10 Ways to be More Efficient When Using Microsoft Outlook

Make your average workday a better day and save some time on your email communications with these Microsoft Outlook tips.

Tip 1: Use the “Search” Feature

While maintaining folders and filing your emails in those folders will help keep organized, it can only help so much when you start looking for items that happened months or years ago. The most efficient way to find an email in any folder, or across your entire account, is to go to the “Search” box at the top bar and enter a keyword that would be located somewhere in the email you are attempting to locate. The more keywords that you know the email would contain and the more that you enter in the search box, the better your results will be with a targeted list. Try adding the sender’s or recipient’s name as one of the keywords, to more tightly filter any results.

Tip 2: Turn Off the Notifications

If your notifications are on, that can be a major distraction, especially if you are in the middle of completing a task. Staying focused and keeping your attention to any project that you may be working on is key to getting it completed fast and without errors. When a notification appears, it can derail your train of thought. In this case, it is best not to have any Outlook notifications appear.

Tip 3: Create a “Rule”

If you often receive emails that you immediately file away in a folder, create a “Rule” at the top bar. It’s easy. Enter who the email is coming from, who it is sent to, what the subject line contains and what folder you want it moved to.

Tip 4: “Ignore” Emails You Don’t Need

If there are emails you receive often that you don’t want to see and you don’t want filed, try the “ignore” feature. Instead of deleting it every time, go to the top left or click Control>Delete. Emails regarding that subject will go to your deleted folder automatically.

Tip 5: Set up Your “Out-of-Office” Email and Set it up as Early as Possible

When you know that you will be out-of-office, you can set up an email message that will automatically reply to new inbound email messages, letting the sender know that you are away and not likely to respond. Make sure that in your message, you let senders know when you plan to return, so that they know when to expect that you will be checking your emails.

You can set the date and time well in advance, so as soon as you know you will be out-of-office, go ahead and set up your out-of-office reply with the verbiage you would like. You can (and should) also suggest an alternate contact in case of emergencies or if a response is needed right away.

Tip 6: Change the Default Font Face and Size

Do you have trouble reading your Outlook? Is it the style of the font or do you need the text to be bigger? You can do that by changing the typeface settings in your Outlook. There are many free fonts to choose from. Simple, stylish, large, bold, serif, sans serif, whatever you would like, you can set it!

Tip 7: Schedule Your Emails to be Sent…Later

Is there an email that you know you will need to send, but not for a few hours or a few days?

You can set your Outlook to delay the email send for any day or time, instead of always opting for right now or saving it in drafts and, perhaps, forgetting about it.

Tip 8: Create Templates for Outlook Email Messages

For the emails that you send often with similar content, save yourself time by creating a template. When you draft the message, before you click the “send” button, save your message as a template so that you can reuse it over and over and over.

Tip 9: The Fast Method for Undeleting

It happens to all of us. You start to read an email and click delete too quickly. You didn’t want to delete the message and you need it back right away. The simple keyboard short cut is Control-Z to undelete. If there is a more than one message, you can continue to hit Control-Z many times to keep undoing the last action, and the action before and the action before that.  You can also shake your iPhone to “Undo Trash” to quickly retrieve that last few undeleted message … or messages if you continue to shake it.

Tip 10: Find Help When You Need It

At the top right of your Outlook application is a question mark icon where you can find help. A quicker route is the keyboard shortcut F1. Or, you can locate a dropdown from the top bar with a title of “Help.” It’s easy to find answers to your questions in Microsoft Outlook. Simply type what you need help with and search results of related topics will appear right away.