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Get creative with Outlook calendar

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Once you've mastered the basics in Outlook, don't stop there. There's more than one way to move items onto your Outlook 2007-2010 calendar. De­­pending on where you are in Outlook when you decide to make a calendar entry, this task could be only a click or two away.

You don't need to go to the menu or the ribbon when in Calendar view. Just double-click on a day or a time slot (if you're looking at your Day or Week views), and start typing. If you want to quickly label that time slot or day without putting all the related information in right away, just single-click on it and start typing. It will record the appointment or meeting subject without entering all the information.

Feeling swamped? Join the club. We all have to handle multiple tasks, juggle schedules and cope with the daily deluge of emails. But some of us have a secret weapon: Microsoft Outlook.

From the inbox

You may have noticed your To-Do Bar on the right. If it's hidden, simply go to the View drop-down menu and choose To Do bar and Normal. In Office 2010, go to the View tab and in the Layout group, click the To-Do Bar button. Choose Normal. Now, if you are reading an email that looks like it may turn into a meeting, just drag it to the proper date on the small calendar in the To-Do Bar. It will open an appointment with all the information contained in your email. From here, you can invite other attendees or include any necessary in­­formation.

You can also drag the email on top of the Calendar button in the Navigation Pane (on the left). This will do the same thing, but it will open the appointment for the current day. You can, of course, change the date as you wish. Here, as well, it will put the entire contents of the email into the appointment.

Outlook 2010 user bonus: You can accomplish this with an open message by clicking on the Meeting button in the Respond group or from the inbox.

You may think you already know some of these Outlook tips, and maybe you do know a few. But we guarantee you'll find new ways for Outlook to help you accomplish more, today and every day. Learn how here...

From Contacts

Is your "who” really clear, but "when,” not so much? Working from your Contacts, select the individuals you wish to meet with and drag them onto the Calendar button in the Navigation Pane (on the left). This creates a meeting with all the individuals you selected.

Outlook 2010 user bonus: The Scheduling Assistant (on the right) will go to work, immediately letting you know the best days and time slots to have your meeting with the fewest conflicts. If you have conference rooms loaded, and you select one, it will also tell you the number of conference rooms available for each time slot.

From Tasks and Notes, too

Dragging an item to the Calendar button on the Navigation Pane will work with any Outlook item.

Microsoft Outlook: Beyond E-mail to E-fficiency will not only save you precious time, it will help you make better use of the time you spend communicating with colleagues, organizing your day and managing tasks. The very definition of efficiency!

No fluff, just concrete examples to help you make every day run more smoothly. Here are just a few examples of the in-depth advice: book cover
  • Where to find the drop-down menus for keyboard shortcuts. Eventually you'll know these shortcuts by heart (sure beats reaching for your mouse and moving that cursor around), but until then, here's an easy way to see the shortcuts, just by tapping a couple of keys. See page 4 of the Executive Summary.
  • The precise process for using Notes when you're in the middle of a task and the phone rings. Everything from launching Notes to categorizing them to copying and pasting them into your calendar. See page 6.
  • Using color to organize emails. You can tell Outlook to color-code incoming emails so it's easy to see those that require immediate action by you, those you can forward for action by someone else and those that can wait. Color-code your notes and calendar appointments, too. Melissa even advises you on which colors work best. See pages 8–11.
  • How to schedule tentative appointments. If an appointment is scheduled for one of two times, you can type the data once for the first possible time, then click and drag to the second time. Once the time is firmly set, just delete the extraneous appointment. See page 13.

Microsoft Outlook: Beyond E-mail to E-fficiency is the hands-on roadmap to Outlook that will send your productivity skyrocketing – but only if you get your hands on a copy. Choose the PDF or printed version.

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