Outlook for Windows is a pretty intuitive software for email use that makes it simple for everyone to handle their emailing needs. From receiving to sending emails, everything is simple and can be done by anyone without going into much details.
5 Windows Outlook Tips for Smart User
However, when you go from everyday use to more complicated use of Outlook, there are few things that you can change to adapt to the demands of modern day emailing more productively. For instance, it is better to arrange your emails to the folders rather than keeping them all under “Inbox”. These methods make it easier to get information quicker and not get lost in hundreds of emails you might be receiving everyday.
There are few Outlook features/tips that are not directly visible but can be impact in your productivity. With a few changes to your workflow and the way you operate with your client, you can clearly see the positive changes. That will not make you want to go back to the old ways of doing things.
Let’s take a look at the five very important Windows Outlook tips that I have listed below.
1. Set notifications smartly:
Getting notifications about new emails help you avoid delayed or no responses. When you get desktop notifications from Outlook about a new email, you can immediately response to them or at the appropriate time that you want. In that context, there’s way to set your notification settings more smartly that can add to your productivity rather than to your distractions.
Firstly, it’s unnecessary to get notified about every single email you receive. Most of them don’t even require attention let alone replies.
This can easily be set under Outlook rules.
- The quickest way to create a rule is just right click on the email that you think is important
- Then select “Create rule”.
- Then under the “Create Rule” box, check the settings that you want
- Including the “Display the new Item alert Window”
- Click “OK.”
Bonus tip: Exclude the emails that you were CC’d into because they are generally not urgent to you.
You can create any number of rules and to any degree of complexity as per desired.
2. Backup Your Data:
Data corruption or loss can be one of the frustrating things to happen to anyone. It’s not fun when you lose emails sent by your boss, or you lose friends’ emails that contained pictures from your special moments. Therefore, one of the smartest moves to begin using Outlook is to learn how to backup data correctly.
The simplest way to do that is to export folders to *.pst file.
- Just go to ‘File’
- Select ‘Export to a file’
- Outlook Data File (.pst)
- Check the folders you want to export/backup
- Choose location to save the PST file and Click on ‘Finish’.
Now all your selected folders will save into a PST file. Keep this file somewhere secure.
In fact, much better option is to either set a reminder to periodically backup your data or use a system to make Outlook take backup automatically. Unfortunately, unlike in Mac Outlook, with Windows’ version, there’s no straightforward and official way to do that. But with the help of third-party add-on, you can pretty easily set it up. Google for third-party Outlook backup tools and you will find plenty.
3. Make Outlook Automatically Reply to Certain Emails:
It’s good to have a PA to reply to certain emails for you, so you can focus on more important tasks. But not all of us can have our own PA. Good thing that we can make Outlook do that for us with no efforts by ourselves.
This again can be done using the “rules”. You can create a new rule and specify the email that you want to be sent as a reply to a particular type of receiving emails. Many users typically want to send automatic replies when they Are out of office or will be away for a while and can’t access their emails.
For Exchange server users, it is even easier. They can use the “Outlook of Office” assistant, a new feature with Outlook, that makes setting up automatic replies quicker and more effective.
4. Shortcut is the success to email productivity, if not life.
Shortcuts are fun. Why walk all the way down when you can teleport?
Outlook keyboard shortcuts can help you save time by working faster because, well, they are shortcuts. Why go to the ‘Home’ tab and then click on “New Email” when you can simply hit “Ctrl+N” to start composing a new email message?
There are plenty more keyboard shortcuts that can cut down the time it requires to do the same tasks in a traditionally direct approach. For example: Ctrl+R to reply, Alt+H, then AF to add an attachment, Alt+S to send an email, Ctrl+E to search, and so on. There’s a big list of such shortcuts that you can find on Outlook’s website. You can memorize the ones that you think most frequently use by you.
5. Outlook Quick-Steps
Outlook quick steps is another one of those features that can make a massive difference to your productivity but isn’t used by many that often. It is in essence shortcuts to do some tasks that otherwise take more than a few steps. So, it is in a way same thing as keyboard shortcut except here you can create your own quickstep and automate many repetitive actions.
For instance, if you often move emails to a particular folder, you can create a quickstep for that action and then perform that same action in a single click rather than performing every step that is otherwise required.
There are a few default quicksteps that you can benefit from. But you can create your own too.
These are the few tips that have helped me tremendously with Outlook. But there are many more hidden and less commonly used features. You can find and make your life more hassle-free and productive.
With the modern Outlook versions, with the help of rules and scripts, you can even customize your own features. You can go extra mile in making the best out of the email client. Let us know in the comments below which of the above trick you find most helpful and if there are any other than you are a fan of!