add the names of people in your Contact list to a Personal Distribution List.

If you're lucky, you'll never see the Address Book. All the addresses of all the people you ever send e-mail to are listed in the Global Address List that somebody else maintains, such as on a corporate network. If the address isn't listed in one of the Address Books or isn't in a form that Outlook understands, you must either enter the full address manually or add your recipient's name and address to your Address Book.

 

FIND NAMES IN THE ADDRESS BOOK

Did you know that you can search for names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses in your Address Book, even when Outlook isn't running?

Click Start, Find, People. Select Contacts in the Look In box. On the People tab, click the information you want to search for. Usually, a first or last name is sufficient, though you can also search on other criteria such as e-mail or street address or phone number. Finally, click Find Now.

 

REMOVING A NAME FROM A GROUP IN THE ADDRESS BOOK

Placing names from your address book into groups is a great way to get organized. When you want to send a message to your neighborhood watch group, you don't have to add each email address to a new mail message--only one.

But if someone moves out of the neighborhood, you'll have to remove him/her from the group. Fortunately, it's a snap. Click Tools, Address Book. Double-click the group you want to remove a name from. Click the name you want to remove in the Group Members list, and then click Remove. Click OK. You're all set.

 

SORT NAMES IN THE ADDRESS BOOK

Your Address Book is handily sorted by last name. But there's no reason you can't sort it by first name, or even by phone number.

To sort names any old way you choose, click Tools, Address Book. Click View, Sort By, then choose First Name, Last Name, E-mail Address, Business Phone, or Home Phone. Neat, huh?

 

PRINT THE ADDRESS BOOK

Does it ever make you nervous that all of your contacts' information is stored electronically? What if something should happen to it? Well, just for peace of mind, it might be a good idea to print out your entire Address Book.

Start by clicking Contacts. Select File, Print. Choose the print style you desire. Card Style will print your contacts exactly as you see them onscreen. Then, click Print. Now all is well, even if your computer crashes.

 

RESCHEDULING AN APPOINTMENT

If you need to change only an appointment's start and end time (but not its duration), click the appointment in the Calendar view. Move the mouse pointer over the left border of the appointment. The mouse pointer turns into a four-headed arrow. Hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse to move the appointment to a new start and end time. Then release the mouse button.

 

ADDING SPECIALIZED APPLICATIONS WITH CARE IN OUTLOOK

Clever programmers come up with new special applications to expand Outlook's capabilities every day, and you can download some for free from the Microsoft Web site. But beware: Many of the sample applications you find on the Microsoft Web site are useful only if you're using Outlook on a network that is also running Microsoft Exchange Server. Microsoft sometimes doesn't tell you which applications are useful for stand-alone (non-network) users, so, unfortunately, you're on your own. If you are on a network with Exchange Server, check with your network administrator before adding any new applications.

Likewise, some Outlook applications are version-specific. For example, an application built for Outlook 97 may not work with Outlook 2000. Be sure to read any information supplied about the application to ensure that it works on your version of Outlook.

 

SEEING THE BIG PICTURE OF OUTLOOK APPOINTMENTS

To help you organize your life, Outlook provides five differentways to display your appointments.

Here are the differences among them:

  • Day: Shows a single day, hour by hour, on a lined background
  • Outlook Today: Shows all appointments and tasks scheduled for today, organized in columns
  • Work Week: Shows all appointments for a single week except Sundays and Saturdays, in lined columns
  • Week: Shows all appointments for a single week, including Saturdays and Sundays, in boxes
  • Month: Shows all appointments for a calendar month in boxes

To view Outlook Today, click the Outlook Today icon in the Outlook bar on the left side of the screen. To switch to any of the other views in the Calendar, choose the view you want from the View menu.

 

REARRANGING APPOINTMENTS

If you need to change only an appointment's start and end time (but not its duration), move the mouse pointer over the left border of the appointment. The mouse pointer turns into a four-way pointing arrow. Hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse to move the appointment to a new start and end time. Then release the mouse button.

 

TYPES OF ATTACHMENTS

You can attach many different types of files to a message, including documents, pictures, videos, sound recordings, and programs. The computer receiving the message must have the necessary hardware and software installed to display or play the file you attach.

 

VIEWING ATTACHMENTS

To view an attached file, follow these steps:

  1. Click a message with an attached file. A message with an attached file displays a paper clip icon.
  2. Click the paper clip in the top gray area of the preview pane to display a list of the files attached to the message or open the message and look for a list beneath the subject line or within the message itself.
  3. Click the name of the file you want to view. A dialog box may appear, asking if you want to open or save the file.

 

ARCHIVING YOUR WORK IN OUTLOOK 2000

You can save a great deal of information in Outlook. After you store enough items, however, Outlook starts to slow down. To keep the program speedy, Outlook periodically sends older items to the archive file. Although the files are still available, Outlook doesn't have to dredge them up every time you start the program.

You can set up Outlook to send items to the archives automatically after the items reach a certain age.

  1. Choose Tools, Options to open the Options dialog box.
  2. Click the Other tab.
  3. Click the AutoArchive button to open the AutoArchive dialog box.
  4. Click the check box that says AutoArchive Every XX Days. Fill in the number of days you want between automatic archive sessions. If the box is already checked and you want AutoArchiving on, leave the box alone.
  5. Click OK to close the AutoArchive dialog box.
  6. Click OK again to close the Options dialog box.

After AutoArchiving is set up, whenever Outlook is ready to send items to the archive, you see a dialog box that asks whether you want the items sent to the archive.

If you choose not to use AutoArchiving, you can always archive items manually by choosing File, Archive.

 

AUTOARCHIVING WITH OUTLOOK

After you store a lot of items, Outlook starts to slow down. To keep the program speedy, Outlook periodically sends older items to the archive file. Although the files are still available, Outlook doesn't have to dredge them up every time you start the program.

You can set up Outlook to send items to the archives automatically after the items reach a certain age by following these steps:

  1. Choose Tools, Options to open the Options dialog box.
  2. Click the Other tab.
  3. Click the AutoArchive button to open the AutoArchive dialog box.
  4. Click the check box that says AutoArchive Every XX Days and fill in the number of days you want between automatic archive sessions. If the box is already checked and you want the AutoArchiving feature on, leave the box alone.
  5. Click OK to close the AutoArchive dialog box.
  6. Click OK again to close the Options dialog box.

 

BROWSING AROUND IN OUTLOOK

Outlook 2000 has commands on the Go menu that enable you to browse your computer. When you switch from one folder to another, the browser buttons light up, telling you that they're ready for your use. Suppose that you're copying files from a floppy disk to the My Documents folder; you can easily switch back and forth between two folders by choosing Go, Back.

You can also access any of those Web sites you've bookmarked in your Favorites folder. You can access the Favorites folder from the Outlook bar in the same way you access My Computer (click the Other Shortcuts group on the Outlook bar) or from the Go menu to access your list of favorites. Either way, when you select a favorite, Outlook displays the page in your browser, connecting to the Internet first, if necessary.

 

BROWSING YOUR FAVORITE WEB PLACES IN OUTLOOK

You can view any page on the Internet without even leaving Outlook. In fact, Outlook is connected to the Web browser Internet Explorer, so that all the Web pages you add to your list of Favorites also show up on the Outlook Favorites menu. Just choose Favorites, and then click the name of your favorite Web page.

While you're surfing the Web with Outlook, you can add any pages you see to your list of favorites by choosing Favorites, Add to Favorites, just as you can in Internet Explorer. If you do lots of heavy-duty Web browsing, Outlook may not be the best for the job because it doesn't have Internet Explorer's elaborate tools for Web browsing, such as History lists and the ability to view a Web page as raw text. But because you can't run Outlook without installing Internet Explorer, you can launch Internet Explorer any time to take advantage of a more powerful set of browsing tools. Choose View, Go To, Web Browser from the Outlook menus.

 

AUTOPREVIEW IN CALENDAR

On the Outlook Calendar's View, Current View menu, you'll find both Day/Week/Month and Day/Week/Month View With AutoPreview listed as options. These two choices are identical except that the second displays the first line of an event's description when you pause the mouse over the item.

You can select any of the standard day, work week, week, or month choices when you choose the Day/Week/Month View With AutoPreview view. Navigation is identical whether you choose AutoPreview or not. Choosing the Day/Week/Month View With AutoPreview view does make it slightly easier to find specific events because you don't have to open the events to see a brief description of them.

 

CHANGE CALENDAR BACKGROUND COLOR

Are you tired of the ugly yellow color in the Calendar background? Why not change it to something nicer?

Click Tools, Options and select Calendar Options. Choose the color you want in the Background Color list.

Keep in mind that the color you choose is applied to Day and Work Week views. Week and Month views use only white and gray as background colors.

 

PRINT A MONTHLY CALENDAR

In our previous tip, you learned how to print out your Calendar for a specific number of days. You can also print out the whole month, so you can see your schedule at a glance (without having to turn on your computer).

Begin by clicking Calendar. Select File, Print. Click Monthly Style in the Print Style box. Enter the first day to print in the Start box, and the last day in the End box. Then, click OK to print.

 

PRINT A BLANK MONTHLY CALENDAR

Say you're heading to a meeting to map out your plans for the next quarter. Why not go prepared with blank monthly calendars to take notes?

Select File, New, Folder. Type a name for the folder, maybe "Blank Calendar." In the Folder Contains drop-down list, choose Appointment Items. Click Calendar in the Select Where To Place The Folder list. Click OK.

Click the new folder, which is called Blank Calendar, in the folder list. Click File, Page Setup, and choose the Monthly Print Style. Then, click Print.

 

PRINT A SET NUMBER OF DAYS IN CALENDAR

If you're heading out of town on a business trip, you probably don't want to fire up your notebook computer just to peek at your schedule. So why not print out your schedule? It's easy to print out just the days you need.

Begin by clicking Calendar. Select File, Print. Click the print style you want to use--you can choose daily, weekly, monthly, and so forth. Enter the first day to print in the Start box, and the last day in the End box. If you're printing less than a week's worth, choose the Daily print style. If you choose Weekly, you'll get a full week even if you specify less time than that in the Start and End boxes. Click OK to print.

 

PRINT MY CALENDAR WITHOUT THE TASKS OR NOTES

When you print out your Calendar, the default style is to print out the Tasks and Notes for that day, too. But if you just want your appointments, you will have to tell Outlook to forget about the extra stuff.

Click Calendar. Select File, Page Setup, then click the style you want to use (Daily, Weekly, etc.). Clear the TaskPad and Notes check boxes, then click OK.

 

PRINTING A WALL CALENDAR IN OUTLOOK 2000

You can also print a calendar that fills a whole sheet of paper suitable for hanging on your wall or taping to the fridge. You can use paper as large as 8-1/2 by 14 inch legal paper.

To print a wall calendar, just follow these steps:

  1. Click the Calendar icon on the Outlook bar, if you're not in the Calendar module.
  2. Choose View, Current View, Day/Week/Month.
  3. Click the Print button on the toolbar (or press Ctrl+P) to open the Print dialog box.
  4. In the Print dialog box, choose Daily, Weekly, or Monthly from the Print Style list.
  5. Click the Page Setup button to open the Page Setup dialog box.
  6. Click the Paper tab in the Page Setup dialog box.
  7. Choose the paper size you're using from both the Type and Size lists (either Letter or Legal).
  8. Click OK to close the Page Setup dialog box.
  9. Click OK to print your schedule.

You have literally hundreds of combinations of paper sizes, styles, and layouts to use for printing your calendar. You can't hurt anything by experimenting with different sizes and trying new things.

For now, you can't print a 6- or 12-month calendar on a single page in Outlook. Although this task seems like a simple thing to do, Outlook isn't up to it just yet.

 

REMIND ME AGAIN WITH THE OUTLOOK CALENDAR

Appointments for which you've set the Reminder option show up with alarm bell icons. When the time comes to remind you of an upcoming appointment, Outlook displays the Reminder box. If you're on a tight schedule, sometimes the Outlook reminder that comes 15 minutes before an appointment is forgotten 10 minutes later; you need a second reminder closer to the actual meeting time. You can have Outlook remind you of the same appointment again by clicking the Remind Me Again In drop-down list and specifying when you want to be reminded next, such as 5 minutes before the start of the meeting.

Remember that the Reminder feature only works when Outlook is running. If you want to be reminded of appointments, don't exit Outlook, though you can minimize it to avoid cluttering the screen. If you close the program altogether, you won't get the reminder message until you start Outlook again -- quite possibly too late to do you any good.

 

CALENDAR USE AND SETTINGS

You can use the Calendar to keep track of your everyday schedule, such as meetings, lunch dates, or dentist appointments.

Outlook uses the date and time set in your computer to determine today's date. To change the date and time set in your computer, refer to your Windows manual. In most versions, the process involves clicking the clock on the Taskbar and changing the time in the box that appears.

 

VIEWING THE CALENDAR

You can change the view of the Calendar to display your appointments in one of the following views:

  • Day
  • Work Week
  • Week
  • Month

 

CHANGE CALENDAR WORK WEEK OPTIONS

You say tomato, I say tomaaahto. I think the week starts on Monday, you swear it actually begins on Sunday. Now we can both be right. It's easy to change your Outlook Calendar so it starts a week on whichever day you want.

Click Tools, Options. Select Calendar Options. Choose which day you want to start your week with under First Day Of Week. Then, click OK.

 

SEND A BUSINESS CARD IN OUTLOOK 2000

Outlook 2000 can forward an electronic "business card," or vCard, to any other person who uses Outlook or any other program that understands how to use a vCard. You can easily send any contact record in your list to anyone by e-mail.

The most obvious data you may want to send this way is your own contact information. All you need to do is create a contact record for yourself that contains all the information you want to send someone. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Contacts icon in the Outlook Bar.

    Your list of contacts appears.

  2. Double-click the contact record containing the information you want to send.

    The contact record you double-clicked opens.

  3. Choose Actions, Forward as vCard.

    A new message form opens with a vCard file attached to the message.

  4. Type the address of the person to whom you want to send the message in the To text box.

    You can also click the To button and pick a name from the Address Book.

  5. Click the Send button (or press Alt+S).

 

COPY AN APPOINTMENT

In our previous tip, you learned how to move an appointment to a new date or time. But what if you just want to continue the same meeting, as in, "Let's continue this discussion tomorrow at 10:00?" No problem.

To copy a meeting rather than move it, hold down Ctrl and drag the item to a new time or date.

 

COPY AN APPOINTMENT

Note: This tip does not apply to Outlook Express.

If you want to create a copy of an appointment for another time, hold down the Ctrl key while you use the mouse to drag the appointment to another time or date. For example, if you're scheduling a Summer Intern Orientation from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., you can create the 9 a.m. appointment and then copy it to 1 p.m. by holding Ctrl and dragging the appointment. Then you have two appointments with the same subject, location, and date, but different hours.

If you copy an appointment to a different date by dragging the appointment to a date on the Date Navigator, you retain the hour of the appointment but change the date

 

DELETING AN APPOINTMENT

To select an appointment you want to delete, click the left edge of the appointment in Calendar view. Click the delete button on the toolbar (it looks like an X) to delete the appointment without opening it.

 

HIDE PRIVATE APPOINTMENT DETAILS WHEN PRINTING

When you print your Calendar, any details you've recorded in the Appointment window are printed on your schedule. But you certainly don't want your nosy co-workers lurking around the printer to check out the details of your private appointments, do you?

To print your Calendar without the details of private appointments, select File, Print, then click the print style you want to use (Daily, Weekly, etc). Select Hide Details Of Private Appointments, and then click OK.

 

MOVE AN APPOINTMENT

Outlook's Calendar is a great way to organize your time. But of course, meetings get rescheduled--it's just part of life. So the next time you hear (or say), "Can we move our 1:00 to tomorrow?" don't bother deleting your old meeting and creating a new one.

Simply drag the item to a new time or date. To change both the date and time, first move the appointment to the new date. Then drag the appointment to the hour you want. If the meeting is recurring, only that instance of it will be moved, not the whole series.

 

MORE APPOINTMENT POINTERS

Note: This tip applies only to full versions of Microsoft Outlook. It does not apply to Outlook Express.

Here are a couple of good-to-know features of Outlook 2000's Calendar to keep in mind as you schedule appointments:

  • If you want to schedule two appointments at the same time, Outlook subtly warns you with a banner at the top of the form that say Conflicts with another appointment, although nothing stops you from scheduling yourself to be in two places at one time.
  • If you're on a network (where others can view your calendar) and don't want others to know about your appointment, click the Private box in the lower-right corner of the Appointment dialog box.

 

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT RECURRING

If you have a regular appointment that always happens on Mondays at 2:00, don't bother entering a new appointment every week. If you've entered it once, simply make it a recurring appointment.

Open the appointment. Click Actions, Recurrence (or click the Recurrence button). Select Weekly Occurrence, then select the options you want. By default, Outlook will choose the same day and time as the original appointment. Click OK, then click Save And Close.

 

APPOINTMENT REMINDERS

Outlook will play a brief sound and display the Reminder dialog box 15 minutes before a scheduled appointment if you check the Reminder check box when you add the appointment. To close the Reminder dialog box, click one of the following options:

  • Dismiss: Closes the reminder
  • Snooze: Reminds you again in five minutes
  • Open: Displays details of the appointment

 

TURN AN APPOINTMENT INTO A MEETING

One is the loneliest number, right? So if you have an appointment set up (meaning it's for your Calendar only), why not turn it into a meeting and invite others?

Let's say you have an appointment on your Calendar to watch "ER" this Thursday night. (Hey, some things are sacred, and you wouldn't want to schedule something else during that time slot, right?). If you decide you want to invite some friends over to watch it with you, there's no need to send individual e-mails to them, then add them to your Calendar entry. Just invite them straight from the appointment.

First, open the appointment by double-clicking it. Next, click Invite Attendees. Either type your friends' e-mail address directly into the To box or click the To button and select their names from the list. Then, click Send. Your friends will get e-mail invitations to watch "ER" with you. Now who's bringing the popcorn?

 

VIEWING RECURRING APPOINTMENTS

The Recurring Appointments view shows the ongoing appointments that are on a schedule. Display this view by choosing View, Current View, Recurring Appointments.

You probably have lots of recurring appointments even if you've never thought of them that way. For example, if you belong to a club that has monthly meetings, you probably block out that time mentally even if you don't show it on your calendar. If you include these kinds of things on your Outlook Calendar, you won't inadvertently schedule something else for the same time. Remember that you can always choose to ignore items on your Outlook Calendar, but if you haven't included something, you may schedule something else for the same time.

 

IMPORT ARCHIVED ITEMS

The biggest advantage to archiving old e-mails rather than deleting them is that you can retrieve them if necessary. So how do you go about getting them back?

Click File, Import And Export. Choose Import From Another Program Or File, and click Next. On the next screen, choose Personal Folder File (.pst), then click Next. In File To Import, enter the name of your archive file. If it's not automatically displayed, click Browse to find it. Click Next.

Under Select The Folder To Import From, click on Archive Folders if you want everything. But if you know which folder's archives you want to restore, choose only that folder. If you want to send it back to that folder, choose Import Items Into The Same Folder In, and make sure that Personal Folders is selected in the box. Click Finish.

 

IMPORT ARCHIVED ITEMS INTO A NEW FOLDER

The beauty of archiving old items is that you can get them back if you need to do so. You just need to import them back into Outlook.

Click the new folder in the Folder List. Click File, Import And Export. Choose Import From Another Program Or File, and click Next. On the next screen, choose Personal Folder File (.pst) and click Next. In File To Import, enter the name of your archive file. If it's not automatically displayed, click Browse to find it. Click Next.

Under Select The Folder To Import From, click Archive Folders if you want everything. But if you know which folder's archives you want to restore, choose only that folder. If you want to send it back to that folder, choose Import Items Into The Same Folder In, and make sure that Personal Folders is selected in the box. Click Finish.

 

ARCHIVE ITEMS MANUALLY

Keeping old messages hanging around is a lot like keeping your old clothes in the back of your closet--you don't need them anymore, but for some reason you can't bring yourself to throw them away.

But why keep old e-mail messages cluttering up your Inbox and folders? Why not simply archive them? That way, you can still get them if needed.

To archive items manually, click File, Archive. To archive all your folders, choose Archive All Folders According To Their AutoArchive Settings. Type a file name for the archived items to be transferred to, or click Browse to find an existing archive file. Enter a date in the Archive Items Older Than box. Any e-mail or item from before the specified date will be archived. Then, just click OK.

 

ARCHIVE ITEMS MANUALLY

In our previous tip, you learned how to back up your mail files by exporting them to another file. You can also archive your mail folders, which copies the items in your folders to the archive file and then removes them from the original folders. It's a great way to keep your folders uncluttered, without simply deleting old items.

To archive items manually, click File, Archive. To archive all your folders, choose Archive All Folders According To Their AutoArchive Settings. Type a name for the archived items to be transferred to, or click Browse to find an existing archive file. Enter a date in the Archive Items Older Than box. Any email or item from before that date will be archived. Click OK.

 

TURN ON AUTOARCHIVE

In our previous tip, you learned how to manually archive your old e-mails. But why do it the hard way? Simply turn on AutoArchive, and Outlook 2000 will do it for you!

Click Tools, Options, then select the Other tab. Click AutoArchive. Select the AutoArchive Every box to have AutoArchive run when you start Outlook. Then enter a number in the Days box to specify how often the archiving process will run. Type a filename in the Default Archive File box--this is the file to which your old items will be transferred. Click OK.

Now that you've turned on AutoArchive, you need to tweak the AutoArchive properties for each folder--we'll cover that in our next tip.

 

SET AUTOARCHIVE PROPERTIES FOR A FOLDER

In our previous tip, you learned how to turn on AutoArchive to automatically store old Outlook 2000 items. But you're not ready to go yet--you still need to set the AutoArchive properties for each folder you want to have archived automatically.

Right-click the folder you want to AutoArchive, and select Properties. Click the AutoArchive tab. Select the Clean Out Items Older Than checkbox and enter a number in months--this is how often archiving will run.

Next you need to pick a file in which the archived items will be stored. Click Move Old Items To. Type a filename (if you already have an archive file, click Browse to find it). Click Apply, then click OK.

 

CHANGE BACKGROUND COLOR

A reader asks, "When I send email in HTML format, the default background color is gray. Is there a way to change the default background color to white?"

Yes, there is--you just have to modify the stationery that Outlook is using. Select Tools, Options, and then click the Mail Format tab. Under Stationery And Fonts, click the Stationery Picker button. Here you can create new stationery or modify the one you're currently using. To modify the current stationery, click Edit. Under Background, select the Do Not Include A Background In This Stationery radio button. Then, click OK three times.

 

DISPLAYING BACK AND FORWARD BUTTONS

If you browse the Internet a lot, you get used to the features that browsers provide. But with a few clicks of your mouse, you can make Outlook 2000 act more like a browser, complete with Back and Forward buttons for navigation.

Select View, Toolbars, Advanced. Ta-da! Now you've got the Advanced toolbar on your desktop, which includes two buttons with arrows on them: Back and Forward buttons.

 

BCC BASICS

If you want to send a copy of a message to someone else but you don't want the other recipients to know about it, use the Bcc: (Blind Carbon Copy) field instead of the Cc: or To: field. A copy of the message is sent to each person listed in the Bcc: field, but the people listed in the To: and Cc: fields aren't notified of the Bcc: recipients.

If the Bcc: field doesn't appear in the New Message window, choose the View, Bcc command to enable this optional field.

 

LOGGING CALLS

If you need to track your telephone calls -- perhaps for billing purposes -- you can use Outlook to automatically log calls made by using the AutoDialer. Outlook logs calls by using the Outlook Journal.

To log calls you make by using the AutoDialer, follow these steps:

  1. Click the down arrow next to the AutoDialer button (or select Actions, Call Contact) to display the AutoDialer menu.
  2. Select New Call to open the New Call dialog box.
  3. Select the contact to call in the Contact text box. If no contacts are listed in the Contact box, enter the contact name in the box.
  4. Select the "Create new Journal Entry when starting new call" check box. This will cause Outlook to create an entry in the Journal when the call begins.
  5. Click Start Call to dial the contact and begin the call log.
  6. Click End Call to stop the call and record the ending time of the call.

Outlook can only record the date, time, and duration of your phone calls. If you need to add additional notes to the call log, you need to open the call log and add your notes manually.

 

CREATE YOUR OWN CATEGORY

In our previous tip, we showed you how to organize your messages by categories. Outlook provides 20 ready-made categories, but at some point you'll want to create your own. For example, you might want to group messages by a specific activity or project. Or maybe you've just gotten category-happy. (We tend to overdo the sock drawer, complete with color-coding.)

Begin by selecting one or more messages to assign to a category. Choose File, Categories (or right-click the items and choose Categories from the context menu). Click in the Item(s) Belong To These Categories box and type the new category name (if you want to type more than one, separate the names with a comma). Click Add To List, then click OK.

 

SEND A BLIND CARBON COPY

Have you ever wanted to show someone a copy of the message you're sending to, say, your boss, but didn't want your boss to know? If you add an e-mail address to the Bcc field on a new mail message, that person will get a copy of the e-mail, but the main recipient (the one in the To field) won't know it.

Simply add the e-mail address of the "secret" recipient in the Bcc box. If you don't see a Bcc box, click View, Bcc Field.

 

ADDING A COLUMN

Your Inbox gives you a lot of information. At a glance, you can see whether a message has been read, who sent it, when it was received, how large the file size is, and so on. But what if that's not enough? If you want to know more information about your e-mail messages just by looking at the Inbox, you need to add more columns. Luckily, it's easy to do.

First, select View, Current View, Customize Current View. Next, click Fields. In the Available Fields box, click the field you want to add, then click Add. For example, if you want to see what level of sensitivity has been assigned to a message (Normal, Personal, Private, or Confidential), select Sensitivity, then click Add.

 

ADJUSTING COLUMN WIDTH IN OUTLOOK 2000

If a column in any view is much wider or narrower than the information in the column, just double-click the line in the gray header row that separates that column from the column to the right. The column width changes to the width of the widest piece of information in the column.

 

REMOVING A COLUMN HEADING

In our previous tip, you learned how to add a column heading to your Inbox. If you're anything like me, you immediately added more columns than you really need. Hey, the more information the better, right? Wrong! If your Inbox is too cluttered with columns, you should remove some.

Luckily, they're easier to remove than they are to add. Simply right-click on the column heading, then select Remove This Column. Pretty simple, huh?

 

AUTOSIZE COLUMNS UP OR DOWN

Tired of manually sizing the columns of your e-mail folders up (and down again) to accommodate wide entries--for example, those under Subject? Don't waste your time clicking and dragging column edges left and right. Instead, let Outlook autosize your columns for you. Right-click any column, select Best Fit, and Outlook enlarges (or shrinks) the column to fit the widest entry.

 

CHANGE THE ORDER OF COLUMNS

Take a look at your inbox. You'll see that it's divided into columns that tell you when a message was sent, who it's from, what the subject is, etc. If you decide that the Received column is more important than the From column, it's easy to move it over so it comes first.

Simply click on the column heading, then drag it over to where you want it to appear. When you see a red double-sided arrow, release the mouse button. Voila! That column now appears where you moved it.

 

COM ADD-INS FOR OUTLOOK 2000

Previously, you needed hardcore programming know-how to fiddle with an application's environment, such as creating a custom toolbar. Now, thanks to COM add-ins, programmers can more easily add functionality to a Microsoft Office 2000 application, including Outlook. A COM add-in is an ActiveX dynamic-link library containing a COM interface that can be integrated with Outlook and Office. COM add-ins are built using any COM-enabled environment, such as Microsoft Visual C++, Visual Basic, or Inprise Delphi. For now, COM add-ins are registered specifically to be used by Office 2000 applications, which means they can't be used by any other end-user application.

 

COMPLETING CONTACT ADDRESSES

If the address you enter for a Contact is incomplete, Outlook displays the Check Address dialog box to help you complete the address. To change part of the address, click the mouse cursor on the part you want to change and then type the correct information. Click OK to confirm your changes.

 

ENTERING NEW CONTACT INFO IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK

Just receive a message from someone you'd like to add to your list of contacts? Outlook makes it a snap to set up a new contact from any e-mail address that's part of the message header.

With the message open in a separate window, right-click the e-mail address and select Add To Contacts. Instantly, a new contact window appears. Complete the other fields as desired, then click the Save And Close button. You can use this technique for any e-mail address listed in the message header--not just the sender's.

 

DELETING A CONTACT

To delete a contact, click the contact you would like to delete. Click the button with the X on it to delete the contact. The contact disappears from the list.

 

LOOK UP CONTACT INFORMATION FROM AN E-MAIL

Say you receive an e-mail from someone about an important meeting. You want to call the person rather than e-mailing back, but you don't know the person's number off the top of your head. Do you simply e-mail back, or do you switch to your contact list? Neither--simply look it up from the e-mail!

Right-click the person's name in the e-mail message and select Look Up Contact on the context menu. Automatically, that person's contact information will appear. It just keeps getting easier, doesn't it?

 

ORGANIZE GROUPS IN CONTACT LIST

Have you ever wasted precious time looking through your contact list for a particular group? A reader offers the following tip for organizing your email groups in your contact list.

If you insert an exclamation point at the beginning of each group's name, they'll automatically appear at the top of your contact list, in alphabetical order, rather than being mixed in with the rest of your contacts.

 

REARRANGING CONTACT VIEWS IN OUTLOOK 2000

Outlook 2000 lets you see your contact information arranged in many different and useful ways, called views. Each module comes with 5 to 12 predefined views that you can rearrange simply by dragging the column title and dropping the title where you want it.

For example, to move the Business Phone column in the Phone List view:

  1. Click the Contacts icon in the Outlook bar.
  2. Choose View, Current View, Phone List.

    The Phone List view of your contacts appears.

  3. Click the Business Phone heading and drag it on top of the column to its left.

    You see a pair of red arrows pointing to the border between the two columns to the left of the Business Phone column. The red arrows tell you where Outlook will drop the column when you release the mouse button.

  4. Release the mouse button.

The Business Phone column is now to the left of the File As column rather than to the right. If it makes more sense to you to have File As to the right of Business Phone, you can set up your view in Outlook to put it there.

You can use the same process to move any column in any Outlook view. Because the screen isn't as wide as the list, you may need to move columns around at times to see what you really want to see. You must use the scroll bar at the bottom of the list to scroll to the right to see the last column, Categories. If you want to see the Categories column at the same time as the Full Name column, you have to move the Categories column to the left.

 

CATEGORIZE CONTACTS

In our last two tips, we showed you how to assign your outgoing messages to a category, as well as how to create your own custom categories. You can also assign messages to a specific contact, which makes it easy to quickly list all messages associated with that person.

To associate a message with a particular contact, select the items. Right-click, then choose Options. Click the Contacts button, then choose the person with whom you want to associate the email message. Click Apply, click OK, and then click Close.

Tip-in-a-tip: To see all the email messages and other activities associated with contacts, open their information and click the Activities tab.

 

EXPORTING CONTACTS TO EXCEL WITH OUTLOOK

Sometimes you want your Contacts information from Outlook in another format, such as an Excel spreadsheet. In the dark days of incompatible Personal Information Managers, that was a tough task, but because Microsoft integrated Outlook with its other Office programs, you can now export Contacts information with ease.

Here's how:

  1. Choose File, Import and Export.

    The Import and Export Wizard appears. A wizard is a series of dialog boxes that guide you through a sequence of choices to help you complete a process that requires several steps. After doing each step, click the Next button to see the wizard's next dialog box.

  2. Choose Export to a File from the first list of drop-down options in the Import and Export Wizard dialog box.
  3. Choose Microsoft Excel from the next drop-down list of options in the next dialog box.
  4. The next dialog box asks you what file you want to export. Browse the folders until you find your Contacts folder in your Mailbox.
  5. The next dialog box allows you to browse to where you want to put this new file and give it a name.
  6. In the last dialog box, click the Finish button.

Note: when you open the Excel spreadsheet, you may need to tweak the formatting a bit to get the columns how you want them.

 

DISPLAYING A MAP FOR CONTACTS

If a contact's address is in the United States, you can view a map for the address. When viewing information for the contact, click the icon with the yellow sign with the arrow on it to display the map. Your Web browser opens and displays the map. If you are not currently connected to the Internet, a dialog box may appear that allows you to connect.

 

SORTING A CONTACTS VIEW QUICKLY

Certain views of your Contact list are more useful when you organize the items according to a single piece of information, such as the contact's last name, company affiliation, city, or state.

You can quickly sort some views, such as Phone List view, by clicking the heading of any column you want to sort. For example, you can sort your phone list according to the company for which each person on your Contact list works. To sort your phone list by the contact's company, follow these steps:

  1. Choose View, Current View, Phone List to show your phone list.
  2. Click the heading of the Company column to reorder the whole list according to the name of each contact's company.

 

CONNECT TO A CONTACT'S WEB PAGE

It seems everyone has his or her own Web site these days, whether it's the company site or a collection of family photos. If you have a contact's Web page URL in the contact record, you can connect to that site right from Outlook.

Open Contacts and find the person whose Web site you want to connect to. Select Actions, Explore Web Page. You can also simply press Ctrl-Shift-X, or click on the hyperlink.

 

DELETING AN ENTIRE CONVERSATION

E-mail conversations have a way of getting out of hand. Have you ever sent an e-mail to four or five colleagues saying, "So what do you guys want to do for lunch?" Within two minutes, you've got an Inbox full of "Let's go to the coffee shop down the street," "We went there last week, let's go to McDonald's?" "What about us vegetarians?" and so on and so on.

Assuming you ever get the lunch thing figured out, you probably don't want to keep that conversation cluttering up your Inbox. Rather than deleting each message individually, just delete the entire conversation.

Begin by opening your Inbox. Click on any of the messages in the conversation. Select View, Current View, By Conversation Topic. As long as they all share the same Subject (i.e., "Re: Lunch"), the entire thread will now be in one place under a group header. Click the conversation group header, and then press Delete.

 

A GROUP OF DATES

Note: This tip does not apply to Outlook Express.

When you're viewing a range of dates, you don't have to limit yourself to fixed days, weeks, or months. Suppose that you need to look at a range of dates from September 25 to October 5. Click September 25; then hold down the Shift key and click October 5. All the dates in between are selected, and the dates appear in the Information Viewer.

 

CERTAIN DELIVERY

This tip applies to all versions of Outlook.

Although plain text messages can include file attachments, there's no guarantee that your intended recipients will be able to open and use those attachments. If you must be absolutely certain that your message will be delivered, it's safest to use the plain text format with no attachments if you're not sure what software your recipient has.

 

ADDING TO AN OUTLOOK DISCUSSION

If you use Outlook 2000 on a network at work, you may find some interesting information posted in the public folders. Many public folders are organized as open discussions in which anyone can put in his or her two cents' worth. All the messages can be read by anybody, so everybody reads and replies to everybody else. If you view a folder and find it's full of messages from different people all replying to one another, you're looking at a discussion folder.

To add new items to a public folder, follow these steps:

  1. Choose View, Folder List (or click the Folder List button in the toolbar).

    The Folder List appears.

  2. Click the name of the folder.

    The list of messages in the folder appears.

  3. Choose File, New, Post in This Folder.

    The New Item form appears.

  4. Type a subject and your message.
  5. Click Post.

Now your message is part of the list of items in the folder.

 

OPEN A FILE ATTACHMENT FROM WITHIN AN ITEM

When you receive an email message that contains an attachment, it will have a little paper clip icon next to it in your folder list. To read the attachment, you have to open it.

Open the email that contains the file attachment you want to open. Double-click the icon for the attachment; it will open in the appropriate program. For example, if it's a Word document, Microsoft Word will launch.

 

SEND A FILE AS AN ATTACHMENT

The beauty of email is that you can send entire files to another person. Outlook makes it easy to send documents, spreadsheets, graphics and multimedia files, and so forth by email. You just have to send it as an attachment, which means that the file isn't part of the email message itself but travels with the email and can be opened by the recipient.

Begin by creating a new message. Fill out the To and Subject fields. Write whatever message you'd like to send, then click the Insert File button on the message window Standard toolbar. You can also choose Insert, File. In the Look In box, navigate to the folder where the desired file is saved; for example, My Documents. Select the file, then click Insert. Click OK. The file will be displayed in the message as an icon.

 

LOOK OUT FOR HEAVY FILES!

When it comes to sending e-mail, all files are created equal, but some are much bigger than others. You can e-mail all files, big and small, but the big ones can take a long time to send and receive. If you and the person to whom you're sending a file are on the same network, the size of the file isn't such a big problem. If you're sending the file to someone who gets e-mail from an online service over a regular telephone line, however, it's a good idea to check with that person to see whether he or she is willing to accept a file that could take 10 to 15 minutes or more to download. Not all online services let your recipient know the size of the files he or she is getting.

 

VIEWING FILES ON YOUR HARD DISK?!

To view all the files and folders stored on your computer by using Microsoft Outlook 2000, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Other Shortcuts button in the Outlook Bar.
  2. If the Outlook Bar is not visible, then choose View, Outlook Bar.
  3. Click on the My Computer icon in the Outlook Bar.
  4. Outlook displays all the drives on your computer.
  5. Choose View, Current View and then choose one of the following:
    • Icons: Displays files and folders as icons.
    • Details: Displays folders as tiny icons.
    • By Type: Displays folders as text.

 

SORTING YOUR INBOX BY SENDER

To sort the messages in your Inbox by the person who sent them to you, click the From button above the list of messages. The messages rearrange themselves in order by sender. To switch to descending order by sender, click the From button again and the messages appear in reverse alphabetical order. To go back to having your messages sorted by date, click the Received button until the messages are in ascending or descending order by date, whichever you prefer.

 

ADDRESSING A MESSAGE

This tip applies to all versions of Outlook.

When addressing an e-mail message, use the To line to send the message to each person you specify. Use the Cc line to send a carbon copy of the message to people who are not directly involved, but would be interested in the message. Use the Bcc line (choose View, All Headers or View, Bcc Field depending on your version of Outlook) to send the message to people without revealing their addresses or identities.

 

REMOVING A MESSAGE BACKGROUND TO MAKE THE MESSAGE EASIER TO READ

It's nice to be able to decorate your emails with fancy text and backgrounds, but if you go overboard, it can make reading the message difficult!

If you receive a message that's hard to read because of the bright pink background and red letters (thanks, Mom), just get rid of the special effects. Change the message to plain text by clicking anywhere in the message and pressing Ctrl-Shift-O.

 

CHANGING MESSAGE FORMAT

To change the format of your outgoing e-mail messages, choose Tools, Options. Click the Send tab or the Mail Format tab, depending on the version of Outlook you have, and choose from the available options in the drop-down list box or list of radio buttons at the top of the dialog box. Click OK or Cancel to save or not save your changes, respectively, or click Apply to save your changes and go on exploring the other tabs.

 

OUTGOING MESSAGE STORAGE

If you use Outlook to send mail to online services, such as the Microsoft Network or CompuServe, or through an Internet service provider (ISP) you reach by using your telephone line, your outgoing messages are stored in the Outbox until you choose Tools, Send/Receive, All Accounts (or press F5) or click the Send/Receive button on the toolbar. Your messages are then dispatched to your online service and sent on to your recipient.

 

INSERT A PICTURE INTO A MESSAGE

As long as you're composing mail using HTML format (if you're not, you can switch by choosing Format, HTML from within a New Message window), it's easy to insert a picture into your message. Say you want to send a picture of your son to your parents (grandparents love that kind of thing).

Compose a new message. Click in the message where you want Junior's picture to appear. Select Insert, Picture. Type the path and filename of the graphic you want to use (or use the Browse button to locate it). Any text you type in the Alternate Text box will appear as the image is loading (or, if for some reason the picture can't be displayed on grandma's screen, she'll see the text instead). Click OK. Finish composing your message, and send it on its way.

 

CLOSE MESSAGE AFTER REPLYING OR FORWARDING

You're a busy person who likes to save time wherever you can, right? We thought so. So why waste time closing a message after you've replied to it or forwarded it? To automatically close down an email after you're done with it, select Tools, Options and click Email Options. Select Close Original Message On Reply Or Forward, and then click OK.

 

CHECK RECIPIENT NAMES BEFORE SENDING A MESSAGE

A reader asks, "What are the red and green lines that sometimes appear in the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes?"

When you type a name in the To, Cc, or Bcc boxes while creating a new email message, Outlook automatically checks the names against your address book. This is handy, because you can type

Joe

and it will look for a "Joe" in your address book. If Outlook finds an exact match, the name is underlined. If it finds multiple names that match what you type, a red, wavy line appears under the name. Right-click the name to see the other names found, and simply choose the correct one.

If Outlook finds multiple names that match what you type, and you have used the address before, the name you chose previously appears with a green, dashed underline to remind you that there are other choices. Right-click the name to see the other names found.

 

CATEGORIZE MESSAGES

The first step to organizing any project is dividing items into categories, whether you're straightening your sock drawer (athletic socks on the right, dress socks on the left) or your Outlook Inbox. By assigning your messages a category, you can easily see all the messages that relate to a specific activity, project, or group.

Select one or more messages to assign to a category. Choose File, Categories (or right-click the items and choose Categories from the context menu). Select the categories to which you want to make the assignment. Then click OK.

 

COPYING MESSAGES TO OTHER DOCUMENTS

To copy some or all of a message to the Windows Clipboard, highlight the part of the message you want to copy, right-click the selection, and choose Copy. Alternatively, you can highlight the selection and press Ctrl+C. You can use your selection in many other kinds of documents, such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

 

STOP DOWNLOADING LARGE MESSAGES

If you have a fast connection at the office, it's easy to forget how long a large file can take to download from a dial-up connection. But reality sure crashes down the first time you encounter a huge file--you wait and wait, while the status says "Downloading Message 3 of 55" ten minutes into downloading. But you can set Outlook not to download those huge messages from a slow connection.

Click Tools, Options, then click the Mail Delivery tab. Select the Don't Download Messages Larger Than checkbox, and then enter a number in the box. Click OK.

Don't worry--those messages will still be waiting on the server the next time you download from a faster connection.

 

MARK COMMENTS ON FORWARDED MESSAGES

When you forward an email and include the original text, you want to make sure that it's clear which comments are yours and which were part of the forwarded message. Outlook provides a simple way to identify yourself.

Click Tools, Options. Select the Preferences tab, and click the Email Options button. Select the Mark My Comments With check box, and then type your name in the accompanying box. Click OK. Now whenever you make a comment in a forwarded message, Outlook will identify you as the commentator.

 

FIND MESSAGES WITH LARGE ATTACHMENTS

You know all those elf-bowling games and holiday cards your friends sent you over the holidays? Well, all those huge attachments are hogging precious drive space. So why not find the messages with the biggest attachments and get rid of them?

Begin by clicking Tools, Advanced Find. Click Messages in the Look For list. Select the More Choices tab. In the Size (Kilobytes) list, click Greater Than. Type

1000

in the box next to the Size box. Then, click Find Now. Outlook will find the messages with huge attachments, and you can delete them from there.

 

CHANGE FONT IN OUTGOING MESSAGES

Want to make your emails a bit more interesting? How about using a flowery script font for your love letters, and a crisp, elegant font for messages to your boss (just make sure you don't mix those up). It's easy to change fonts.

First, click New Mail Message. Compose your message as usual. Click Format, HTML. Select the text you want to transform, then select Format, Font. Choose your desired font, and then click OK.

 

PREVIEWING MESSAGES IN OUTLOOK

Because you can usually get the gist of an incoming e-mail message from the first few lines, Outlook shows you the first few lines of all unread messages, if you want. Although the AutoPreview feature is turned on the first time you use Outlook, you can also turn it off.

To turn AutoPreview on, follow these steps:

  1. Switch to the Inbox by clicking the Inbox icon on the Outlook bar.
  2. Choose View, AutoPreview.

AutoPreview shows you the first few lines of the messages you haven't read yet. You can mark messages as Read or Unread to keep the AutoPreview pane open as you want.

AutoPreview may be the only way you ever want to view your Inbox. If you get a large number of messages, previewing them saves time. You can also take advantage of the preview pane to look at the contents of each message in the lower half of the information viewer while your list of messages appears in the upper half. To turn the preview pane on (or off), choose View, Preview Pane.

 

PRINTING MESSAGES

This tip applies to all versions of Outlook.

You can print the text of a message you're reading in Outlook by clicking the Print button on the toolbar. The Print button sends your message directly to the printer without opening a Print dialog box to offer you some choices about what kind of paper to print on or which printer to use (if you're using a network with more than one printer). To see your range of choices before you print, choose File, Print (or press Ctrl+P). The principles of printing are the same in all Outlook modules.

 

SAVING MESSAGES AUTOMATICALLY

Messages are automatically saved by Outlook within its own system of items -- the Outlook equivalent of files.

That's why, for instance, you will find the same messages in your Inbox when you start Outlook as were in it when you last used it. It's not just incoming messages that are affected -- messages you send are saved, too, in the Sent Items folder. In addition to incoming and outgoing messages, ones you are working on but haven't sent are automatically saved every three minutes in Outlook's Drafts folder. This is a nice touch, especially if you're carefully wording an important message over a period of time, because the worst that can happen to you is to lose your last three minutes of work. Beyond this, older items in folders can be automatically moved into archive folders after a period of time.

 

SAVING MESSAGES AUTOMATICALLY

You can deliberately save a message that you're working on to the Drafts folder at any time without waiting for the automatic save to take place. Just choose File, Save from the menu or use the Ctrl + S key command.

 

SAVING MESSAGES AS TEXT FILES

To save a message outside the Outlook system as a regular text file, choose File, Save As from the menu.

Navigate to the disk folder you want to save the file to and then click the Save button. The filename defaults to the message subject, and the .txt extension is selected by default. You can change either one, of course.

 

FIND ALL MESSAGES FROM A SPECIFIC PERSON--PART 1 OF 2

A reader asks, "Is there a quick way to search for all the messages from one person?"

You're in luck; there are a couple of ways to group all messages from one person together, whether you're looking for a specific email message or want to organize your folders by, say, moving all the appropriate messages into one folder.

Select a message from the person you are looking for messages from--say, your boss. Select Actions, Find All, Messages From Sender. You'll get a list of every message from that person.

FIND ALL MESSAGES FROM A SPECIFIC PERSON--PART 2 OF 2

In our previous tip, you learned how to search for all messages from a specific person by selecting Actions, Find All, Messages From Sender. But there's an even quicker way to do it. Simply click on the From column heading. If you have an email from the person currently selected, you'll see all the messages grouped together; if you don't, simply type the first few characters of the person's name. Outlook will automatically jump to the group of messages from that person.

 

CLEAR A FLAG

In the last two tips, you've learned how to flag important messages for follow-up. Once you've taken care of them, it's easy to mark the flagged messages as completed.

First, select the message. Click Actions, Flag For Follow Up, and select the Completed option. Then, click OK. Now next to the message you'll see a gray flag instead of a red flag.

Tip-in-a-tip: If you just want to get rid of the flag rather than mark it as completed, click Actions, Flag For Follow Up, click Clear Flag, and then click OK.

 

FLAGGING FRIENDS FOR FOLLOW UP IN OUTLOOK 98/2000

E-mail messages aren't the only items you can flag. Sometimes you need a reminder to do something involving another person. For example, if you promise to call someone a month from now, the best way to help yourself remember is to flag that person's name in the Contact list. A reminder will pop up at the appointed date and prompt you to make the call.

To attach a flag to a contact:

  1. In Contact view, right-click the contact that you want to flag. A shortcut menu appears.
  2. Choose Flag for Follow Up. The Flag for Follow Up dialog box appears.
  3. Click the triangle at the right end of the Flag To text box and choose one of the menu items such as Call or Arrange Meeting or simply use the generic Follow Up flag.
  4. Click the Reminder box and type the date on which you want the reminder flag to appear. You can either enter the exact date by typing something like 11/12/01, or you can type 12 days from now or the first Friday of February.
  5. Click OK.

When the date you entered in the Flag for Follow Up dialog box arrives, a reminder dialog box pops up to help jog your memory.

 

FOLLOW UP ON FLAG FOR FOLLOW UP IN OUTLOOK 98/2000

Procrastination used to be an art; Outlook makes it a science. When someone nags you with flags on e-mail, you can still put it off!

To change the date on a flag:

  1. In your Inbox, double-click the message whose flag you want to change. The Message dialog box appears.
  2. Choose Actions, Flag for Follow Up. The Flag for Follow Up dialog box appears.
  3. Click the Reminder box and type the new date when you want the reminder flag to appear. Even typing 999 years from now will work -- try it!
  4. Click OK.

Remember, the person who sent you this deadline-driven e-mail doesn't know that you've put it off unless you tell him or her. And of course, there's one catch: If the sender marks the flagged e-mail "Private," you won't be able to change the reminder date after all.

 

JUST FLAG IT

You can turn your list of e-mail messages into a to-do list by flagging messages that pertain to things you have to do on a certain day. You can also plant a flag in a message you send to others to remind them of a task that they have to do.

To attach a flag to your e-mail messages (ones you send and ones that have been sent to you):

  1. From the Inbox, right-click the message that you want to flag.

    A shortcut menu appears.

  2. Choose Flag for Follow Up.

    The Flag for Follow up dialog box appears.

  3. Click the triangle at the right end of the Flag To text box and choose one of the menu items or type your own choice.

    A handy flag is "Follow Up," to remind you to confirm an appointment or other arrangement.

  4. Click the Reminder box and type the date on which you want the reminder flag to appear.

    If you'd rather just pick a date from a calendar, you can click the little down arrow next to the Reminder box to reveal a calendar, and then just click the date you want.

  5. Click OK.
  6. When the date you entered in the Flag for Follow Up dialog box arrives, a reminder dialog box pops up to jog your memory.

 

FURTHER FLAG WAVING IN OUTLOOK

Besides the Flag for Follow Up, Outlook offers these more-specific reminder flags for e-mails you'd rather deal with another day:

  • For Your Information: to tag info you may want to collect later
  • Forward: to remember to forward the chain charm, er, important message
  • No Response Necessary: (hello?)
  • Read: to remember to read the message later
  • Reply: to remind yourself to respond later
  • Reply to All: to remember to include everyone in your response later
  • Review: as opposed to reading it, perhaps?

Unfortunately, each reminder flag is not a different color; they're all red.

 

DELETE OLD ITEMS AUTOMATICALLY

In previous tips, you learned how to store old messages by archiving them automatically. But what if you just want to get rid of them? If you know you'll never need your old messages, there's no point in them hogging space somewhere else on your hard drive. Just have Outlook delete them automatically.

Right-click the folder that contains the old items and select Properties. Click the AutoArchive tab. Select the option Clean Out Items Older Than and enter a number in months--this is how often archiving will run. Click Permanently Delete Old Items. Click Apply, then click OK.

 

JUMP BACK TO TODAY

In a previous tip, we showed you how to use the Go To Date command to jump ahead and see the Calendar for a future date. But now how do you get back to today's schedule?

There are several quick ways to jump back to today's schedule. If you're in the Day/Week/Month view of the Calendar, simply click the Go To Today button on the Standard toolbar. You can also right-click in the Appointments pane, then choose Go To Today from the context menu.

 

CORPORATE OR INTERNET MAIL ONLY?

Outlook 2000 comes in two different versions: Corporate and Internet Mail Only. You can tell which one you have by checking the Tools menu. If you have a Tools, Services command, you have the Corporate version and can create personal distribution lists.

 

SET UP AN INTERNET E-MAIL ACCOUNT

After you sign up with an ISP, you need to set up Outlook 2000 to send and receive e-mail from your account. If you're a corporate user, your system administrators may not want you to mess around with account settings at all, so it's best to ask first.

If you're on your own, call the tech support line from your online service or ISP to get all the proper spellings of the server names and passwords that you need to enter.

To set up an Internet e-mail account, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Tools, E-mail Accounts
  2. In the E-mail Accounts dialog box, click the circle to the left of the words "Add new e-mail account."
  3. Click Next (or press Enter).
  4. In the Server Type dialog box, click the circle next to the type of server your e-mail provider requires.

    Refer to your e-mail service for that information.

  5. Click Next (or press Enter).
  6. On the Internet E-mail Settings screen, type the settings that your e-mail provider requires.
  7. Click the Test Account Settings button.

    The Test Account Settings dialog box appears and shows you what's happening while Outlook tests the settings you've entered. If you've typed one wrong letter in one of your e-mail settings, the computers that Outlook has to send messages through will reject your mail -- that's why you need to test settings.

    If the test fails, retype some of the entries and click the Test Account Settings button until you get a successful test. When the test is successful, the Test Account Settings dialog box offers a congratulations message.

  8. Click Close to make the Test Account Settings dialog box vanish.
  9. Click Next (or press Enter), and then click Finish.

 

MAIL MERGE FROM OUTLOOK 2000

The Mail Merge tool is an impressive feature of Outlook 2000 and 2002. When you need to send a mass mailing, your Contacts list can provide the names and addresses you want to merge into labels or form letters. When you use the Mail Merge feature in Outlook, Microsoft Word really does all the heavy lifting. Outlook just manages the names and addresses and passes them over to Word. If you're not running any version of Microsoft Word, you won't be able to run a Mail Merge from Outlook. To access the Mail Merge feature, in the Contacts view, choose Tools, Mail Merge. A series of dialog boxes will walk you through the rest of the process.

 

MORE MAIL MERGE FROM OUTLOOK 2000

When you want to use the Mail Merge feature of Outlook 2000, you probably don't want to send a letter to every person on your Contact list. To limit your list of letters or mailing labels to just a handful of contacts, in Contact view hold down the Ctrl key and click the names of the people you want to include. After you've selected everyone you want, choose Tools, Mail Merge. The Mail Merge tool will create letters or labels only for the people whose names you select.

 

DELETE ALL MESSAGES IN A GROUP

Two tips ago, we showed you how easy it is to group the messages in an e-mail folder by subject (or any other column): Right-click the Subject column heading and select Group By This Field. Doing so consolidates the messages in that folder and makes it easy to find what you need.

Grouping also makes it easier to delete a whole bunch of related messages in one fell swoop. For example, suppose you want to get rid of all messages to Joe Schmoe in your Sent Items folder. As it happens, you have the messages in that folder grouped by the To field. Simply right-click the Joe Schmoe group and select Delete--no more Joe.

Don't have your messages grouped together? That's easy enough to fix. Right-click the To column heading and select Group By This Field. Now go ahead with your group deletion.

 

FLAG IMPORTANT MESSAGES FOR FOLLOW-UP

If you're like most people, you get more email than you know what to do with. Don't let important messages slip through the cracks. Flag the important ones, so you don't forget to follow up.

First, select the messages you want to flag. Click Actions, Flag For Follow Up. In the Flag To box, select Follow Up (you can flag a message with several different messages, including Forward, No Response, and Call). Enter a date in the Due By box. Then, click OK.

Feels good to be responsible, doesn't it?

 

INCLUDE ORIGINAL MESSAGE TEXT ON FORWARDS

Naturally, you'll want to include the original text when you forward a message, and this is Outlook's default. But how to display it is up to you.

To set off the original text with an indent, select Tools, Options. Click the Preferences tab, then click the E-Mail Options button. Under When Forwarding A Message, choose Include and Indent Original Message Text.

 

NOTIFY YOU WHEN NEW MESSAGES ARRIVE

It's easy to get so engrossed in your work (or in playing Solitaire) that you forget to check your email. So have Outlook send you a message every time you get new email.

Begin by clicking Tools, Options. Select the Preferences tab, then click Email Options. Select the option Display A Notification Message When New Mail Arrives. Then, click OK twice.

Now you'll see a little pop-up window every time you get new mail. Ah, a personal assistant working for free.

 

CHANGE MESSAGE NOTIFICATION SOUND

In our previous tip, you learned how to have Outlook play a sound when you get a new email. You know the one--Ding! Everybody knows the sound a computer makes when you have new email in your inbox. It's as commonplace as casual Fridays or Monday morning meetings. Why not get a little variety and change your new email notification sound?

First, select Start, Settings, Control Panel (or double-click My Computer and select Control Panel). Next, double-click Sounds. Scroll down and select New Mail Notification in the Events box. Select a new sound in the Name box. Windows has lots to choose from, and if you're handy with a microphone, you can record your own .wav file to use. To preview a sound before settling on it, click the Play arrow under Preview. Finally, click OK.

 

SAVE AN EMAIL MESSAGE AS A FILE

Some email messages are worth saving. Say you get a steamy love letter from your significant other. It's probably best not to keep it in your Outlook Inbox, or even in a folder (especially if your company archives all your mail folders). It's easy to save it as a file on your hard drive. Then it's for your eyes only.

Click on the message you want to save. Select File, Save As. In the Save In box, navigate to the location on your hard drive where you want to save it. Type a name for the file in the File Name box. Click the file type you want in the Save As Type box. Then click Save.

Happy saving!

 

PLAY A SOUND WHEN EMAIL MESSAGES ARRIVE

In the previous tip, you learned how to have a notification pop up whenever you receive new email. You can also have Outlook play a sound or change your mouse cursor when new messages arrive.

Select Tools, Options, then click the Preferences tab. Choose Email Options, then click Advanced Email Options. Under When New Items Arrive, select Play A Sound or Briefly Change The Mouse Cursor (or both). Then, click OK three times.

 

WRAP LINES IN OUTGOING EMAIL MESSAGES

Just because you're using a state-of-the-art email program doesn't mean everyone else is. Some older email packages can't handle lines over 80 characters, resulting in hard-to-read emails with lines of varying lengths. You can avoid this by setting the word wrap in Outlook.

Choose Tools, Options and click the Mail Format tab. Next, click Settings. Set the lines to wrap at no more than 76 characters by entering

76

in the box. Now even the oldest email systems will display your messages as you intended.

 

REQUEST A RECEIPT FOR INDIVIDUAL MESSAGES

In our previous tip, you learned how to set Outlook to request a receipt for each message you send out. But one receipt for each outgoing message adds up to lots of clutter in your inbox, so you'll probably want to request receipts for specific messages.

To request a receipt, compose a new message. Select View, Options (or click the Options icon in your toolbar). Under Tracking Options, select the Request A Read Receipt For This Message option. Then, click Close and send your message as usual.

 

VIEWING MESSAGES BY CATEGORY

In our previous tips, we showed you how to organize your folders and Inbox by assigning messages to particular categories. So how can you make use of this feature and view all your related messages together?

We have the answer. Select View, Current View, Customize Current View. Click Group By in the View Summary dialog box. In the Group By dialog box, select Categories from the first drop-down box. (Notice that you can select further groupings by date, subject, and so on.) Click OK.

Your Inbox (or whatever folder you're working in) should now be organized by category. To get it back to its previous format, right-click the floating category box and choose Don't Group By This Field.

 

PROCESS RECEIPTS ON ARRIVAL

If someone sends a request for a receipt along with a message they send to you, have the manners to send that receipt promptly. Or just have Outlook take care of it for you.

From the Outlook desktop, select Tools, Options and click the Preferences tab. Click the Email Options button, click Tracking Options, and select the Process Receipts On Arrival option. From now on, receipts will be sent automatically.

 

CREATE A RULE TO FLAG MESSAGES FOR FOLLOW-UP AUTOMATICALLY

In our previous tip, you learned how to flag important messages for follow-up. But what if you want Outlook to flag them for you? Say you're collaborating on an important project with your good friend John Doe. You can flag every message from him to remind yourself to follow up right away. That way, his urgent message asking for your help won't get lost in-between requests to buy Girl Scout cookies and your cousin's detailed description of the latest family reunion.

First, click Tools, Rules Wizard. Next, click New. Select Flag Messages From Someone and edit the Rule Description box accordingly, choosing whose messages you want to flag and how many days you have to follow up. Click Next, then follow the wizard's instructions, entering any additional conditions or actions. Click Finish when you're done.

 

THE FOLDER BANNER

The folder banner is the name of the area that sits below the toolbars and above the main part of the Outlook screen (known as the information viewer). The name of the folder or module you're using is displayed in large letters at the left end of the folder banner. The right end of the banner displays a large icon that is also used by the Outlook bar to represent the module you're using.

Other information also turns up from time to time on the folder banner, such as

  • The alphabetical section of the Contact list you're using
  • Whether you're using filtering, which enables you to limit the information displayed on the screen to items that meet certain criteria
  • The Group By box when you're using grouped views

In addition, clicking the small, downward-pointing triangle next to the name of the module or folder on the left end of the folder banner reveals a copy of the folder list.

 

SAVE COPIES OF RESPONSES TO EMAIL IN A FOLDER

A reader asks, "Whenever I respond to an email, I put my own email address in the Bcc box, so I can then move the responses into a special folder named Responses. Is there an easier way to do this?"

Well, yes and no. The simplest way to save your responses in a folder is to create a rule that moves any sent message with Re: in the subject line into its own folder.

First, create a folder called Responses (File, New, Folder). Then, select Tools, Rules Wizard. On the first screen of the wizard, choose Check Messages After Sending, then click Next. Under Which Condition(s) Do You Want To Check, select the option With Specific Words In The Subject. In the Rule Description box, click on the linked text that says Specific Words and type

Re:

in the Add New box. Click Add, then click OK. Click Next. Under What Do You Want To Do With The Message, select the option Move A Copy To The Specified Folder. Click the linked text in the Rules Description box and select the Responses folder you just created. Click OK, then click Next twice. Enter a name for your new rule and click Finish.

 

DELETE DIRECTLY FROM A FOLDER

A reader asks, "My Sent Items folder has almost 400 sent emails that I would like to delete. Is there some way to delete directly from the Sent Items folder without having to get rid of the messages again from the Deleted Items folder?"

To trash old email messages directly from a folder--rather than sending them to Deleted Items and then deleting them again--simply hold down the Shift key while you press Delete.

 

COMPACTING PERSONAL FOLDERS IN OUTLOOK

Even though you delete items from your Outlook 2000 folders and clear out the Deleted Items folders, your Personal Folder file can continue to grow. The reason is that Outlook doesn't automatically recover the space that was used by items that you've deleted. You must tell Outlook to compact your Personal Folder file to recover that space.

To compact your Personal Folder file, follow these steps:

  1. Select Tools, Services to display the Services dialog box.
  2. Select Personal Folders from the list of services.
  3. Click the Properties button to display the Personal Folders dialog box.
  4. Click the Compact Now button to remove the wasted space.

    If you haven't selected this option for some time, you may have to wait a few minutes for the task to complete.

  5. Click OK to close the Personal Folders dialog box.
  6. Click OK to close the Services dialog box.

Be sure to compact your Personal Folder file regularly -- especially if you've just eliminated a lot of old files from your Outlook folders.

 

DISTRIBUTION LISTS--PART 1 OF 3: CREATING GROUPS

If you have a group of people you send email to regularly, like your golf buddies, why not organize them into a group? It will save you time--instead of searching for five email addresses, you need to enter only one.

Select Tools, Address Books (or click the Address Book button on the Standard toolbar). Click the New button on the Address Book toolbar, and choose contacts from the Put This Entry In The list (you'll have this option only if you're using Outlook on a network). Select New Group, then click OK.

Type a name for your group (perhaps Golf Guys) and click Select Members. Choose which names you want to add to the list, and click Select. Click OK, then click Save And Close. Now the list will appear in your Contacts folder--no more picking and choosing names!

DISTRIBUTION LISTS--PART 2 OF 3: EDITING A LIST

In our previous tip, you learned how to set up a distribution list so you can quickly address an email message to, say, your book club. But what happens when someone leaves or joins the group? Simple--you just edit your distribution list.

Open the Address Book. Double-click the name of the group you want to change. To add a name from your contacts list, click the Select Members button. Then select the names you want to add, click Select, then click OK twice. You're ready to go!

To remove a name from a list, open the group, select the name you want to remove, and click Remove. Then click OK.

DISTRIBUTION LISTS--PART 3 OF 3: RENAMING A LIST

In our previous tip, we showed you how to edit the members of a distribution list. Say you're involved in not one but two book groups (hey, how come you have so much free time?) and need a mailing list for both of them. You might want to change the name of the first book group to something more descriptive, so it's easy to keep them straight.

To rename your list, open your Address Book. Select the group you want to rename, then select File, Properties (or right-click and select Properties). Highlight the name in the Group Name box, and type the new name in its place. Then click OK.

 

USING A DISTRIBUTION LIST IN OUTLOOK 2000

You can create a Distribution List (in Outlook 2000 and higher) in your Contacts module that includes the name of more than one person for those times when you send a message to several people simultaneously. You can also assign categories to your Distribution Lists (just as you can with individual contacts), and you can send a Distribution List to other people as an attachment to an e-mail message so they can use the same list you do if they're also using Outlook.

Distribution Lists show up as items in your Contact list along with people's names, so you can use a Distribution List to address an e-mail message just as you would with any contact. You can drag the card for a Distribution List to your Inbox to create a new e-mail message to that list. You can also type the name of the Distribution List in the To line of an e-mail message and click the Check Names button in the toolbar. When Outlook adds an underline to the name in the To box, you know your message will go to the people on your Distribution List.

 

HANDY E-MAIL ABBREVIATIONS

Here are some abbreviations you can use when sending e-mail:

  • LOL: Laughing out loud
  • MOTAS: Member of the appropriate sex
  • MOTOS: Member of the opposite sex
  • MOTSS: Member of the same sex
  • ROTFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
  • SO: Significant other
  • WRT: With regard to

 

DELETE AN EMAIL ACCOUNT

There are lots of reasons you might want to delete an email account--you got a new job, signed on with a different ISP, or maybe got your kid a new computer so he can stop hogging yours. Whatever the case may be, there will come a time when you need to delete an email account.

Begin by clicking Tools, Accounts, Mail. In the Account box, select the email account you want to delete, then click Remove. Easy, huh? Just make sure you don't delete the wrong one!

 

FLAGGING E-MAIL IN OUTLOOK

Ever wish your e-mail program would pop up a red flag on Wednesday morning and wave it -- until you remembered to respond to that important e-mail you received Monday? Ta da! Outlook Express will send you a reminder message if you just remember to attach a little red flag icon when you get the important message.

Here's how:

  1. In the Inbox, right-click the message you want to flag.
  2. Choose Flag for Follow Up. The Flag for Follow Up dialog box appears. The default "Follow up" flag in the Flag To text box is handy for reminding you to do something about this message.
  3. Click the little down arrow next to the Reminder box to reveal a calendar, and then just click the date you want the reminder flag to appear.
  4. Click OK. When the date you entered in the Flag for Follow Up dialog box arrives, a reminder dialog box pops up to help jog your memory.

Note: it may not show up until the end of the day, so you might need to set it for the day before you need to complete a follow-up.

 

SPECIFY WHICH E-MAIL ACCOUNT TO USE TO SEND A MESSAGE

Most computer users these days have at least two e-mail addresses--one for business and one for personal use. If you've got Outlook configured to work with multiple e-mail accounts, one of them will still be the default for sending messages.

To change which e-mail account you're sending a particular message from, create a new message as usual. From within the message window, click Options. In the Send Message Using box, click the account you want to use, and then click Close.

 

SPECIFY WHICH EMAIL ACCOUNT TO USE TO SEND A MESSAGE--PART 1 OF 2

If you have more than one email account set up in Outlook 2000, one of them is the default account. If you have your work account selected as the default, Outlook will assume it's the one you want to use. But what if you're sending out a gushy letter to your sweetie? It's probably best to send it from your personal account. Fortunately, it's easy to specify which account you want to use.

Create a new message. Type in the recipient's email address and the subject, then type your message. Click Options. Select which account you want to use in the Send Message Using box (under Delivery Options), and then click Close. Click Send whenever you're ready. Now the message will go out using your personal account.

 

SPECIFY WHICH EMAIL ACCOUNT TO USE TO SEND A MESSAGE--PART 2 OF 2

In the previous tip, you learned how to tell Outlook which email account to use to send a message--simply click Options from within the message and choose the appropriate account. But there's an even faster way.

Create a new message. Type in the recipient's email address and the subject, then type your message. Click the drop-down arrow next to the Send button and choose the email account name you want to use. Send the message whenever you're ready.

 

TURN ON OR OFF THE USE OF COMMAS TO SEPARATE E-MAIL ADDRESSES

Outlook prefers that you use semicolons to separate e-mail addresses when you're sending an e-mail to more than one person. But you can also set it up so that you can enter commas. Outlook will then turn the comma into a semicolon before it sends the message.

Click Tools, Options and select the Preferences tab. Click E-Mail Options, then click Advanced E-Mail Options. Select the Allow Comma As Address Separator check box. Then, click OK three times.

 

DEALING WITH FLOODS OF E-MAIL

There's good news and bad news about e-mail. The good news is that e-mail is free; you can send as much as you want for virtually no cost. The bad news is that e-mail is free; anybody can easily send you more e-mail than you can possibly read. Before long, you need help sorting it all out so you can deal with messages that need immediate action.

Outlook has some handy tools for coping with the flood of electronic flotsam and jetsam that finds its way into your Inbox. You can create separate folders for filing your mail, and you can use Outlook's view feature to help you slice and dice your incoming messages into manageable groups.

 

DRAGGING E-MAIL INTO THE CONTACTS LIST IN OUTLOOK

You may already know that you can drag an e-mail from someone to your Contacts icon and a New Contact form opens with the name and e-mail address of the person who sent the message filled in. But what if that person's e-mail is letting you know further contact information such as a business phone number? If the body of an e-mail message contains information that you want to use as contact information, simply select that information and drag it to the appropriate box of the New Contact form. That way you avoid mistyping the information by mistake.

 

SENDING INTERNET E-MAIL WITH OUTLOOK

You don't have to do anything special when the person receiving your e-mail from Outlook has an Internet e-mail address. To send e-mail to someone on the Internet, just type that person's Internet e-mail address in the To box of your message. If that person is already entered in your Contact list, just drag his or her Address card to the Inbox icon in the Outlook bar on the left side of the screen.

 

THE OUTLOOK INFORMATION VIEWER (AND CHANGER)

The biggest part of the Outlook screen, on the lower-right side, is the information viewer. Whatever you ask Outlook to show you appears there: Dates in your Calendar, messages in your Inbox, names on your Contact list, and so on. The Outlook bar is the rectangle on the left that contains shortcut icons to various functions of Outlook. Remarkably, you can drag items from the information viewer to icons on the Outlook bar to create new types of Outlook items from this information you already have. After you drop an item from one Outlook module into another, Outlook transforms the information and makes the item useful in a whole new way. For example, an e-mail message can become a Journal entry, and vice versa.

 

CREATING A FORM LETTER WITH OUTLOOK 2000

Whenever you get a personalized sweepstakes letter, you're getting a form letter. A form letter is a letter with standard text that's printed over and over but with a different name and address printed on each copy, tailored for the recipient. You can send form letters, too, even if you're not holding a sweepstakes. An annual newsletter to family and friends is one form letter you may want to create.

To create a form letter from Outlook 2000:

  1. Click the Contacts icon in the Outlook Bar. Your list of contacts appears.
  2. Choose Tools, Mail Merge. The Mail Merge Contacts dialog box appears.
  3. Choose Form Letters from the Document Type list. The document type list is at the lower-left corner of the Mail Merge Contacts dialog box. The words Form Letters appear after you make your choice.
  4. Choose New Document from the Merge to list. The Merge to list appears just to the right of the Document Type list at the bottom of the dialog box. Normally, the words New Document appear automatically, so you don't have to do anything, but you might want to check to be sure.
  5. Click OK. Microsoft Word starts up, displaying a blank document.
  6. Type your form letter. Click the Insert Merge Field button (on the left end of the toolbar) to insert merge fields everywhere you want data from your Outlook Address Book to appear in your form letter.

 

LOADING OUTLOOK 2000 AUTOMATICALLY

To load Microsoft Outlook 2000 automatically when you start your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button on the Windows taskbar and choose Settings, Taskbar.
  2. Click the Start Menu Programs tab.
  3. Click Add and then click Browse.
  4. Double-click Microsoft Outlook. (You may have to look inside the Program Files/Microsoft Office/Office folders first.)
  5. Click Next and then double-click the StartUp icon.
  6. Click Finish and then click OK.

The next time you start (or restart) your computer, Outlook 2000 loads automatically.

You can have Windows load any program automatically if you click on that program name in Step 4 instead of clicking on Microsoft Outlook.

 

NOT LOADING OUTLOOK WITH WINDOWS

Anytime you have Windows automatically load a program for you, the time Windows needs to boot up increases, so make sure that you load only those programs that you absolutely need when you turn on your computer.

For some, Outlook is a startup necessity, but in case you don't want Microsoft Outlook 2000 to load automatically anymore (because it takes too much time), follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button on the Windows taskbar and then choose Settings, Taskbar.
  2. Click the Start Menu Programs tab.
  3. Click Remove.
  4. Click the plus sign to the left of the StartUp folder, then click Outlook, and then click Remove.
  5. Click Close, and then click OK.

Remember: Removing Outlook from the StartUp folder does not remove Outlook from your computer.

 

UNDERSTANDING THE OUTLOOK OBJECT MODEL

If you are into programming your e-mail software, Outlook 2000's hierarchical object model has over 100 methods, properties, and events that other applications can interact with. Through the object model, you have access to almost any component within Outlook, and getting to know the object model is the first step toward making applications that integrate with Outlook. Also, if you're building application interfaces to use within Outlook, you will need to become familiar with the basic types of forms available as templates, such as the Contact and Message forms. You can customize a standard form with little or no programming because the customized form inherits the functionality of the standard form it's based on.

 

SEND A MESSAGE WITHOUT OPENING OUTLOOK

Have you ever wished you could send a quick email without the hassle of loading Outlook? Well, you can! A reader offers this handy tip for putting a mailto icon right on your desktop.

Right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose New, Shortcut. In the Command Line box, type

mailto:

and click Next. Type a name for your icon (how about Mail?) and click Finish. When you want to create a new message, simply double-click the icon, compose your message, and click Send. Your message will be sent as usual.

 

SPECIFY THE FOLDER TO OPEN WHEN YOU START OUTLOOK

When you fire up Outlook in the morning (or whenever), is your Calendar the first thing you peruse? Why not set it up so it opens automatically when you start Outlook? It will save you a few clicks.

Click Tools, Options. Select the Other tab and click Advanced Options. Select the folder you want to appear upon startup in the Startup In This Folder Box--in this case, it's Calendar. Then, click OK twice.

 

CREATE A POP3 EMAIL ACCOUNT--ONLY IF USING INTERNET-ONLY INSTALLATION

These days, email accounts are like telephones--almost everyone has at least one, and most people have two: one for work, one for personal use. If your whole family is wired, you may have several email accounts. Fortunately, it's easy to add a POP3 email account to Outlook 2000.

First, click Tools, Accounts and select the Mail tab. Click Add, then click Mail. Type the name you want to use for the account, like "Joe Schmoe" (this is the name that will appear on outgoing messages) and click Next. Type in the email address of the account and click Next. Enter the names of your ISP's incoming and outgoing mail servers, then click Next. Type the name and account number your ISP has provided for you and click Next. Choose how you want to connect to the Internet--if this is your home account, you'll probably choose Connect Using My Phone Line or I Will Establish My Internet Connection Manually. Click Next, then click Finish. Ta-da! You've got yourself a new email account.

 

SET A TIME INTERVAL TO CHECK FOR MESSAGES

When you want to check your snail mail, you don't have to go to the post office to see if there's anything new, right? The mail carrier delivers it right to your door, at about the same time every day. So why should email be any different? Rather than hitting Send And Receive to get your new email messages, just have Outlook check for new messages regularly on its own. Ah, it's like an assistant who works for free.

Click Tools, Options, and select the Mail Delivery tab. Select the option Check For New Messages Every, and enter a time interval in the box. Ten minutes is a good place to start. Click OK. Now Outlook will check your mail for you every ten minutes.

 

EDIT A RECURRING APPOINTMENT

If you have an appointment that happens regularly, such as every week, it's easy and convenient to enter that appointment in your Calendar as a recurring appointment--that way, you don't have to reenter it every week. But what if one random Tuesday your shrink calls and says she needs to move you from Tuesday afternoons to Friday mornings? No problem--simply edit the recurring appointment.

First, double-click the appointment. Choose Open The Series, then click OK. Now, click Actions, Recurrence (or just click the Recurrence button on the toolbar), and change the date and time. Finally, click OK.

 

EDIT ONE INSTANCE OF A RECURRING APPOINTMENT

In the previous tip, you learned how to edit a recurring appointment, changing your meetings with your therapist from Tuesdays to Fridays. But what if you just need to change this week's appointment to Friday? Fear not--you can change one occurrence of an appointment without messing up the whole series on your Calendar.

First, double-click the appointment. Choose Open This Occurrence and click OK. Change the Start Time and End Time to reflect the change, then click OK.

Now this week's appointment has been moved to Friday, but next week's (and the week after that, etc.) is still set for Tuesday.

 

SET AN APPOINTMENT REMINDER

We know, you're a busy person. It's not your fault if you forget to check your Calendar and forget about appointments, is it? Well, actually it is, but never mind that. If you set a reminder for each appointment on your Calendar, you won't have to make any excuses.

To set a reminder, open the appointment or appointment series (if it's recurring) by double-clicking it. Select the Reminder check box and enter how far in advance you want Outlook to remind you. You can choose any length of time, from 5 minutes to two days. Then, click Save And Close.

 

CUSTOMIZE REMINDER SOUND FOR AN APPOINTMENT

In the previous tip, you learned how to set a reminder for a specific appointment. You can also change the sound that plays when it's time for your reminder (instead of the standard Windows "ding" sound).

Open the appointment or appointment series (if it's recurring) by double-clicking it. Make sure the Reminder check box is selected. Click the Speaker button next to the Reminder check box, then click Browse. Navigate to the .wav file of your choice--maybe you have one that says "Time to go!"--and click OK.

 

EXPORT INFORMATION TO OTHER OFFICE PROGRAMS

It's always a good idea to save your important documents in a safe place, and that goes for Outlook items, too. Whether it's an e-mail folder, your Calendar, your Address Book, or Notes, you can export it to a file for safekeeping.

Click File, Import And Export. Choose Export To A File, then click Next. Choose which file type you want to create. If you're going to use your exported file in Microsoft Word, choose Comma Separated Values (Windows) or Tab Separated Values. There's also an option for Microsoft Excel. Click Next. Choose the folder or set of items you want to export, and click Next. Navigate to where you want the file saved, name it, then click OK. Click Finish.

 

ADDRESS A FAX

Email is a great tool, but it hasn't taken over completely. We still need to fax actual documents once in a while. With Outlook 2000, it's just as easy as sending an email. Your copy of Outlook 2000 includes a copy of Symantec Fax Starter Edition that you can use to send and receive faxes using a dial-up connection.

To create a fax message from Outlook 2000, select File, New, Fax Message. Type the recipient's name in the To box. Outlook automatically uses the fax number from your contact list, but if it's not there, you can enter it directly. Type a fax number in the To box in the following format:

fax@insert fax number

If you need to dial a number to get an outside line, type it and the letter

w

before the fax number. For example, if you were dialing the number 415-555-5555 and you need to dial 9 first, you'd type

fax@9w415-555-5555

Type a description of the fax in the Subject box, then type your message in the message window. Then, just click Send.

Good luck!

 

SEND AN OPEN DOCUMENT AS A FAX

In our previous tip, you learned how to create a fax directly from your Outlook 2000 desktop. But more often, you'll probably want to fax a document from a different program--say, a Word document or Excel spreadsheet.

Make sure you have the desired document open. Click File, Print. In the Printer Name list, click Symantec Fax Starter Edition (or whatever fax software you have installed). Click Print or OK. Then enter the name of your contact in the To box. If the recipient's fax number isn't in your contact list, you'll need to type it in using the following format:

fax@415-555-5555

Type a description of the fax in the Subject box, then type your cover page information in the message window. Finally, click Send.

 

FAX OPTIONS

Long before e-mail became popular, faxing made it possible for people to send messages virtually instantly over ordinary telephone lines. Faxes remain a common form of communication even in today's connected world. One reason for this is simple -- you don't need a computer or even access to the Internet to send a fax.

Outlook has two different faxing options. The one that is available to you depends on the e-mail configuration that you have selected. If you choose the Internet Only e-mail option, you have to use the Symantec Fax Starter Edition faxing option. If you choose the Corporate or Workgroup e-mail option, you can use Microsoft Fax as your faxing service. Both types of fax service provide similar functions.

 

ADD PERSONAL INFORMATION TO A FAX

In our last two tips, you've learned how to fax an open document and a new fax message created in Outlook 2000. You can make sure that Outlook 2000 inserts your personal information as a cover page whenever you send a fax.

Click Tools, Options, and then select the Fax tab. Outlook will automatically insert your name, company name, phone number, and fax number. To change this personal information, click Tools, Options, Fax, and then click Edit and change the information.

 

WORKING WITH FAXES--PART 1 OF 3

E-mail is a great tool, but it hasn't taken over completely. We still need to fax actual documents once in a while. With Outlook 2000, it's just as easy as sending an e-mail.

To create a fax message from Outlook 2000, select File, New, Fax Message. Type the recipient's name in the To box. Outlook automatically uses the fax number from your contact list, but if it's not there, you can enter it in directly. Type a fax number in the To box in the following format:

fax@insert fax number

If you need to dial a number to get an outside line, type it and the letter

w

before the fax number. For example, if you were dialing the number 415-555-5555, and you need to dial 9 first, you'd type

fax@9w415-555-5555

Type a description of the fax in the Subject box, then type your message in the message window. Click Send. Good luck!

WORKING WITH FAXES--PART 2 OF 3

In our last tip, you learned how to create a fax directly from your Outlook 2000 desktop. But more often, you'll probably want to send a document--say, a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet--from a different program as a fax.

Make sure you have the desired document open. Click File, Print. In the Printer Name list, click Symantec Fax Starter Edition. Click Print or OK. Then enter the name of your contact in the To box. If the recipient's fax number isn't in your contact list, you'll need to type it in using the format

fax@insert fax number

Type a description of the fax in the Subject box, then type your cover page information in the message window. Click Send.

WORKING WITH FAXES--PART 3 OF 3

In our last two tips, you've learned how to fax an open document and a new fax message created in Outlook 2000. You can make sure that Outlook 2000 inserts your personal information as a cover page whenever you send a fax.

Click Tools, Options, then select the Fax tab. Outlook will automatically insert your name, company name, phone number, and fax number. To change this personal information, click Tools, Options, Fax, and then click Edit and change the information.

 

FAXING OPTIONS

To receive incoming faxes successfully, remember the following important points:

  • Outlook must be running in order to receive a fax.
  • The fax service must be configured correctly to receive an incoming fax. Select Tools, Services to display the Services dialog box. Double-click the fax service to display its Properties dialog box. Click the Modem tab and choose Properties to set the answer mode options.
  • If you need to share the fax line with voice calls, don't set the fax service to automatically answer incoming calls. Use the manual option to display a dialog box so that you can choose to answer the call as a fax or as a voice call.
  • If you want to be able to receive faxes when you aren't at the computer, set the fax service to automatically answer incoming calls.

 

SET AUTOARCHIVE PROPERTIES FOR A FOLDER

In our previous tip, you learned how to turn on AutoArchive to automatically store old Outlook 2000 items. But you're not ready to go yet--you still need to set the AutoArchive properties for each folder you want to be archived automatically.

Right-click the folder you want to AutoArchive, then select Properties. Click the AutoArchive tab, check the box next to Clean Out Items Older Than, and enter a number in months--this is how often archiving will run.

Next, you need to pick a file for the archived items to be stored in. Click Move Old Items To. Type a filename (if you've already got an archive file, click Browse to find it). Click Apply, then click OK.

 

CREATE A BACKUP COPY OF A FOLDER

The golden rule of using a computer is "back up." If you've ever lost all your precious data, you know how important it is to have a copy of everything on your system. So take a few minutes and back up your email folders. You'll thank us later.

To begin, click File, Import And Export. Choose Export To A File, and click Next. Select Personal Folder File (.pst) and click Next. Choose which folder you want to back up. If you want to copy all your mail folders, choose Inbox and then select Include Subfolders. Click Next. Specify a name and location for your backup file. You should keep at least one copy on a floppy or zip disk. Click Finish. There's nothing like being prepared.

 

TURN AUTOMATIC EMPTYING OF THE DELETED ITEMS FOLDER ON OR OFF

In our previous tip, you learned how to empty the Deleted Items folder. Rather than remember to do it every day, why not just have Outlook do it for you?

Begin by choosing Tools, Options and clicking the Other tab. Select the option Empty The Deleted Items Folder Upon Exiting. Then click OK.

Now if only this would work for your kitchen trash...

 

SAVING A COPY OF A MESSAGE TO A FOLDER

Yes, we all know that e-mail is an important business tool that lets you stay in constant touch with colleagues and clients. But let's face it--often it's a vehicle for forwarding really good jokes.

Trouble is, if a good joke has been forwarded enough times, getting to it is like opening those boxes that only contain a smaller box, which contains an even smaller box. By the time you get to the forwarded e-mail containing the joke, your task bar is littered with useless open messages. But there is a way to get rid of them. If you want to keep an e-mail that's been forwarded but don't want the e-mail that contains it, just copy it to a folder.

First, click File, Copy To Folder. Then, choose which folder you want to save it in (maybe "Useless But Funny Jokes") and click OK.

 

EMPTY THE DELETED ITEMS FOLDER

In a previous tip, you learned how to retrieve a deleted item from the Deleted Items folder. But maybe you're a decisive person--once you trash something, it's history. If so, it makes no sense to keep stuff in your Deleted Items folder. Why not take out the trash?

To do so, right-click the Deleted Items folder in the Folder List. Then, select Empty Deleted Items Folder from the context menu.

 

MOVE A FOLDER

In our previous tip, you learned how to rename a folder. Now that your folders all have useful, descriptive names like "Department Meeting Notes" rather than "Stuff," make sure they're organized the way you want them.

It's easy to move folders around so they're inside other folders. For example, you might want your "Department Meeting Notes" folder to live inside your "Department Documents" folder.

Make sure the folder list is displayed. If it's not, click View, Folder List. Click the folder you want to rename, then select File, Folder, Move Folder. Click the new location in the Move The Selected Folder To The Folder list, then click OK.

You can also simply right-click the folder in the folder list, select Move Folder from the shortcut menu, and choose a new location from there. Whoo! That's a lot of folder talk for one tip.

 

RENAME FOLDER

Folders are a great way to organize your e-mail messages and keep your Inbox uncluttered. But a folder isn't very useful if you named it something like "Folder #1."

Begin by making sure the folder list is displayed. If it's not, click View, Folder List. Click the folder you want to rename, then select File, Folder, Rename Folder; type the new name; and press Enter.

You can also simply right-click the folder in the folder list, select Rename Folder from the shortcut menu, and type the new name.

 

VIEWING DROP-DOWN LIST OF FOLDERS

In our previous tip, you learned how to place the Forward and Back buttons on your Outlook 2000 screen. But that's not the only browser-like navigation trick up Outlook's sleeve.

If you look between the Back and Forward buttons, you'll see a downward arrow. It's a drop-down list of your Outlook 2000 folders. To see it, click the arrow. Select a folder, and you'll jump directly to it.

 

FILING IN FOLDERS

The simplest way to manage incoming e-mail is just to file it. Before you file a message, though, you need to create at least one folder in which to file your messages. You have to create a folder only once; it's there for good after you create it. You can create as many folders as you want; you may have dozens or just one or two.

You can create folders for filing mail from specific clients, for example, and have a folder called Personal for messages that aren't business related.

 

SYNCHRONIZE OFFLINE FOLDERS

Both Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook organize information into folders: Outlook stores the folders on your computer, and Exchange stores folders on a different computer -- known as a server -- which is located someplace else on your office network. Exchange folders are meant to be shared with other people, whereas usually only one person uses a set of Outlook folders. If you use Outlook on a laptop and you need to use information from Exchange Server while you're traveling, you can create your own copy of the Exchange folder on your laptop. When you return from your trip with all your work finished, you can synchronize the copy of the folder on your laptop to make it match the copy that everyone shares on the company's server.

 

DISPLAYING ATTACHMENTS IN OUTLOOK EXPRESS

If the attachment on an e-mail you receive is a graphic image, Outlook Express displays the image directly in the message when you open the message. As a result, you don't have to do anything special to view images your friends send to you via e-mail. (For all other kinds of attachments, just double-click the icon to open the attachment and the program that can read it simultaneously.

 

OUTLOOK EXPRESS FOLDERS

When you first install Outlook Express, five message folders are set up to store and organize messages you have sent and received. These folders are displayed as icons on the left side of the main Outlook Express window. You will spend most of your time working in the Inbox folder, which contains messages you have received. But you can display the contents of other folders by clicking the icon for the folder you want to view.

 

FREE/BUSY OPTIONS

One of the benefits of using Outlook on a local area network (LAN) is that you can share your schedule with your colleagues, which can cut down on dialogues like "I can't make a Tuesday morning meeting, can we do it in the afternoon instead?" "No, not unless I move my lunch meeting to Wednesday..." With a few clicks, Outlook can let others know when you have time available for meetings and when you're busy.

From the Outlook desktop, select Tools, Options, and choose Calendar Options. Click Free/Busy Options. You'll be presented with a dialog box that lets you decide how much information about your schedule you want to provide--how many months' worth of calendar to show, where to show it, and how often to update the information. When you've specified your options, click OK.

 

CHECK OTHERS' FREE/BUSY TIME FOR MEETINGS

If you're using Microsoft Exchange Server and your invitees use Outlook as their primary calendar, you can see when they're free for meetings and when they're busy, which eliminates a lot of back and forth "I can't make two o'clock--how about three?"

Schedule a meeting as usual (by selecting Actions, Plan A Meeting). Invite the people you want to attend, and click OK. Or, if you made the meeting by creating a new Appointment, then clicking Invite Attendees, click the Attendee Availability tab in the Appointment window. Then use the scroll bars to the right of the invitees to see when everyone's free. The Free/Busy times are color-coded so you can tell if someone might be free, if they're otherwise engaged, or if they're out of the office completely.

 

GOBBLEDYGOOK IN YOUR E-MAIL

If you receive a great deal of e-mail from the Internet, the first few lines of your messages may be nothing but computerese. That's because Internet e-mail bounces between computers all over the country -- and sometimes all over the world -- before it gets to you. The lines of gibberish at the beginning of your Internet e-mail messages are directions used by the computers that the messages bounced among so that the message ends up bouncing to you successfully.

 

ADDING HOLIDAYS

Life can't be all work and no play, right? So make sure that you know when holidays are approaching by having Outlook automatically enter them on your Calendar.

From the Outlook desktop, select Tools, Options, and choose Calendar Options. Under Calendar Options, click the Add Holidays button. Presto! Outlook automatically enters national holidays on your calendar.

 

THE OUTLOOK INFORMATION VIEWER (AND CHANGER)

The biggest part of the Outlook screen, on the lower-right side, is the information viewer. Whatever you ask Outlook to show you appears there: Dates in your Calendar, messages in your Inbox, names on your Contact list, and so on. The Outlook bar is the rectangle on the left that contains shortcut icons to various functions of Outlook. Remarkably, you can drag items from the information viewer to icons on the Outlook bar to create new types of Outlook items from this information you already have.

After you drop an item from one Outlook module into another, Outlook transforms the information and makes the item useful in a whole new way. For example, an e-mail message can become a Journal entry, and vice versa.

 

PUT TEXT IN A BULLETED LIST

E-mail doesn't have to be boring. You can make your e-mail look as spiffy as any neatly formatted PowerPoint presentation. You just have to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

A good trick to start with is bullets. If you have a list of items, why limit yourself to using old-fashioned characters like ">" to set off the list items, when it's so easy to use bullets?

Compose your list, then select the lines you want bulleted. Click the Bullets icon on the Formatting toolbar. Voila! Snazzy, eh?

 

CANCEL A MEETING

Even the best-laid plans can go south. Despite your careful planning, at some point you'll need to cancel a meeting. Fortunately, it's easy.

Open the meeting from your Calendar. Click Actions, Cancel Meeting. You can also click the Delete button (which looks like a black X) on the Standard toolbar. You'll have the option to send a cancellation notice to the people you invited, which will save you the trouble of sending a separate email. Select Send Cancellation And Delete Meeting, then click OK.

 

CHANGE MEETING INFORMATION AFTER SENDING THE INVITATION

Have you ever sent out an invitation to a meeting using Outlook, and then the details changed? Maybe your boss changed the time, or you couldn't get the conference room you wanted. Rather than sending out an email to everyone you invited, simply change the meeting information and re-send the invitation.

First, open the meeting. Change the information you need to change, then click Send. If you're using Outlook on a Microsoft Exchange Server, the meeting will be automatically updated on your invitees' calendars. Neat, huh?

 

SCHEDULE A RECURRING MEETING

If you have lunch with your department every week at the same time, why enter it in your Calendar manually every week? It's easy to create a meeting that takes place at regular intervals.

Create a meeting and invite your attendees. Type a name and a location for your meeting (or lunch), then select Actions, Recurrence. In the Appointment Recurrence window, you can set the meeting to occur daily, every week, every two weeks, or whenever. Choose the options you want, then click OK. The meeting appears on your Calendar at the interval you specified.

 

AUTOMATICALLY ACCEPT MEETING REQUESTS AND PROCESS CANCELLATIONS

If you're working on an Exchange Server, Outlook can be very useful in scheduling group meetings. But it can be tiresome to have to respond to each meeting request, especially if you end up accepting each one. Save yourself a few minutes and have Outlook automatically accept meeting requests. It will then put them right on your Calendar.

Click Tools, Options, and select the Preferences tab. Click Calendar Options, and then click Resource Scheduling. Select the option Automatically Accept Meeting Requests And Process Cancellations. Then, click OK three times.

 

CONTACTS FEATURES FOR MEETING SETUP

Creating a meeting in Outlook isn't really all that different from creating a new appointment. There is, of course, the complication of coordinating the schedules for the meeting participants, but Outlook automates most of that process. When you set up a meeting, Outlook can automatically check the availability of participants who use Outlook to schedule their time. You don't have to spend time calling to find out when people will be available because Outlook will find a time for you.

 

MOVE OR COPY A MENU COMMAND

In the previous tip, you learned how to hide a toolbar. This trick comes in handy if you don't use a toolbar much and want to free up some screen space. But what if there are one or two commands you use regularly on that toolbar? You don't have to keep it around just for the one button you use--you can just move that button to another toolbar. Let's say you want to move the Outlook Today button from the Advanced toolbar to the Standard toolbar.

First, make sure both toolbars are displayed. Next, click Tools, Customize. If the Customize dialog box is in your way, simply move it out of the way but keep it open. Click the Outlook Today button (or whichever one you want to move). To move it, drag it over the Standard toolbar and release the mouse button. To copy it, hold down Ctrl and drag the button.

 

SHOW ALL THE COMMANDS ON THE MENUS

Have you noticed that the menus in Outlook 2000 (and in all Microsoft Office 2000 programs) don't always show all the included commands? The default setting is to only show the commands you've used most recently. To see all of them, you need to click the double arrows at the bottom of the menu.

If this bugs you, it's easy to show all the menu commands. Click Tools, Customize, and select the Options tab. Clear the Menus Show Recently Used Commands check box, then click Close. Remember, this will affect all your Microsoft Office programs.

 

GETTING HELP FROM THE HELP MENU

We all need a little help once in a while. And fortunately, Microsoft provides lots of ways for you to find help when it comes to Outlook 2000. Say you've forgotten how to create a new message (hey, it could happen). Simply click Help, Microsoft Outlook Help. If the Office Assistant is turned on, it appears (more on the Assistant in the next tip). If it's not turned on, the Help window pops up.

There are several ways to find answers using the Help window. You can click the Answer Wizard tab, type your question--in this case, "How do I create a new message?"--in the window, and click Search. You can also select the Index tab and search for a specific word, like "message."

 

SELECT A DIFFERENT OFFICE ASSISTANT

An assistant can be very useful around a busy office, and the Outlook Office Assistant is no exception. But if you find yourself tiring of the perky little paper clip, fire him and hire a new Assistant. It's easy to select a different Assistant.

Click on the Office Assistant. If the Assistant isn't visible, click Help, Show The Office Assistant. Click Options in the Assistant's balloon. Select the Gallery tab, and click Back or Next until you find an Assistant you like better. Outlook comes with seven Assistants to choose from. Once you've made your selection, click OK.

 

ASKING FOR HELP FROM THE OFFICE ASSISTANT

In our previous tip, you learned how to find help using the Help window. But if you have the Office Assistant turned on, it's the first thing you'll see when you click Help, Microsoft Outlook Help.

If the Office Assistant is turned on, it hangs out in the background while you work. Not only will it pop up now and then to assist you with common tasks, it can also help you search for an answer to your question.

To bring up the Assistant, click Help, Microsoft Outlook Help. To get help creating a new message, simply type your question in the Assistant's window and click Search. Several topics will appear in the Assistant's balloon. One of them is likely to be what you're looking for.

GET RID OF THE OFFICE ASSISTANT

Some people love the Office Assistant. They find it helpful that it's always hanging around, blinking at you. Others find it as attractive as the guy at the office who's always talking about his cat. If you fall into the latter camp, just get rid of the software sycophant.

Click Help, Hide The Office Assistant. Ta-da. No more helpful blinking little paperclip.

 

GETTING HELP FROM THE OFFICE UPDATE WEB SITE

Have you ever checked out the Microsoft Office Update Web site? If you haven't, you're missing out on tips and tricks, downloads, software patches, technical help, and more. It's easy to find and easy to use.

Simply click Help, Office On The Web. You'll be connected to the Update site. Browse around--you're sure to find something you can use!

 

CLOSING A MESSAGE AFTER REPLYING OR FORWARDING

You're a busy person who likes to save time wherever you can, right? We thought so. So why waste time closing a message after you've replied to it or forwarded it? To automatically close down an e-mail after you're done with it, select Tools, Options, and click E-mail Options. Check the box next to Close Original Message On Reply Or Forward. Then, click OK.

 

COLORING MESSAGES SENT BY SOMEONE

If you're like me, you get a lot of nonessential, non-work-related e-mail during the course of one day. And if you've ever not seen an important message from your boss because it got lost in between messages bearing Subject lines like "Check out this football Web site" or "You'll never believe who I ran into," you'll be glad to know you can set Outlook to display message from your boss (or anyone else) in a different color.

First, select a message from the person whose messages you want to appear in your Inbox in a different color by clicking on it. Click the Organize button, then select Using Colors. Select the color you want--maybe Fuchsia for your boss, so you won't miss those messages--and click Apply Color.

 

STOP DOWNLOADING LARGE MESSAGES

If you've got a fast connection at the office, it's easy to forget how long a large file can take to download from a dial-up connection. But reality sure crashes down the first time you encounter a huge file--you wait and wait, while the status says "Downloading Message 3 of 55" 10 minutes into downloading. But you can set Outlook not to download those huge messages from a slow connection.

Click Tools, Options, then click the Mail Delivery tab. Select the Don't Download Messages Larger Than check box, and then enter a number in the box. Click OK.

Don't worry, those messages will still be waiting on the server the next time you download from a faster connection.

 

MARKING A MESSAGE PERSONAL

It's generally not a good idea to send your personal information via e-mail, but we do it all the time. Who knows--your buddy's officemate might be reading over his shoulder, and who wants the world to know his/her private business? So make sure your friend knows that the message is personal, and maybe he'll have the decency to delete it or move it to a nice, out-of-the-way folder after reading (discreetly, of course).

First, compose your new message. Select View, Options. Set Sensitivity to Personal, Private, or Confidential. Then, click Send.

Good luck!

 

PREVIEW PANE

Note: This tip applies only to full versions of Microsoft Outlook; it does not apply to Outlook Express.

If you need to skim through a whole bunch of messages quickly, the Preview Pane can help. When you choose View, Preview Pane, the Inbox screen divides into two sections. The top section shows your list of messages; the bottom shows the contents of the message you've selected in the top section. To move from one message to the next, just press the down-arrow key. You can also view any message in your Inbox by clicking the title of the message.

 

PREVIEW PANE VERSUS AUTOPREVIEW

The difference between looking at messages in the Preview Pane and looking at them in AutoPreview mode (where the first few lines appear below the subject in your Inbox) is that you can see graphics and formatting in the Preview Pane, but you can only see the text of a message in the AutoPreview mode. If your friends send you messages using Outlook Stationery, for example, you can appreciate their graphic genius by viewing their messages in the Preview Pane.

 

PREVIEW THE FIRST THREE LINES OF MESSAGES

When you fire up Outlook and get ready to read your messages, do you scan through your Inbox first to try to determine which are the important ones? If so, Outlook has a feature you'll like. Once you turn on AutoPreview, the first three lines of every message in your Inbox will be displayed underneath the header information.

To turn on AutoPreview, first click Inbox in the Folder List. Click View, AutoPreview. Now you can see what's contained in an email message without having to open it.

 

SET MESSAGE PRIORITY

Don't let your important messages get lost in a sea of babble. Distinguish your high-priority messages by marking them as such. To designate an email message as high priority, click Options once you've created your new message. Under Importance, choose High. Click Close.

You can follow the same procedure to mark messages as normal or low priority.

 

SORTING WITH YOUR MOUSE

A reader asks, "I don't know what or how I did this, but suddenly my email is sorted alphabetically by the sender. How do I get it back to being sorted by the date it was received?"

You're just a mouse click away from your goal. Simply click the heading of the Received column so that it contains a down-pointing arrow. Your email should now be sorted by the date it was received.

 

DISPLAY OR HIDE THE PREVIEW PANE

In our previous tip, you learned how to sneak a peek at the first three lines of a message by turning on AutoPreview (View, AutoPreview). If you turn on the Preview Pane, you can look at the entire contents of an email message without having to open it.

Click View, Preview Pane. Your Inbox window will now be divided into two panes. When you click on a message in the Inbox, you'll see its contents in the Preview Pane below.

 

SET OPTIONS FOR READING MESSAGES WITH THE PREVIEW PANE

In our previous tip, you learned how to activate the Preview Pane (View, Preview Pane), which allows you to see the contents of a message without actually having to open it. But unless you specify otherwise, the messages you've peeked at will still be displayed as unread message. The way we see it, a peeked-at message is as good as read.

To tell Outlook to treat a message as read if you've displayed it in the Preview Pane, click Tools, Options and click the Other tab. Click Preview Pane, and select the Mark Messages As Read In Preview Window option. Then, click OK twice.

 

USE THE SPACEBAR TO SCROLL DOWN IN THE PREVIEW PANE

If you're using the Preview Pane to look at your messages, you can read all the messages in your Inbox without ever touching your mouse--handy if you eat lunch at your desk and don't want to put your sandwich down to scroll through your messages.

To scroll down through the message a page at a time, simply press the Spacebar (it's the same as pressing the Page Down key). If you've reached the end of a message, pressing the Spacebar will jump you to the next message in your Inbox.

 

SHIFT-SPACEBAR TO SCROLL BACKWARD IN THE PREVIEW PANE

In our previous tip, you learned that pressing the Spacebar scrolls down through a message a page at a time in the Preview Pane, just as if you'd pressed the Page Down key.

You can also scroll up in the Preview Pane by pressing Shift-Spacebar. This will jump you to the top of the current or previous message.

Note: If this doesn't work for you, click Tools, Options and click the Other tab. Click Preview Pane and select the Single Key Reading Using Space Bar option.

 

HAVE REPLIES TO YOUR MESSAGE SENT TO ANOTHER PERSON

If you're lucky enough to have a personal assistant (or a strong enough imagination that you think you have one), take advantage of it! Say you're sending out invitations to a party via e-mail. Have the RSVPs sent to another address, whether it's your assistant's or an e-mail alias set up specifically to track your party guests.

Click New Message and compose your invitation. Click Options, and check the box next to Have Replies Sent To. Type the e-mail address, or click Select Names and select the name and e-mail address from your Address Book. Finally, click Close.

 

HAVE REPLIES SENT TO DIFFERENT EMAIL ADDRESS

Did you know that you can specify a different email address to which others can send replies? Let's say you send out invitations to a meeting but want your guests to RSVP to your assistant.

Compose a new message. Click the Options icon on the Standard toolbar (or select View, Options). Select the Have Replies Sent To option. Type the email address you want replies sent to, or click the Select Names button and choose the email address from there.

 

SORTING BY SENDER

When the boss calls and asks, "Did you get the e-mail message about bonuses that I sent you three weeks ago?" you probably don't want to spend a great deal of time sorting through everybody else's messages from the past three weeks. The quickest way to answer the boss's question promptly is to switch to By Sender view. To use the By Sender view:

  1. Choose View, Current View. The list of current views appears.
  2. Choose By Sender view. Your messages appear in the By Sender view.

 

MAKING AUTOMATIC JOURNAL ENTRIES IN OUTLOOK

You can set up Outlook to make automatic Journal entries for new documents, e-mail messages, and AutoDialed phone calls. This automatic entry means that you don't need to create additional Journal entries for those events.

Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Tools, Options. The Options dialog box opens.
  2. Click the Journal Options button to open the Journal Options dialog box.
  3. Click to place a check in the check box for the items and files you want to record automatically and for the contacts about whom you want information recorded.
  4. Click OK.

 

CONVERTING A CONTACT TO A JOURNAL RENTRY IN OUTLOOK

The most useful thing to drag to the Journal icon is a Contact listing, which automatically opens a Journal entry in the name of that contact. You can make a note of a phone call or letter you've received from that person.

To open a Journal entry:

  1. Click the Contacts icon.
  2. Drag a name from your address list to the Journal icon in the Outlook bar on the left.
  3. From the Entry type menu, choose the type of event that you're recording, such as phone call, letter, or fax.
  4. Click Save and Close.

 

JOURNALING: OUTLOOK'S STAR LOG

Stardate 2001: On Star Trek, the captain of the starship Enterprise faithfully makes daily entries in the star log. Now it's your turn. Just like Captain Kirk, you can record your daily interactions with strange beings in bizarre environments under stressful circumstances, even if the strange beings are all in your own office. The Outlook Journal is your star log.

The Journal automatically records any document you create, edit, or print in any Office 2000 application. The Journal also automatically tracks e-mail messages, meeting requests and responses, and task request and responses. You can set Outlook to make journal entries for nearly everything you do, or you can shut off the Journal entirely and make no entries to it at all. Just go to Tools, Options, Journal Options to set your preferences.

 

CREATE OUTLOOK LABELS QUICKLY

Anyone who's ever tried to create a mail merge between Outlook and Word knows it takes a lot of steps to do (too many for this eTip space!). If you print labels frequently, you can reduce your work by saving a blank label document and using it repeatedly. After you finish creating your labels, press Alt+Tab a few times until you see a document that looks like this:

<<Full_Name>><<Mailing_Address>>

and so on. Save that document and name it something you'll remember, such as Blank Labels. The next time you decide to create labels, click the Existing document check box in the Mail Merge Contacts dialog box. Then click Browse and click Blank Labels wherever you saved it. That eliminates approximately steps 7 through 12 of the Mail Merge process and lets you get on to more exciting things, such as stuffing envelopes.

 

CHECKING RECIPIENT NAMES BEFORE SENDING A MESSAGE

A reader asks, "What are the red and green lines that sometimes appear in the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes?"

When you type a name in the To, Cc, or Bcc box while creating a new e-mail message, Outlook automatically checks the name against your Address Book. This is handy, because you can type "Joe" and it will look for a "Joe" in your Address Book. If it finds an exact match, the name is underlined. If it finds multiple names that match what you type, a red, wavy line appears under the name. Right-click the name to see the other names found, and choose the correct one.

If multiple names are found that match what you type and you have used the address before, the name you chose previously appears with a green, dashed underline to remind you that there are other choices. Right-click the name to see the other names found.

Good luck!

 

SAVE SENT MESSAGES TO A DIFFERENT FOLDER

Outlook automatically saves the messages you send to the Sent Items folder, but there's no reason you shouldn't save them anywhere you want. Say you want to keep all correspondence to a particular client in one folder. No problem.

Compose the message as usual. Click the Options button on the Standard toolbar. Under Delivery Options, next to Save Sent Message To, click the Browse button. Select the folder where you want to save the missive, and click OK. Close the Message Options dialog box by clicking Close. Then send your message.

 

SAVE A DRAFT OF UNSENT MESSAGES

When you've got an important e-mail to create--say, a letter of resignation or a declaration of true love--you want to get it just right. So feel free to write a little, then come back later and edit it (maybe take out the part comparing your boss to a prehistoric warthog). But what to do with it in the meantime? Save it as a draft, of course.

By default, Outlook saves your unfinished messages in the Drafts folder every three minutes. But you can also save a message manually by clicking File, Save. Just make sure those stock options really come through before telling your boss anything over the edge...

 

FIND MESSAGES SENT TO AN E-MAIL ADDRESS

Have you ever had someone say, "Oh, I never got that e-mail" when you know for a fact that you sent it sometime a few weeks ago? When you go hunting for it, there's no need to scroll down until you find it. Just search for it in the Sent Items folder!

Click Tools, Advanced Find. Click Messages in the Look For box. Click Browse, select the check box next to the Sent Items folder, then click OK. Click the Sent To box, select the appropriate person from your contact list, and click Sent To. Click OK. Now, click Find Now.

Outlook will search, and you'll get a list of e-mails you've sent to that person.

 

TURNING AUTOMATIC NAME CHECKING ON OR OFF

In our previous tip, you learned that Outlook automatically checks names in the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes against your Address Book and will let you know if there are multiple matches. If you'd rather not have this feature activated, you can turn it off.

Click Tools, Options. On the Preferences tab, click E-Mail Options, then click Advanced E-Mail Options. Then, clear the Automatic Name Checking check box.

 

NEWSGROUP CAUTION

Newsgroups contain a wide range of information. Not all of the information posted in newsgroups is necessarily accurate. (This applies to the Web as a whole, by the way.) Although most people who post messages in newsgroups are probably trying to provide useful information, you're likely to encounter people who get their kicks by intentionally misleading people whenever possible. You must be the ultimate judge of the accuracy of the information that you receive from newsgroups. If possible, try to verify important information using a different source before relying on possibly suspect advice from someone in a newsgroup.

 

NEWSGROUP MESSAGES

Although newsgroup messages bear some resemblance to the e-mail messages that appear in your Outlook Inbox, there are a number of important differences between the two types of messages. Newsgroup messages aren't generally sent to your e-mail address. Rather, those messages are posted to a message board so that anyone can read the messages and any replies. Also, the sheer volume of newsgroup messages means that you have to deal with those messages differently than you deal with your e-mail messages by picking and choosing which newsgroups to download and which messages to read.

 

THE SCOOP ON NEWSGROUPS

Note: This tip applies only to full versions of Microsoft Outlook. It does not apply to Outlook Express.

One of the most important differences between Outlook 2000 and Outlook Express is that Outlook Express can read Internet newsgroups and Outlook 2000 can't. Internet newsgroups are collections of messages that anyone can read. To participate in a newsgroup, you need a special type of program called a newsreader -- Outlook Express is just the tool for the job.

If you have Outlook 2000, then you already have Outlook Express, too. Just choose View, Go To, News to get started.

One exception to this tip is that many corporations don't want their employees browsing Internet newsgroups at the office. Out of the 50,000-odd newsgroups on the Internet, relatively few are business-related. For that reason, your system administrators may have removed Outlook Express from your computer at the office

 

NOTE COLORS

You can use five different colors for your Outlook Notes. Whether you choose colors for simple aesthetic reasons or to specify different types of notes is up to you. Outlook treats all Notes equally regardless of the color. To choose a color for a Note, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Note.
  2. Click the Note icon in the upper-left corner of the Note.
  3. Select Color and choose the color for the Note.

 

KEEPING A NOTE OPEN IN OUTLOOK 2000

If you like to keep random notes throughout the day, open a note and leave it open. When a note is open, an icon appears in the Windows 2000 taskbar at the bottom of the screen. To edit today's note, click the note's icon at the bottom of the screen; the note pops up again. When you see a note, you can click in it and edit what you see. Click any part of any other application screen that you can see and you return to that application. If you want to close the note, right-click the note's icon on the taskbar and choose Close.

 

CHANGING THE SIZE OF A NOTE

When viewing a note, you can change the size of the note. This is useful when the note is too small to display all the text. Position the mouse over the bottom right corner of the note. The arrow changes to a double-headed arrow. Drag the corner of the note until the note is the size you want. You can also use this technique with message windows that are not maximized.

 

CUSTOMIZING NOTES IN OUTLOOK

Notes in Outlook are handy places to jot down ideas with the simple keyboard command Ctrl+Shift+N. By default, they're rather boring yellow sticky notes. If you want to customize the way your notes look, then choose Tools, Options so that an Options dialog box appears. Click on the Preferences tab and then click Note Options to choose a fresh default color, font, and size for all your notes.

 

MAKING NOTES WHILE USING ANOTHER PROGRAM

If you want to jot down notes in a single note window while using another program, such as Word 200 or Excel 2000, load Outlook 200 and press Ctrl+Shift+N to create a note. Now switch back to your other program. When you need to jot something in the note window, click on the note window button on the Windows taskbar, and the note window pops up. Then click on the other program button on the Windows taskbar to switch back to your other program.

 

NOTE-WORTHY NOTES

Nothing is easier to use than those yellow sticky notes, which is probably why you see them everywhere. Outlook notes are just as easy to use -- but they won't accidentally get stuck to something else, lose their stickiness, or get lost.

If you can click a mouse, you can create a new note:

  1. If you're not already in the Notes module, click the Notes icon on the Outlook bar.
  2. Click the New icon on the toolbar (or press Ctrl+N). A blank note appears.
  3. Enter what you want to say in your note.
  4. Press Esc to close and save the note.

Your new note takes its place in the collection of notes in the Notes module. Creating a note doesn't involve a lot of fuss; just open, type, and close.

To create a note really quickly, you don't even have to switch to the Notes module. Just press Ctrl+Shift+N from any other part of Outlook.

 

PRINT THE CONTENTS OF A SINGLE NOTE

Outlook 2000 stick-on notes are meant to be read on the screen, but now and then you may want to print the contents. Remember that even though you can change the colors of your notes, the colors don't print on a black-and-white printer.

  1. Click the title of the note you want to print.

    The title of your note is highlighted to show that it was selected.

  2. Click the Print button on the toolbar (or press Ctrl+P) to open the Print dialog box.
  3. Choose Memo Style in the Print Style box.
  4. Click OK.

Unfortunately, when you print notes, they don't look like the cute little yellow squares you see on the screen; each one looks like an office memorandum.

 

RESIZE A NOTE IN OUTLOOK 2000

A note in Outlook (one of those "sticky" yellow squares) can appear as a teensy little squib, or it can cover your screen. The size of the text in the note is the same no matter how large you make the note. When the note is too small, however, much of your text is invisible, so you have to make the note larger:

  1. Click the Notes icon on the Outlook bar, if you're not already in the Notes module.
  2. Double-click the title of the note whose size you want to change.
  3. Move your mouse pointer to the bottom-left corner of the note until the pointer changes into a two-headed diagonal arrow.
  4. Drag your mouse until the note is the size you want it.

In most Windows programs, after you enter more text than will fit in a text box, the scroll bar appears on the right side of the screen. Because notes don't have scroll bars, however, if a note has more text than you can see on the screen, you have to click your mouse on the text and press the arrow keys to scroll up and down through the text. Weird, huh?

 

ACCESSING THE OUTBOX

To view or edit a message that's still stored in your Outbox, follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + O to see the list of messages in your Outbox.
  2. Double-click in the Outbox the title of the message you want to view or edit to open the message for editing.
  3. Read the message and make any changes you want.
  4. Click the Send button (or press Alt + S) to close the Message form and return to a view of your Outbox.

 

OUTBOX APPEARANCE

The titles of messages in the Outbox that are ready to be sent appear in italicized text. If you see a message in the Outbox whose title is not italicized, that message isn't sent until you open the message (by double-clicking it) and then click the Send button (or press Alt+S). Messages in the Outbox stay there until you choose Tools, Send and Receive (or press F5) if you use Outlook through a dialup connection.

 

EMPTY THE OUTBOX

Until you connect to the Internet, Outlook stores any e-mail messages that you have not yet sent in the Outbox folder. Messages in the Outbox will remain there until you decide to send them on their way. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Outbox icon (located in the Folder List below the Inbox). Outlook displays a list of e-mail messages that are waiting to be sent.
  2. Click the e-mail messages you want to send. To choose more than one e-mail message, hold down the Ctrl key and click each message you want to send. To select a continuous range of messages, click the first message you want to send, hold down the Shift key, and then click the last message you want to send.
  3. Click the Send/Receive button.

 

SPECIFY THE FOLDER TO OPEN WHEN YOU START OUTLOOK

When you fire up Outlook in the morning (or whenever), is your Calendar the first thing you look at? Why not set it up so that it opens automatically when you start Outlook? It will save you a few clicks.

Click Tools, Options. Select the Other tab, and click Advanced Options. Select the folder you want to appear upon startup in the Startup In This Folder Box--in this case, it's Calendar. Click OK twice.

 

ADD A NEW GROUP TO THE OUTLOOK BAR

The shortcuts on the Outlook Bar are handily organized into Outlook Shortcuts, My Shortcuts, and Other Shortcuts. Did you know you can also create your own group? Say you want to keep everything related to marketing in one group on your Outlook Bar--Web sites, marketing reports, and so forth. Just create a new group.

Right-click anywhere on the background of the Outlook Bar and select Add New Group from the context menu. Type a name for your new group, and then press Enter.

 

ADDING AN ICON TO THE OUTLOOK BAR

After you get used to using Outlook, you may want to create more icons on the Outlook bar. Because each icon on the Outlook bar is a shortcut to a folder or resource on your computer, you can save some time by adding a few well-chosen icons.

  1. Choose View, Folder List.
  2. Right-click a folder for which you want to add an icon to the Outlook bar.
  3. A shortcut menu appears.
  4. Choose Add to the Outlook Bar from the shortcut menu.

 

OUTLOOK BAR GROUPS--PART 1 OF 3: RENAMING A GROUP

When you install Outlook 2000, the Outlook Bar contains three groups: Outlook Shortcuts, My Shortcuts, and Other Shortcuts. But you aren't stuck with those names. Why not flex your creative muscles and rename them something more personal?

Simply right-click the group you want to rename, and select Rename Group from the context menu. Type a new name, then press Enter.

 

OUTLOOK BAR GROUPS--PART 3 OF 3: ADDING A GROUP

As you know, when you install Outlook 2000, the Outlook Bar has three groups: Outlook Shortcuts, My Shortcuts, and Other Shortcuts. But there's no rule that says you're limited to three. You may want to add more groups--perhaps to keep your business and personal shortcuts separate.

To add a new group to the Outlook Bar, right-click the background and select Add New Group from the context menu. Type a name for the group--perhaps Personal--and press Enter.

Now your new group is ready for you to add shortcuts to it!

 

GOING MOUSELESS TO THE OUTLOOK BAR

The Outlook Bar, a panel on the left side of the Outlook screen, contains shortcuts to places you may need to go frequently in Outlook, such as the Inbox and the My Documents folder. If the Outlook bar is not visible, it's probably hidden. Choose View, Outlook Bar (or Alt, V, O) to reveal it. One rather unusual feature of the Outlook Bar is that it requires a mouse or some sort of pointer to function. There are no shortcut keys to the shortcut folders in the Outlook Bar.

However, lacking any sort of mousy pointer device, you can still get to that list of folders that resides in the Outlook Bar with the Go To command. Follow these steps to access the shortcuts in the Outlook Bar from the keyboard:

  1. Press Ctrl+Y.

    The Go To Folder dialog box appears. It shows a tree of folders much like your Folder List. (You can navigate within the tree with the up- and down-arrow keys, but you wanted a shortcut, right?)

  2. Press the Tab key until you highlight the Folder Name drop-down list.

    The Folder Name drop-down list contains all the folders currently on the Outlook Bar (and possibly a few more if you've added folders within folders).

  3. Press the up-arrow key or down-arrow key to find the folder you want.
  4. Press Enter to open the selected folder.

 

REORDERING THE OUTLOOK BAR GROUPS

By default, Outlook arranges the shortcuts on the Outlook bar into three groups: Outlook, My Shortcuts, and the highly informative Other Shortcuts. To view the shortcuts of a different group, just click the corresponding button. As you would expect, though, you can reorganize the filing system, creating, renaming, or deleting groups as need or whimsy dictates. This trick is especially helpful if you're also in the habit of adding new icons to the Outlook bar.

To add a new group, right-click the Outlook bar and choose Add New Group. Outlook adds a button for the group below the existing ones. After naming the new group, click its button to display the empty group (Outlook slides all the other group buttons to the top or bottom of the Outlook bar.) You can now add Outlook bar shortcuts to the new group.

 

SHOW OR HIDE THE OUTLOOK BAR

The Outlook Bar--the gray column on the left side of your Outlook window--is a handy way to get to your shortcuts. The Outlook Bar shortcuts can be almost anything--folders, Web sites, even documents. Outlook usually comes with three groups of shortcuts--Outlook Shortcuts, My Shortcuts, and Other Shortcuts. Click around and see what's there.

If you don't see the Outlook Bar, click View, Outlook Bar. On the other hand, if you don't use it, save yourself some screen real estate and get rid of it by clicking View and clearing the check box next to Outlook Bar.

 

RENAME AN ICON ON THE OUTLOOK BAR

Variety is the spice of life, right? So why should you be stuck with an Outlook Bar that has the same things everyone else has? What if you want to refer to your Calendar as "My Fantastic Life"? We have good news--you can. Here's how to give any icon on the Outlook Bar a new moniker:

Right-click the Calendar icon (or whichever icon you're renaming). Choose Rename Shortcut; the icon's name should now be highlighted, which means you can change it. Type in whatever you'd like to call your calendar, whether it's "My Fantastic Life" or "The Most Exciting Job in the World." Press Enter, and you're all set!

 

CREATE A SHORTCUT ON THE OUTLOOK BAR--PART 1 OF 2

The Outlook Bar isn't just for shortcuts to Outlook features like the Inbox and Calendar. You can also create a shortcut to any file folder on your hard drive. Say you keep all your marketing reports in a folder called "Marketing." If you want easy access to those documents when you're sending a status report to your boss, why not put a shortcut to that folder on the Outlook Bar?

On the Outlook Bar, click the group to which you want to add the shortcut. Right-click anywhere in the gray background of the group and select Outlook Bar Shortcut from the context menu. Click File System in the Look In box. Navigate to your Marketing folder and select it. Click OK.

Now that folder shows up in the Outlook Bar. When you click on it, its contents are displayed in the Folder List window.

CREATE A SHORTCUT ON THE OUTLOOK BAR--PART 2 OF 2

In our previous tip, you learned how to add a shortcut for a file folder to your Outlook Bar. You can also add a shortcut to a Web page, so you won't have to switch between Outlook and your browser.

Go to the Web page you want to create a shortcut to. (You must have the Web Toolbar displayed to do this. If you don't see it, click View, Toolbars, Web.) Click File, New, then select Outlook Bar Shortcut To Web Page. That's all there is to it!

 

USING THE OFFICE 2000 SHORTCUT BAR

If you're accustomed to Office 97, you have probably noticed that the Office Shortcut Bar doesn't appear on the screen by default in Office 2000. If you always liked the Shortcut Bar and want to use it, click Start/Programs/Microsoft Office Tools and click the Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar option. At this point the Shortcut Bar dialog box appears on screen asking if the Office Shortcut Bar should be started whenever Windows starts. If you want this to happen, click Yes; otherwise click No.

 

ADD A WORD TO THE DICTIONARY

In our previous tip, you learned how to check your spelling in Outlook. But what if your email messages contain words that Outlook thinks are misspelled? Continually clicking Ignore so it will pass over the word can get annoying, because the next time Outlook finds that word, guess what? It will still think that word is misspelled. This is particularly irksome when it's your own last name that Outlook insists is spelled wrong.

The solution? Add the word to Outlook's dictionary. When the Spelling dialog box pops up, click Add. Now the word is part of Outlook's dictionary.

 

AUTOMATICALLY START OUTLOOK WHEN YOU TURN ON YOUR COMPUTER

If the first thing you do after firing up your computer is starting Outlook 2000, why not save yourself a step and have it start automatically? Just put it in your StartUp folder.

Click Start, Settings, Taskbar (if you're using Windows 98, click Taskbar And Start Menu). Select the Start Menu Programs tab and click Add. Click Browse. In the Look In box, click the drive on which Outlook 2000 is installed. This will usually be C, but not always. Find the folder that contains Outlook. Double-click Outlook, then click Next. In the folder list, click StartUp, then click Next. Type a name for the shortcut and click Finish.

From now on, Outlook will start automatically when you turn on your computer.

 

PIMs OF THE PAST

Microsoft Office 95 provides a pair of programs for personal information management (PIMs): Schedule+ and Exchange. Schedule+ is designed to store names, addresses, tasks, and calendar items while Exchange can send and receive e-mail. Although both programs are fairly efficient at their appointed jobs, they weren't designed to be easy to use. They acknowledge each other and even exchange some information if you push them into it. But the two programs were something of an afterthought for Microsoft; the company never really took PIMs seriously until Outlook.

Other manufacturers of PIMs talk about making everything work with your word processor, but you still have to start the PIM and the word processor separately and then beat them both over the head to get them to talk to each other politely. Even then, the things that you enter into the PIM aren't always easy to use when you're doing something simple, like writing a letter.

With Outlook, you can access any of Microsoft's other Office programs with the click of a mouse, making information management much more manageable.

 

QUICKLY COMBINE MULTIPLE PRESENTATIONS INTO ONE`

Occasionally, you may need to combine several people's work into a single presentation, or maybe just combine several of your own presentations to create another new one. You have several ways of doing this, but here's one of the fastest:

Begin by choosing Start, Run. In the Open dialog box, type

POWERPNT -i "file 1.ppt" "file 2.ppt" ... "file XX.ppt"

Note: Substitute the complete drive:\path\filename for your own files in place of "file 1.ppt", etc. If your folders and filenames include no spaces, you don't need to type the quotation marks.

Finally, click OK to have PowerPoint start up, create a new blank presentation, and insert the contents of each of the presentations you called for above. Notice we said "blank presentation." Don't let that startle you. All you have to do to fix that is choose Format, Apply Design Template, and then pick the template you want to apply to the new presentation.

 

PRINT ATTACHMENTS WITH ITEMS

When you select an e-mail and press Print, only the actual e-mail is printed. But what if you want to print the attachment that's been sent with the e-mail? You don't have to save the attachment and then open it to print it. You just have to tell Outlook what to do.

Select the e-mail that contains the attachments you want to print. Click File, Print. In the Print Style box, choose Memo Style. Select the Print Attached Files option, then click OK.

 

PRINT A CONTACT ADDRESS ON AN ENVELOPE OR LABEL

If you want to print someone's address on an envelope or label, there's no need to retype it--just print straight from Outlook 2000!

Begin by clicking Contacts. Switch over to a blank Word document and select Tools, Envelopes And Labels. Choose either the Envelopes or Labels tab. Click the Address Book icon to add an address. In the Show Names From The box, choose the name of the folder that contains the person you want on the envelope or label (this folder will usually be Contacts). Choose the person, then double-click. Then, just click Print.

 

THE PRINT DIALOG BOX

When you click the Print button on the toolbar or press Ctrl+P, Outlook prepares to print a copy of whatever is on-screen by opening the Print dialog box. The Print dialog box changes the way it looks depending on which Outlook module you're using, which view you've chosen, and which items are in the view you've selected (if any).

 

PRINT TO A FILE

Have you been wondering what to do with all those e-mail love letters from your ex? Well, you could always just press Delete, but that seems so permanent. If you'd really like to save them, why not just print them to a file?

Select the messages you want to print to a file by holding down Ctrl and clicking on them. Select File, Print. Select the Print To File option, then click OK.

 

CONTROL OF PRINTING

You can gain more control over the printing process by choosing File, Print from the menu instead of using the Print button on the toolbar. You can also use the Ctrl + P keyboard shortcut instead.

 

PRINTING A LIST OF NOTES

Printing lists of the notes you've created is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) process. Just choose the view in which you want to print your notes and then start printing. Follow these steps:

  1. Click the Print button on the toolbar (or press Ctrl+P. The Print dialog box opens.
  2. Choose Table Style in the Print Style box.
  3. Click OK. Your list of notes begins printing.

If you don't want to print all your notes, select the notes you want to print by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking the name of each note you want to print. When you open the Print dialog box, choose Only Selected Rows.

 

STOP SEEING RED

When a task becomes overdue, Outlook changes the color of the task from the normal black to an alarming red to get your attention. Each task you've finished becomes gray with a line through it. If you prefer another way to display overdue and completed tasks, you can change it.

To change the color of overdue and completed tasks, follow these steps:

1. Choose Tools, Options to open the Options dialog box.

2. Click the Task Options button.

3. Click the scroll-down button at the right end of the Overdue Tasks box to see your choice of colors.

4. Choose a color for overdue tasks by clicking the color you want to use.

5. Click the scroll-down button at the right end of the Completed Tasks box to see your choice of colors.

6. Choose a color for completed tasks.

7. Click OK.

The Options dialog box disappears, and your tasks appear in Living Blue or Marvelous Magenta (or whatever you choose).

 

KEEPING THOSE REMINDERS COMING

If you're using reminders for all your important appointments, you must have Outlook running so that the reminder pops up at the appropriate time. You can keep Outlook running in the background if you start up a second program such as Microsoft Word. When the reminder time arrives, you either see a dialog box or a message from the Office Assistant.

 

CREATING A RULE BASED ON A MESSAGE

In our previous two tips, you've learned how to create new e-mail rules from scratch, and by copying an existing rule. You can also create a rule based on an existing e-mail message. Any of that message's defining characteristics-such as the sender, the list it was sent to, the subject, or the importance--can be used to help define the rule.

Open the message on which you want to base a rule. Click Actions, Create Rule. Then, just follow the instructions in the Rules Wizard to create the new rule.

 

CHANGE THE ORDER IN WHICH RULES ARE APPLIED TO MESSAGES

It's your Inbox, and you should be able to arrange it any way you choose, right? So why not decide which mail rules will run first? Happily, it's easy to change the order in which rules are applied.

From the Inbox, click Tools, Rules Wizard. In the Apply Rules In The Following Order box, click the rule you want to move. Click Move Up to move it up in the list, or Move Down to send it lower. Then, click OK.

 

CREATING A NEW RULE WITH THE RULES WIZARD

In our previous tip, you learned how to create a simple rule from the Organize feature that will move messages from a particular person into a specific folder. If you want to get a little more complicated with your rules--say, if you want to move messages from your boss about a specific project to a special folder--you'll need to use the Rules Wizard.

Begin by clicking Tools, Rules Wizard. Next, click New. The Rules Wizard will walk you through creating your rule. The first screen asks which type of rule you want. Choose Check Messages When They Arrive, and click Next. On the next screen, scroll down and select the option From People Or Distribution List. In the Rule Description box, click on the highlighted text, and choose which people Outlook should look for (in this case, your boss). Now, select With Specific Words In The Subject Or Body, and again, click on the highlighted text in the Rule Description box. Type in the name of the project--for example, Quarterly Report. Click Next. The next dialog box asks what you want to do with the messages. Click Move To The Specified Folder, and choose the folder by clicking on the highlighted text in the Rule Description box. Click Next. Finally, you'll need to name your new rule. Choose a name, then click Finish.

Congratulations! Now whenever Outlook encounters a new message from your boss containing the words Quarterly Report, it will automatically move the message to the folder you specified. Neat, huh?

 

COPYING A RULE

In our previous tip, you learned how to create a new rule using the Rules Wizard. If you need to create another rule that's similar to an existing rule, why reinvent the wheel? Just copy the old rule and make a few modifications.

Select Tools, Rules Wizard. In the Apply Rules In The Following Order list, click the rule you want to copy. Next, click Copy. Modify as needed in the Rule Description box by clicking on the highlighted text. Then, click OK. It just keeps getting better.

 

DELETE OLD ITEMS AUTOMATICALLY

In the last few tips, you've learned how to store old messages by archiving them automatically. But what if you just want to get rid of them? If you know you'll never need your old messages, there's no point in them hogging space somewhere else on your hard drive. Just have Outlook delete them automatically.

Right-click the folder that contains the old items, then select Properties. Click the AutoArchive tab, check the box next to Clean Out Items Older Than, and enter a number in months--this is how often archiving will run. Click Permanently Delete Old Items. Click Apply, then click OK.

 

DELETE A RULE

Once you've been using Outlook 2000 for a while, you'll probably have a bunch of rules hanging around that you don't need. Why not get rid of them?

From the Inbox, click Tools, Rules Wizard. In the Apply Rules In The Following Order box, click the rule you want to delete, click Delete, and then click OK.

 

MODIFY A RULE

In the last two tips, you've learned how to delete rules, and how to turn them on and off at will. Today, you'll learn how to modify an existing rule, so you don't have to create one from scratch.

Let's say you have a rule that forwards to your assistant e-mails received while you're at lunch every day from noon to one. Now let's say you want to create a rule that forwards messages received on the weekends to your home e-mail address. (We know, we shouldn't encourage workaholism, but oh well). Rather than creating a new rule, simply change the old one.

From the Inbox, click Tools, Rules Wizard. In the Apply Rules In The Following Order box, click the rule you want to change. Modify it to send messages to your home e-mail address (and any other changes you wish), then click OK.

 

SAVE SEARCH CRITERIA

If you've been using e-mail for more than, say, a few months, you've probably got quite a backlog of old messages just sitting there in your inbox and folders. And if you're looking for a particular e-mail, searching is a much more efficient method than just weeding through them.

If you find yourself running the same searches regularly, why not save the search so you can do it quicker next time? Let's say you periodically comb through your messages looking for all your e-mail messages about golf.

The next time you conduct that search (you must use Advanced Search), select File, Save Search. Find the folder where you want to save the search in the Save In box, and double-click it. Type a name for the search in the File Name box. Click OK.

 

OPEN A SAVED SEARCH

In the previous tip, you learned how to save a search, so that the next time you hunt for e-mail that contains the word "golf," you don't have to create the search all over again. Of course, you still have to open your saved search. Here's how.

Click Tools, Advanced Find. Select File, Open Search. In the Look In box, find the folder that contains your golf search, and double-click it. If the search doesn't begin when you open it, click Find Now to begin searching.

 

USNING THE SENT ITEMS FOLDER

Outlook stores in the Sent Items folder a copy of every message you send unless you tell it to do otherwise.

You can review and reread the messages you've sent by looking in the Sent Items folder. To get there, click the My Shortcuts divider on the Outlook bar and then click the Sent Items icon. The same collection of views is available in the Sent Items folder as is available in the Inbox or any other mail folder.

 

SENDING SHORTCUT

To send an e-mail message without reaching for your mouse, use the Alt+S key combination. Keyboard shortcuts can save you time when you want to send messages quickly, and they can help reduce wear and tear on that mouse hand.

 

MY SHORTCUTS IN OUTLOOK

In Outlook Express, the mail folders are always visible when you have the Outlook Bar as part of your layout. But in Outlook 98 and later versions, if you don't see the icon for the shortcut you want in the Outlook bar on the left side of your screen, try clicking My Shortcuts at the bottom of the bar to display the mail folders:

  • The Drafts folder stores messages you have not completed.
  • The Outbox folder stores messages that have not yet been sent.
  • The Sent Items folder stores copies of messages that you have actually sent.

You can click any mail folder to display the messages in that folder and do things like copy, delete, or forward those messages. When you're ready to view the regular Outlook bar again, click Outlook Shortcuts at the top of the bar.

 

ATTACHING A SIGNATURE

You wouldn't send a letter without signing it, would you? Why should e-mail be any different? If you haven't already, create your own unique signature. Most signatures contain your pertinent contact information--name, company, phone number, Web site, and so forth, but you can include whatever you want. Outlook will automatically attach it to every outgoing message you send.

Click Tools, Options, and select the Mail Format tab. Click the Signature Picker button, then click New. Enter a name for your signature (maybe Work or Personal). Click Start With A Blank Signature. Type in the text you want for your signature (name, company, phone number, or maybe a witty quote to show off your style). Click Finish, then click OK. Go ahead--get crazy with that thing!

 

CREATING A MESSAGE SIGNATURE

You may want to add something called a signature to the end of every Outlook 2000 message you send. Many people include their name, the name of their business, their motto, a little sales slogan, or some squib of personal information.

You can tell Outlook 2000 to automatically add a signature to all your outgoing messages, but first you must create a signature file:

  1. Choose Tools—>Options. The Options dialog box appears.
  2. Click the Mail Format tab. The Mail Format dialog box appears.
  3. Click the Signature Picker button. The Signature Picker dialog box appears.
  4. Click the New button. The Create New Signature dialog box appears.
  5. Type a name for your new signature. The name you type appears in the Signature box. You can name a signature anything you want.
  6. Click the Next button. The Edit Signature dialog box appears.
  7. Type the text of the signature you want to create. The text you type appears in the Signature text box. You can put anything you want in a signature, but try to be brief. You don't want your signature to be longer than the message to which it's attached.
  8. Click the Finish button. The Signature Picker dialog box appears.
  9. Click OK. The Mail Format dialog box appears.
  10. Click OK. The Options dialog box appears.
  11. Click OK. Your new signature will now appear on every message you send.

 

SORTING QUICKLY

You can sort any list by clicking any column heading, except Category, in an Outlook view. Remember, though, that you can use only the quick, simple method to sort a view that looks like a list (a Table view, in Outlook-speak). Other views, such as Address Cards views, don't have column headings you can click to make the list sort itself. In those cases, you have to use the slow, complete way to sort from the Sort dialog box.

 

CHECKING YOUR SPELLING AUTOMATICALLY

In our previous tip, you learned how to check your spelling in an outgoing e-mail message. But why take the time to check spelling after you write something--why not have Outlook do it for you automatically?

To begin, click Tools, Options, and select the Spelling tab. Check the box next to Always Check Spelling Before Sending. Then, click OK. The next time you create a new message and click Send, Outlook will check the spelling in the entire message before it send the message out. If Outlook finds a word that it thinks is misspelled, it will present you with a list of alternative spellings. Choose the correctly spelled word, and click Change. If your spelling is so bad that Outlook's suggestions don't even come close, you can fix the spelling yourself in the Change To box, then click Change.

 

CORRECTING YOUR SPELLING

Okay, so maybe spelling isn't your strong suit, but no one has to know! Just have Outlook check your spelling for you.

Open the item you want to check (you can check spelling in any Outlook item--e-mail messages, notes, appointments, etc.), and click in the text box or body. Select Tools, Spelling. If Outlook finds a word that appears to be misspelled, it will present you with a list of alternative words. Choose the correctly spelled word, then click Change. If your spelling is so bad that Outlook's suggestions don't even come close, you can fix the spelling yourself in the Change To box, then click Change.

 

DON'T CHECK SPELLING IN REPLIES OR FORWARDS

Sure, it's important that you not misspell anything in the e-mails you send out, but should you have to worry about others' mistakes? We don't think so. If you agree, disable the automatic spell checking on the original text when you reply to or forward a message.

Select Tools, Options, then click on the Spelling tab. Check the box next to Ignore Original Message Text In Reply Or Forward. Click OK, and you're all set.

 

GOOD SUBJECT LINES

Devising a good subject line adds up to more than simply coming up with a word or phrase that catches the eye. Sure, you want the recipient to read your message, but you probably want the recipient to be able to associate messages with the actual communication you're delivering. Remember that recipients may receive hundreds of e-mail messages, and it's important for them to be able to locate specific messages based on the topic. For example, when corresponding with your attorney, you would probably want to include a reference to a specific case in the subject line. This clue can help the lawyer to quickly see which of your messages concerned your lawsuit against the orchard owner who sold you an apple that contained a worm and which of your messages were related to redoing your will.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT

Once you've addressed your e-mail message, you should enter a brief description of the message in the subject text box. Adding a subject is actually optional, but it's highly recommended. When you look at the messages in your Inbox, it's easy to see why the subject line is so important. The Inbox typically displays several pieces of information about each message, but the two items that really stand out are the name of the sender and the subject. A catchy or informative subject line can be the difference between your message getting immediate attention or sitting around until the recipient finds some spare time.

 

SHOW OR HIDE THE STATUS BAR

Ever wonder what that little gray bar at the bottom of your Outlook screen is? It's called the status bar, and it shows helpful information such as the total number of items and the number of unread items in the selected folder. If you use it, great, but if you don't, it's easy to get rid of it and give yourself a tiny bit more precious screen space. Click View, Status Bar to deselect it. To bring it back, repeat the same steps to select it.

 

SWITCH BETWEEN OFFLINE AND ONLINE

You've probably set Outlook to check for new mail at regular intervals. But what if you're working in Outlook and don't have an Internet connection open? Outlook will keep looking for a way to get your mail and will keep returning error messages. To let Outlook know you want to work offline, click File, Work Offline. As long as you're working offline, Outlook will connect to your server only when you specify, and it will hang up immediately after sending and receiving messages.

 

BE YOUR OWN TASK MANAGER

To help you organize your tasks, Outlook 2000 can store tasks according to different categories such as Business tasks or Key Customers tasks. To assign a task to a category, follow these steps:

  1. Click the task that you want to assign to a category.
  2. Choose Edit, Categories. The Categories dialog box appears.
  3. Click the check box for each category that your task belongs in.

    The Contact dialog box appears again.

  4. Click OK.

 

TASK REQUESTS--PART 1 OF 5: CREATE A NEW REQUEST

You know the secret to getting things done, right? Delegate, delegate, delegate. That's why Outlook's ability to assign tasks to others is so handy.

Click File, New, Task Request. Type the name of the person you want to assign the task to in the To box (to select from a list, click the To button, find the person, click To, then click OK). Type a name for your task in the Subject box, enter the due date, status options you want, and a description of the task, then click Send.

If you're using Microsoft Exchange Server, the person you assigned the task to will be able to update you automatically; if you're using an Internet Only installation, the recipient will simply get an email with the subject and due date of the task.

TASK REQUESTS--PART 2 OF 5: KEEP AN UPDATED COPY OF THE TASK ON YOUR TASK LIST

In our previous tip, you learned how to send a task request to another person. If you trust that person to update you on how the task is coming along, great. If, on the other hand, you want to keep an eye on the task's progression, you can keep an updated copy on your own task list.

Create a task request (File, New Task Request). Once you've filled in all the particulars, make sure the option Keep An Update Copy Of This Task On My Task List is selected. Click Send.

Now every time the person working on the task updates it on his or her own computer, your copy will be updated as well.

TASK REQUESTS--PART 3 OF 5: GET A STATUS REPORT WHEN THE TASK IS COMPLETE

In our previous tip, you learned how to keep an updated copy of an assigned task on your task list. Just as you want to know how a task is coming along, you're also probably very interested in when a task has been completed.

To receive a status report when a task has been finished, first create a task request (File, New Task Request). Fill out the task request, and select the option Send Me A Status Report When This Task Is Complete. Now when the person working on the task marks it as done, you'll be the second person to know about it.

TASK REQUESTS--PART 4 OF 5: REASSIGN A DECLINED TASK

In this series of tips, you've learned how to assign a task to someone else. But it's hard to find good help, and the recipient has the option of declining the task, in which case you'll be notified. Fortunately, it's easy to simply reassign it to someone else.

Open the declined task in your task list by double-clicking it. Click Actions, Assign Task. Type the name of the person you want to assign the task to in the To box (to select from a list, click the To button, find the person, click To, then click OK). Click Send.

TASK REQUESTS--PART 5 OF 5: RECLAIM OWNERSHIP OF A TASK YOU ASSIGNED THAT WAS DECLINED

In our previous tip, you learned how to reassign a declined task to someone else. But what if the only "someone else" in the office is you? You'll simply have to take ownership of the task, rather than assigning it to someone else.

Double-click the message that contains the task request that was declined. Click Actions, Return To Task List. Ugh! Now the job is back on your task list.

 

SEND A STATUS REPORT FOR A TASK

What's the best way to let the boss know you're on top of things? Send a status report letting the higher-ups know what kind of progress you're making.

Open the task by double-clicking it. Choose Actions, Send Status Report. Enter recipient names in the To box. The person who assigned you the task is automatically added to the list. Finally, click Send.

This feature will work only if you're using Outlook on an ExchangeServer. Good luck schmoozing!

 

SET THE START AND END DATES FOR A TASK

By default, Outlook won't insert a start and end date for a new task. But most jobs in life need to be completed by a certain date, so be sure to set a start and end date for your tasks.

Open the task by double-clicking it. Enter the date the task needs to be completed in the Due Date box, then enter the date to start work in the Start Date box.

Outlook offers a nifty little feature when it comes to start and end dates--rather than typing a date, you can specify a description like "one week from today" or "next Tuesday." The right date will show up automatically.

 

RECORD ESTIMATED AND ACTUAL TIME SPENT ON A TASK

Whether you bill by the hour or need to report your hours to a superior, Outlook's tasks can be a great way to keep track of your time. It's easy to track how much time you estimated for each task and then record how much time it actually took.

Open the task by double-clicking it. Select the Details tab. In the Total Work text box, type the number of hours you estimate it might take to finish the job. As you make progress, enter the number of hours you actually spend on the task in the Actual Work text box. Finally, click Save And Close.

 

SCHEDULE TIME IN CALENDAR TO COMPLETE A TASK

Organizing your to-do list into tasks is a great idea, but they don't always get done when you have a full schedule on your daily Calendar. Fortunately, there's an easy way to integrate your task list into your Calendar.

Make sure both your Calendar and task list are visible (the easiest way to do this is to click View, Current View and select Day/Week/Month With AutoPreview). Select the task you want to schedule time for and drag it onto your Calendar. This will create a new Appointment window, where you can select the options you want. Click Save And Close. Now your task appears as an appointment on your Calendar!

 

CHANGE A TASK TO A RECURRING TASK

Let's say you find yourself re-creating the same task in your task list each week. Why not simply change it into a recurring task, so it shows up automatically?

Switch to your task list by clicking Tasks in the Folder List. Open the task you want to change to a recurring task. Select Actions, Recurrence. Click how frequently you want the task to recur, and at which time and date. Then, click Save And Close.

 

SKIP ONE OCCURRENCE OF A RECURRING TASK

If you're like most people, you have tasks that must be performed regularly, whether it's vacuuming the living room at home or generating marketing reports at the office. If you're really organized, you have your regular chores set up as recurring tasks in Outlook. But what if, by some good fortune, there comes a week where you can pass the task on to someone else? Maybe your spouse offered to do the vacuuming, or you can pass your busy work over to someone else. That task will still pop up in your task list. Here's how to simply skip it.

Switch to your task list by clicking Tasks in the Folder List. Then, click Actions, Skip Occurrence.

 

COMPLETED TASKS

Outlook leaves completed tasks in your Tasks list. This enables you to reopen a task by removing the check from the completed check box. But leaving completed tasks in the Tasks list also makes it harder to see which tasks remain to be done. When tasks are truly completed, you can remove them from the Tasks list by selecting the completed tasks and clicking the Delete button on the Outlook toolbar.

 

MAKING A DATE WITH YOUR TASKS IN OUTLOOK

You can create a quick electronic to-do list of your New Year's resolutions, personal errands, or work-related tasks by using the Tasks list in Outlook. Click the Tasks icon in the Outlook bar and you get a simple grid to make your list.

Here's a quick way to enter a Due Date for a task: Instead of typing a date in the Due Date column, you can type a brief description of the date, such as "Friday," "tomorrow," "next Thursday," "one month from now," or even "Valentine's Day," and Outlook can translate it into a regular date.

 

VIEW TASKS YOU HAVE ASSIGNED TO OTHERS

If you're working on a large project (or lots of little ones), assigning tasks to others is the most efficient way to get things done. But it can be difficult to remember which tasks you assigned to which people, unless you know the trick to do it with in Outlook 2000.

To view tasks in your Task List by assignment, click Tasks in the Folder List. Select View, Current View, and then click Assignment. All tasks will now be organized according to the assignments.

 

WORKING WITH TASKS--PART 1 OF 5

What's the best way to get organized? Come on now, your mother taught you this! If you guessed "Keep a to-do list," you guessed right. Outlook makes it easy to keep track of tasks. Let's get started by creating a task. Say you need to have the Johnson report done by noon tomorrow.

Click File, New, Task. Or click Tasks in the Folder List, and click Click Here To Add A New Task. Type a name for your task in the Subject box (I'd suggest "Johnson report"). You can add any pertinent details in the window, set a start and end date, specify a priority, and track your progress. When you've finished choosing options, click Save And Close.

WORKING WITH TASKS--PART 2 OF 5

In our last tip, you learned how to create a task that occurs only once. But the exciting world we live in is chock full of repetitive tasks that need to be completed regularly, whether it's daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. But you're in luck--Outlook makes it easy to create a recurring task.

Click File, New, Task. Or click Tasks in the Folder List, and click Click Here To Add A New Task. Type a name for your task in the Subject box. You can add any pertinent details in the window, set a start and end date, specify a priority, and track your progress. Click Actions, Recurrence. Click the frequency (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly) at which the task recurs, and then select options for the frequency.

Click OK, then click Save And Close.

WORKING WITH TASKS--PART 3 OF 5

A task list is only helpful if you know what's on it. So for those of you who make endless to-do lists and then never look at them again--and you know who you are--Outlook 2000 proudly offers a reminder feature for tasks.

Click Tools, Options and click the Other tab, then Advanced Options. Select Advanced Tasks. To have a reminder automatically turned on for new tasks, select the Set Reminders On Tasks With Due Dates check box. Now you'll automatically receive a reminder before your task is due. Remember, these reminder options only affect tasks that have a due date.

WORKING WITH TASKS--PART 4 OF 5

Keeping a task list is only effective if you keep it current. So be sure that when you finish a task, you mark it as complete. Finito. Off the list.

Open the task you want to mark complete. In the % Complete box, enter 100%.

Here's another way. Click on the task list. If the Status field appears as a column heading in the task list, you can click on that column and select Completed. Good luck, and keep up with tasks, will ya?

WORKING WITH TASKS--PART 5 OF 5

Nobody's perfect, right? We all fall behind schedule once in a while, and we need a reminder to get us going again. Well, Outlook 2000 provides that reminder by turning a task red when it's overdue. But you don't have to go with red (if it seems a little harsh); you can choose almost any color you wish for overdue task--even olive green--uughh.

Select Tools, Options, then click the Preferences tab. Click Task Options. Choose a color in the Overdue Tasks box, then click OK.

 

SHOW THE TIP OF THE DAY WHEN OUTLOOK STARTS

Are you tip-hungry? Of course you are, or you wouldn't love TipWorld so much! If you find you just can't get enough tips, today's your lucky day. Outlook comes equipped with a Tip Of The Day--you just have to turn it on.

To do so, click on the Office Assistant. If the Assistant isn't visible, click Help, Show The Office Assistant. Click Options, and select Show The Tip Of The Day At Startup check box.

Now every time you fire up Outlook 2000, you'll see a new tip--not nearly as helpful as our tips, but a tip nonetheless!

 

ALIGN TEXT

In the previous tip, you learned how to spiff up your e-mail by creating a bulleted list. Today, you'll learn how to keep things looking neat by aligning text the way you want it. Now you can center your headlines, right-justify your expense totals, and so on!

Select the text you want to align. Click the Align Right, Align Left, or Center button on the Formatting toolbar.

Never underestimate the power of alignment...

 

MAKE TEXT BOLD, UNDERLINED, OR ITALIC

Back in the olden days of e-mail, when you wanted to emphasize a particular word, you had to resort to surrounding it with asterisks, like *this*. We've come a long way since then, and now you can set important words in boldface. So go ahead, emphasize all you want!

Select the word (or words) you want to make bold. Click the Bold button on the Formatting toolbar (it looks like a capital B).

 

CHANGE THE COLOR OF TEXT

Why should you be stuck with plain old black and white text in your e-mails? Express your individuality, and send e-mail with a rainbow of colors!

Select the text you want to color. Click the Font Color button on the Formatting toolbar (it looks like a capital A, with a colored bar of text below it), then choose a color in the Color list.

 

CHANGE THE FONT FOR TEXT

In the previous tip, you learned how to change the size of text in your e-mail. But you should also be able to choose a font for your changing moods. Now, you can pick something businesslike and crisp for correspondence with your boss, and something flowery and elegant for your love letters. Just don't get the two mixed up, unless you're dating your boss--but then, that's your problem, isn't it?

To change the font for existing text, first select the text. Find the font you want in the Font box on the Formatting toolbar.

 

SET REPLY OPTIONS IN OUTLOOK 2000

You can control the appearance of your e-mail replies in several reader-friendly ways in Outlook. To set the format of a reply message, follow these simple steps.

  1. Choose Tools, Options (or press Alt, T, O).

    The Options dialog box opens.

  2. Click the E-mail Options button (or press M).

    The E-mail Options dialog box appears.

  3. Click the scroll-down button (triangle) at the right end of the When Replying to a Message box.

    A menu of options drops down. The Include and Indent Original Message Text is the default option. The diagram to the right of the scroll-down menu illustrates how the message will be laid out when you choose each option.

  4. Choose the style that you prefer to use for replies and click OK.

 

REPLY TEXT

Although there's no rule that says that you must include the original message text in your reply to an e-mail, leaving out the original message can lead to confusion. Suppose, for example, that someone sends you five messages during a day and you reply to each one with a simple yes or no. Unless the original sender knows for certain which message you are replying to, it's very likely that at least one of your responses will be misinterpreted. If you want to save space, include only the relevant parts of the original message.

 

CHANGE THE SIZE OF TEXT

In the previous tip, you learned how to change the color of the text in your e-mails. Today, you'll learn how to change text size as well. Now you can send a large-print e-mail to your grandmother (her eyes will thank you).

Select the text you want to resize. Enter the size font you want in the Font Size box on the Formatting toolbar. Ta-da! You now have fonts of any size you choose!

 

ADD BUTTONS TO A TOOLBAR

Have you ever noticed that if you have your Inbox open, an icon for New Mail Message appears in the top-left corner, but if you select your Calendar, that space is now occupied by a New Appointment button? What if you want to be able to quickly enter a new appointment without switching views? Simple--add a New Appointment button to your toolbar.

Begin by clicking View, Toolbars, Customize. Select the Commands tab. Under Categories, click File. Under Commands, click on Mail Message and drag it to the toolbar. When you release the mouse button, you'll have a New Mail Message icon on your toolbar that you can use from any view.

 

CREATE A CUSTOM TOOLBAR

Do you find yourself using only a few buttons on the toolbars? If so, why keep them all up there? Just create a custom toolbar, using only the buttons you want.

Click Tools, Customize, and select the Toolbars tab. Click New. Type the name you want in the Toolbar Name box, then click OK. Now select the Commands tab. To add a button to the toolbar, click a category in the Categories box, and then drag the command you want from the Commands box to your toolbar--it should be floating off to the right side. When you've added all your favorite buttons, click Close.

 

TOOLBAR BUTTONS--PART 1 OF 2: ADDING A BUTTON

Have you ever noticed that if you have your Inbox open, an icon for New Mail Message is in the top-left corner, but if you select your Calendar, that space is now occupied by a New Appointment button? What if you want to be able to quickly enter a new appointment without switching views? Simple--add a New Appointment button to your toolbar.

First, click View, Toolbars, Customize. Select the Commands tab. Under Categories, click File. Under Commands, find Mail Message. Click it and drag it to the toolbar. When you release the mouse button, you'll have a New Mail Message icon on your toolbar that you can use from any view.

TOOLBAR BUTTONS--PART 2 OF 2: REMOVING A BUTTON

In our previous tip, we showed you how to add a new button to your Outlook 2000 toolbars. If you went a little overboard and your toolbars are now too crowded to navigate, you'll probably want to get rid of a few buttons. Fortunately, they come off just as easily as they went on.

Click View, Toolbars, Customize. With the Customize box open, drag the unwanted icon off the toolbar (keep in mind you don't have to drag it anyplace in particular). Voila! No more icon.

 

CREATE A TOOLBAR BUTTON TO AUTOMATICALLY ADDRESS AN E-MAIL MESSAGE--PART 1 OF 2

Do you often send e-mail to one particular person? If so, why not put a button on a toolbar to automatically address a new e-mail message to that person? Let's say you write to your mom at least once a day (awww, what a good kid). We're going to put a button on your Standard toolbar that, when you click it, will automatically create a new message with dear old Mom's e-mail address already filled out.

Make sure the Standard toolbar is displayed. First, you need to add a new button to the toolbar. Click More Buttons (it's the tiny down arrow at the far-right side of the toolbar), click Add Or Remove Buttons, and then select Customize.

Click the Commands tab in the Customize dialog box. Click File in the Categories box, then click and hold Mail Message in the Commands box. Drag the Mail Message command to the Standard toolbar. Voila--now you've got a button.

In the next tip, we'll show you how to customize that button so it automatically fills in Mom's e-mail address.

CREATE A TOOLBAR BUTTON TO AUTOMATICALLY ADDRESS AN E-MAIL MESSAGE--PART 2 OF 2

In the previous tip, you learned how to add a New Mail Message button to the Standard toolbar. Today, we'll show you how to customize that button so it automatically fills in Mom's e-mail address.

First, make sure the Standard toolbar is displayed and that your New Mail Message button is on it. Next, click Tools, Customize. Right-click the New Mail Message button you created before, click Assign Hyperlink on the context menu, then click Open.

In the Link To pane (on the left side), click E-mail Address. Type your mother's e-mail address in the E-mail Address box. If you want to add a subject (like "Hi Mom"), type it in the Subject box. Click OK, then click Close.

Now when you click that button, a new message will open, complete with Mom's e-mail address. And she'll sure be happy knowing what a priority she is in spite of her child's busy schedule!

 

MAKE A FLOATING TOOLBAR

Why should toolbars live only at the top of your screen? It's easy to turn a docked toolbar (meaning it's stuck to either the top, bottom, or sides of the screen) into a floating toolbar that you can move anywhere on the screen.

Simply move your cursor up to the vertical bar at the left of the toolbar--this is called the Move Handle. Click on it, then drag the toolbar to wherever you want it. Simple enough.

 

MOVE A FLOATING TOOLBAR BACK TO THE TOP OF THE SCREEN

In the previous tip, you learned how to free a docked toolbar from its position at the edge of the screen and change it into a floating toolbar. If you decide you want it to go back where it belongs, simply click and hold on the blue title bar and drag the toolbar back up to the top. You can also double-click anywhere on the title bar to accomplish the same thing.

 

REMOVE BUTTONS FROM TOOLBAR

In our previous tip, we showed you how to add a new button to your Outlook 2000 toolbars. If you went a little overboard and your toolbars are now too crowded to navigate, you'll probably want to get rid of a few buttons. Fortunately, you can remove them just as easily as you created them.

Click View, Toolbars, Customize. With the Customize dialog box open, drag the unwanted icon off the toolbar (keep in mind you don't have to drag it anyplace in particular). Voila! No more icon.

 

POSITIONING TOOLBARS ON THE SAME ROW

Until you can afford a bigger monitor, you're locked in the never-ending battle for more screen space--a few pixels here, a few button-widths there. Well, you've probably noticed that all those toolbars at the top of the screen, while useful, are stacked on top of each other. What if there was a way to condense them?

Take heart--there is! You can position them right next to each other on the same row. Do you see the little vertical line at the far left side of each toolbar? Position your cursor over it--see how it changes into a four-headed arrow? It's called a move handle--click and hold it, and you can move the Advanced toolbar right next to the Standard toolbar. If there isn't enough room for all your buttons, the ones you've used most recently are displayed.

 

RESIZE A TOOLBAR

In the previous two tips, you've learned how you can get rid of a toolbar you don't use very often to free up screen space. But if more real estate is your biggest concern, there's an easier way to get it than hiding a whole toolbar--simply resize it and put it in the same row as another toolbar.

Let's say you want to combine the Standard and Advanced toolbars into one row. Make the Advanced toolbar smaller by resizing it--drag the move handle (the vertical bar on the left side of the toolbar) until the toolbar is small enough. Then, using the move handle, drag the toolbar up to the right of the Standard toolbar. It should now be on the same line. Don't worry, you can still get to all the buttons if you need them. Simply click the double arrow on the right side, and you'll see a context menu with the buttons that aren't visible.

 

RESTORE TOOLBAR TO ORIGINAL CONFIGURATION

In our last two tips, we showed you how to add and remove buttons from Outlook toolbars. But what if you just want the toolbars back the way they were originally? There's no need to remove all the buttons manually--just restore the original configuration.

Simply click Tools, Customize, then select the Toolbars tab. Click the name of the toolbar you want to restore and click Reset. Poof! Your toolbar is restored to its original pristine condition.

 

RESTORE ORIGINAL BUTTONS AND MENUS ON A BUILT-IN TOOLBAR

You're one of those people who likes to fix everything, right? If so, you've probably done a lot of customization when it comes to your toolbars--moving buttons around, deleting buttons you don't use, creating new ones, and so forth.

But what happens if you want to restore your toolbars to their original condition? Simply click Tools, Customize and click the Toolbars tab. Click the name of the toolbar you want to restore, then click Reset. Voila--your toolbar is restored to its original pristine condition.

 

SHOW OR HIDE A TOOLBAR

Would you like a little more screen space to work with? (Of course, you would!) If you don't use the Advanced toolbar, why not get rid of it?

Simply right-click any toolbar, then click Advanced on the context menu, clearing the check mark next it. If you decide later that you want it back, repeat the process and select Advanced. This will work for any toolbar, including custom toolbars you've created.

 

CREATE AN IDENTITY FOR AN ADDITIONAL USER

In our previous tip, you learned how to add an email account to Outlook 2000. But what if you and another family member share an email account? You certainly don't want your emails to get sent out with your wife's name on them, do you? So create an identity for an additional user.

Begin by firing up the Internet Connection Wizard. Just click Tools, Accounts, Mail; click Add; then click Mail. Follow the instructions, but make sure you use a different name on the first step. The email address, server names, account name, and password will be the same as for the original account. Click Finish. Now when you use that account, it will have your name on it.

 

ADDING VCARD TO YOUR ADDRESS BOOK

In a previous tip, we showed you how to create and use a vCard, which is a virtual business card that attaches to all your outgoing mail messages. VCards have a very nifty feature: They can be added easily to your address book with just a click, which means you don't have to spend your precious time typing in contact information.

When you receive a message with a vCard attached, a paperclip icon appears in the preview pane, indicating an attachment. From the preview pane, select the paperclip icon and click the filename that appears. Or, if you've opened the message, right-click the business card icon and click Open. Once you can view the information sent in the vCard, click the Add To Address Book button on the Personal tab. Click OK, and the information will be added to your contacts list.

 

ATTACH A VCARD

In our previous tip, we showed you how to create a signature that Outlook attaches to each outgoing message. You can do even better, and send an electronic business card called a vCard. When you send a message with a vCard attached, recipients can automatically add you to their Address Book.

First, make sure you've entered yourself as a contact in your Address Book. Then click Tools, Options and select the Mail Format tab. Click the Signature Picker button, then click New. Enter a name for your signature (maybe Work or Personal). Click Start With A Blank Signature. Instead of entering your information, click New vCard From Contact. Select your name from the contact list and click Add. Click Finish, then click OK. From now on, your contact information will be attached to outgoing messages.

 

FORWARDING ANOTHER PERSON'S VCARD

In the previous tip, we showed you how to quickly add contact information from a vCard to your address book. You can also forward that information to someone else, rather than retyping a name and phone number into an email message.

From the Outlook desktop, select Contacts from the Outlook Bar. Now, select the name of the person whose information you want to forward. Choose Action, Forward As vCard. A new message window will pop up, with a vCard attached. Include any message you want to send along with the information, then click Send.

 

USING A WEB LINK

When you open a message, sometimes you see blue, underlined text with the name of a Web page or other Internet resource. If you want to look at that page, all you have to do is double-click the text and, if everything is installed correctly, your Web browser pops up and opens the Web page whose name or URL you've clicked.

After you open the page, you can save the page to your Favorites folder to allow you to find it again easily.

 

USE MICROSOFT WORD ON SPECIFIC MESSAGES

In our previous tip, you learned how to use Microsoft Word as your full-time mail editor. If for some reason you'd rather not commit to using Word on a full-time basis, hire it as a temp! You can choose it as an editor for specific messages.

Rather than clicking the New Message button on the toolbar to start a new email message, select Actions, New Mail Message Using, Microsoft Word. The New message window that appears will have Word's formatting capabilities.

 

USE MICROSOFT WORD AS A MAIL EDITOR

Do you use Microsoft Word? If so, you can use it to write and edit your Outlook email messages. By choosing Word as your mail editor, you can more easily use tables, formulas, and fields in your messages. You'll also have access to Word's entire arsenal of formatting features, such as AutoCorrect, Borders, and so on.

First, make sure that you have Microsoft Word properly installed. Then, select Tools, Options and click the Mail Format tab. Select the Use Microsoft Word To Edit Email Messages option, then click OK.

 

WHAT CAN I DO?

With Outlook, you can manage your e-mail messages, appointments, contacts, tasks, and notes. Here is a list of the shortcuts on the Outlook shortcut bar and what their programs help you do:

  • Outlook Today: Display a summary of the current day.
  • Inbox: Send and receive e-mail messages.
  • Calendar: Keep track of appointments.
  • Contacts: Maintain an address book.
  • Tasks: Create a list of things to do.
  • Notes: Create brief reminder notes.
  • Deleted Items: Store items you delete.

 

INSTALLING WINFAX SE

Office 2000 doesn't install every feature of every program when you run the install program the first time. Many features are marked "Install on first use," which means just what it says: The first time you click the menu to use an uninstalled feature, Office goes out and finds the feature you want and installs it. That way, you don't waste space on your computer storing parts of the program you never use. Winfax SE is one of the features that's marked for installation on first use.

The first time you choose Actions, New Fax Message, the Office Setup program may start up and asks you to insert the Office 2000 CD in your drive. Just wait a few minutes while Outlook installs the Winfax SE program. You'll have to fill in your name and address information when Winfax starts up.

 

SET START AND END TIME FOR WORKDAYS

Have you ever noticed that some people think the workday starts at 8:00, while others roll in at 10:00? (Then there are those wackos who start at 6:30 a.m.--you know who you are.) Luckily, Outlook can accommodate everyone's idea of what a workday is.

To reset your Calendar so the day starts at a particular time, select Tools, Options from the Outlook desktop, and then choose Calendar Options. Under Calendar Work Week, select the Start Time and End Time for workdays.

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Last modified: April 27, 2020