Efficiency is extremely vital in today’s digital world especially when you have a million and one tasks to do, and there are just not enough hours in the day. Now, despite our IT Support provider telling me repeatedly that I should absolutely never ever give tech advice, I have inadvertently become the go-to-girl in our office for Outlook support. So, here are a few of my favourite Outlook hacks to make your life notably easier (and productive).
- Have a stream of conversations for each email in Outlook by clicking the ‘View’ tab along the top ribbon and ticking ‘Show as Conversations’ box. This shows your conversation flow, just like your text messages on a smartphone.
- Have you ever hit the ‘Send’ button a little too early? Recall is the single most life-saving Outlook tool in my opinion. This allows you to bring back a sent email before the recipient opens it. Go to ‘Sent Items’ and double click into the sent email in question, then go to the ‘Message’ tab and click ‘Actions’. Select ‘Recall This Message…’ from the drop down menu. You will then be presented with a pop-up box that will give you two options:
- Delete unread copies of this message
- Delete unread copies of this message and replace with a new message
- Tick box option: Tell me if recall succeeds and fails for each recipient
- Quick Parts is another personal favourite of mine; press F3 on your keyboard and you will be taken to the ‘Search Tools’ tab. This tool enables you to search for particular emails with ease, such as the ‘Has Attachments’ button. This will add a formula to your email search bar and please note some require editing such as the ‘From’ button as you will need to add the sender name.
- Quick Access Toolbar is super handy if you use particular actions on a regular basis. To set up a Quick Access button go to the top far left on your home screen and you will see a drop down icon. Select this icon to be presented with a drop down menu and click ‘More Commands…’ You will now be taken to a pop-up box where you can add or remove Quick Access buttons. Send/Receive all folders is a great one to have here so you can easily refresh your emails. On a side note this also works in Microsoft Word.
- Defer emails to your calendar (this is useful if you need a reminder to follow up with an email). Right click on the relevant email and select ‘Move’ from the drop down menu, click on ‘Calendar’ and this will open up a new appointment in your diary containing the relevant email. You can amend times and dates for the appointment and ‘Invite Attendees’ if you would like to delegate this action to a colleague.
- Make your email charts appear highly professional by using Smart Art. Go to ‘New Email’ and select the ‘Insert’ tab. Click on ‘Smart Art’ to be presented with a pop-up box of charts. Once you have selected your desired design you can edit the text – super easy and looks great
- To follow on with the above tip, you can also insert a screenshot of any page you currently have active on your desktop.
Please note I currently use Microsoft Outlook 2010 however these tips should work on newer versions.