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Customize Outlook–your way

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emailDid you know Outlook will Spell Check your email before it goes out, even if you forget? It will! Do you like the Reading Pane but don’t like items automatically marked “Read”? You can have your Reading Pane and see your unread flags! Don’t like those Desktop Alerts that display every time you receive a new email? Turn them off. In Office 2007, these begin in Tools, Options. In 2010, it’s the File tab (Backstage View) and a click on Options.

Automatic Spell Check on Send

It’s always embarrassing to make a typo in an important email. While Spell Check isn’t perfect and it won’t necessarily catch all problems (right spelling, wrong word), it is insurance against obvious misspellings and some difficult-to-spell names. In Office 2007, after clicking on Tools, Options, click the Spelling tab. In 2010, after clicking File, Options, click the Mail category (on the left) and then check the “Always check spelling before sending” box.

Use automatic spell check to catch mistakes

View in Reading Pane—Leave Unread

If you don’t like having your emails automatically marked as “read” if you click on the email listing in your inbox, you can have your cake and eat it, too. Using the shortcut below allows you to freely scroll up and down new emails and only have them marked as “read” when you choose. One way to do this “on demand” is the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Q. (Ctrl+U marks it unread.) In Office 2007, from Tools, Options, select the Other tab in the Outlook Panes section, then click the Reading Pane… button.  In 2010, in the Backstage view, select Mail on the left. Then in the Outlook Panes section, click the Reading Pane… button. In both versions, uncheck the “Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane” box and “Mark item as read when the selection changes.”

Reading Pane options are there to help

Turn off desktop alerts

If those pop-up email notices that appear on the bottom of your screen annoy you, here’s a solution. In 2007, after Tools, Options, select the Preferences tab, then click the E-mail Options button, and then the Advanced E-mail Options button. In a section called, “When new items arrive in my Inbox,” uncheck the box that says Display a New Mail Desktop alert. If you like the alerts, but want to change their appearance or duration, click the Desktop Alert Settings … button. You can find these options in 2010 in the Message arrival section after clicking on File, Options and the Mail category.

Tired of pop-up email notices?

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