Q&A: Navigating faster, better in Outlook

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in Microsoft Email Outlook,Office Technology

Q. How can I find an email again without searching all of Outlook? I don't always remember where I foldered it.

A. If you search for emails from a particular person or about a particular subject, but don't always folder them in the same place, try using Search Folders. Look in the Navigation Pane on the left, and scroll down until you see your Search Folders section. Some are automatic, out-of-the-box folders like Unread or Flagged for Follow-up. But you can set your own, too. Right-click on Search Folders and create a new Search folder. Select or enter the criteria and click OK to save it. It doesn't matter where it is in your folder structure. Your Search Folder will always show the item, and the folder it's stored in!

Q. How do I access more advanced Search tools in Outlook 2010?

A. It's easier now than ever to do something beyond a basic keyword search in Outlook. When you click into the Search field at the top of your Inbox, you'll notice that a contextual tab pops up called Search Tools. From this ribbon, you can choose to search on a variety of attributes, such as Categorized, Has Attachments, This Week, Flagged and more.

Deal with interruptions, keep track of appointments, even manage tasks – in other words, make your entire day more productive.
Organize with Outlook.

Q. Can I do more complex search in Outlook than just a few keywords or sorting by columns?

A. You bet! Outlook has some pretty robust search features. In Outlook 2010, you'll notice that when you click into the Search Inbox field, a Search contextual tab pops up with buttons grouped into Scope, Refine and Options groups. You can extend your search to all Outlook items, refine by those items with attachments (which by the way, can be added to tasks and appointments, too!) and include additional refine­­ments, like From, Start Date, etc. by clicking the More button.

Q. Can I attach an appointment in an email?

A. We've all attached files to email. But you can also attach other Outlook items, such as emails and appointments. This is especially useful when informing someone of the details of an upcoming meeting without including them on the invitee list. It's also handy for turning over all correspondence with a particular client or on a particular issue without having to forward each one individually. This technique works equally well with contacts, tasks and notes. Just look for the Attach Item button next to the Attach File button.

Q. Can you drag and drop notes to another user's calendar? I manage multiple calendars. Can I drop my notes into their calendars as well?

A. Using the folders view in Micro­soft Outlook, click on your Notes first. Select the Note and drag and drop it to the correct folder representing the calendar where the appointment goes. If you just use the navigation bar buttons (Mail, Calendar, Contacts, etc.), the appointment will be created only in your main calendar.

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.
Get more Outlook tips here.

Q. Can I add new Quick Steps to my Ribbon in Outlook 2010?

A. You bet! You should see a button in the Quick Steps group called Create New. If you don't see it, click on the More button to find it. Add as many actions as you like and assign the values. In a single quick step you can folder, flag and forward a message.

Q. Can you explain how to create a template if you want to send the same email to different contacts?

A. After creating the email, click the Office Button, Save As, and in the Save As Type field choose Outlook Template. Then choose Use Form from the New button at the bottom. You may need to change the "Look in” field to show User Templates in the file system.

Q. I used to highlight emails from certain people in a particular folder. I can't find this option in Outlook 2010.

A. In Outlook 2003 and 2007, this op­­tion is found under the Tools drop­­down menu selection, Organize. A panel appears at the top where you can choose to organize by color. In Outlook 2010, it is referred to as Conditional Formatting. To locate the option, click on the View tab and then View Settings. Click the Conditional Formatting button and then the Add button to specify a new rule. If you used this option before, this dialog box is the same.

Feeling swamped? Join the club. We all have to handle multiple tasks, juggle schedules and cope with the daily deluge of emails.

So instead of doing this:
  • Struggling to organize and find meaningful emails in your inbox and other folders
  • Typing the same things over and over, and moving from keyboard to mouse and back again
  • Getting interrupted, losing track of your task, scribbling a sticky note about what you learned during the interruption, then losing track of that as well
  • Hunting for appointments on your calendar – or worse, having multiple calendars that don't agree with each other
You can do this: book cover
  • Easily organize emails and associated files using colors, categories, alerts and tags
  • Reduce typing with drag-and-drop techniques, plus keyboard shortcuts (which we show you how to find if needed)
  • Create notes on the fly, on your computer, because you can't avoid interruptions – and sometimes you simply get inspired!
  • Get the most out of your calendars – for starters, by syncing up your desktop, laptop and smartphone
Get the guide to Outlook here.

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