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15+ Quick Outlook Email Tips & Time-Saving Tricks for 2019

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For many of us, email takes up a lot of our time. Estimates vary on exactly how much time we spend email. But the bottom line is that your time is valuable. If you can save even just a little bit of time on a lot of tasks, those times savings can really add up.

Outlook tip email signature
One helpful MS Outlook tip is to use a Graphic Outlook email signature to make a professional impression on clients. Envato Elements has hundreds of graphic email templates.

Improve your Microsoft Outlook productivity and you'll find yourself working more efficiently. Whether you want to be an Outlook expert or just save time, you'll appreciate the time-saving Outlook tips in this tutorial. In this tutorial I'll share 16 timesaving Outlook tips you won't want to miss. 

Learn to Manage Your Email Better With Our Free eBook

Before we dive into our list of Outlook tips, I wanted to let you know about a free resource we've got that can help you to have a less cluttered email inbox. The Ultimate Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery is packed with inbox organization strategies and killer tips for managing all your incoming email more efficiently. 

Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery

Next, let's explore some Outlook tips and tricks that'll save you time and help you to be more productive.

1. First, Secure Your Outlook Email Account

Protecting your email account is one of the most important time-savers on our list of Outlook tips. Your email account is critical because personal information (such as bank account statements, bills, password resents, and more) is often tied to your email. If someone else manages to access your email account and as result is able to access password or financial data, you could literally spend hours trying to undo the damage.

Outlook tip secure your email
Setting secure passwords is a big part of securing your Outlook emails.

This is one case where the best offense is a good defense. Securing your Outlook Emails by taking advantage of Outlook security measures can prevent future problems. Learn about Outlook security in this tutorial:

2. Protect Outlook Emails by Backing Them Up

If you've ever accidentally deleted or misplaced an important email, you know how inconvenient (and sometimes embarrassing) that can be. Also, if you lost access to your Outlook email, you'd also lose access to the email messages stored within it--unless you had backups.

Fortunately, backing up your email in MS Outlook is easier than most people realize.  To discover six different methods of backing up your Outlook email study the following:

3. Wow Your Contacts With a Professional Email Signature

Your emails can make a powerful impression on your contacts. In fact, sometimes your email determines the first impression a prospective client has of you. And the appearance of your email plays a big part in what others may think of you. One way to make your email messages more attractive is to add a professional email signature. You'll find step-by-step directions here:

4. Save Time With Easy Keyboard Shortcuts

No list of Outlook tips and tricks is complete without including keyboard shortcuts. Like most software tools, you can bypass the menu system and use keyboard shortcuts for common tasks. Often, if you're in the middle of typing an email messages it's quicker to use the keyboard than it is to open a menu and sometimes a submenu. In this easy primer on Outlook keyboard shortcuts we look at over 25 keyboard shortcuts for common Outlook tasks:

5. Keep Your Inbox Tidy With the Clean Up Command

This next Outlook tip solves a common problem in email conversations (also known as email threads). is If an email thread goes on for very long, you're likely to end up with lots of messages that include other messages. These redundant messages can take up space in your Outlook email system, especially if your email is close to full or if several of the emails have attachments. Fix this problem quickly by using Microsoft Outlook's Clean Up tool. The tutorial below describes how to use the Clean Up tool

6. Rule Your Inbox by Mastering MS Outlook Rules

One important way to increase your Microsoft Outlook productivity is to make use of MS Outlook's Rules tool. Rules can help you to automatically sort email into the appropriate folders, flag certain messages, play a sound as a message is received--and much more. Discover how to use rules in the following tutorials:

7. Use an Out-of-Office Message

If you deal with clients on a daily basis through email, letting them know where to turn when you're out-of-the-office might be a good idea. This is especially important if you provide technical support or other customer assistance through email. To let your clients know who to turn to in your absence, you can set up an out-of-office message. This tutorial and video will show you what to do:

8. Schedule a Message for Future Delivery

Did you know that you can schedule an email for future delivery? This is one of the coolest Outlook tricks out there and can prove to be really useful.

Imagine, for example, you want to send an email status report to your boss tomorrow so that it's in their email inbox first thing in the morning. The only problem is you don't start work until 9:00 a.m. and your boss comes in at 7:00 a.m. With the Future Delivery feature, simply write the message the night before and schedule it for delivery at 6:45 a.m.

To use this tip, write the email as you normally would. Before you send the message, click on Options > Delay Delivery. The Properties dialog box appears

outlook tip for scheduling future delivery

Under Delivery Options you'll find a check box next to Do not deliver before. Check the box to turn the feature on. Then select a date and time that the message can't be delivered before. Close the Properties box and send the message as you normally would.

9. Learn the Secrets of Sending Large Files

Outlook limits attachment size to 20 MB. This is true whether you're attaching a single file of over 20 MB or multiple files that add up to more than 20 MB.

If you've got to send a really large file, you might think there's no way to do it with Outlook. But there are ways around the size limitation that'll allow you to get your file(s) to the intended recipient:

  1. Use Outlook's automatic resizing.
  2. Zip the file before you send it.
  3. Send the file through Microsoft OneDrive.

For detailed instructions on how to handle large files, review the following:

10. Save Outlook Items to Your Desktop or a Folder

Of all the Outlook tricks, this one might be the most surprising. Or perhaps I just never thought to do it. Did you know that you can save Outlook items (email messages, calendar appointments, even contacts) to your desktop?

To get started, open the item you want to save. In this example I'm using a calendar appointment. Then click the File menu option at the top of the Outlook screen:

Save items to desktop or folder

On the next screen select the Save As option from the left panel. 

save item to desktop or folder

File Explorer opens and you can define where to save your Outlook item. I also usually change the format to .txt on this screen as well.

11. Save an Email as a PDF File

Do you need to keep a hard copy of a critical email for your files, but don't currently have access to a printer?  Why not create a PDF file? Once you've converted your email to a PDF you can transfer it to OneDrive cloud storage (or other cloud storage). Later, when you've got access to a printer, you can access the file from the cloud and print it.

The Microsoft Support site has step-by-step instructions to help you export your messages to PDF.

12. Use OneNote

Most people know Microsoft OneNote as a helpful note-taking app. And while it is that, an Outlook trick that most people aren't aware of pairs OneNote with Outlook. The result is a streamlined way of creating meeting minutes. Learn this OneNote/Outlook hack and other tips on using the two tools together in this lesson:

13. Become an Outlook Calendar Expert

Or at least start using the Outlook calendar. When you think of Outlook, you probably think of email. But there's so much more to Outlook. One of the best Microsoft Outlook tips I can give you is to tell you to master the Outlook calendar. You'll not only be able to track meetings, appointments, and tasks—you can also use your calendar to create a To Do List.

Start using the calendar more effectively by studying this tutorial:

14. Set Up Multiple Time Zones for Calendar

If you're a remote worker like I am, it's likely that you've got coworkers in different time zones. Keeping track of all those time zone differences can be challenging. This next tip for Outlook can help. You can display up to three time zones on your Outlook Calendar.

This is easier to do that you might think it is. Start with your Outlook calendar open. Click on the File tab. From the Account information window select Options. The Outlook Options dialog box appears.  Select Calendar from the panel on the left.  Under the Time Zones, you'll see that you've got up to three options:

set up multiple time zones for calendar

Type the name for each time zone you want to add in the Label field. Use the drop-down list to the right of each Time Zone field to select a time zone you want to display on your Outlook calendar. Then click OK.

Outlook calendar with three time zones

You'll notice the calendar now has three time zones displaying, side-by-side. You'll never get time zones confused again.

15. Create a Digital Sticky Note

Another one of my favorite tips for using Outlook is to create a digital sticky note from within Outlook. The nice thing about a digital sticky note is it won't peel off and get lost.

To create an Outlook digital sticky note use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+N.  Your digital sticky note will look something like this:

Outlook digital sticky note

One nice thing is that the digital sticky note stays on your desktop even if you close Outlook.

15. For Tight Budgets There's Outlook.com

Outlook.com is a free, cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Outlook email. Although the two programs are similar, they're not exactly the same. For example, Outlook.com has visible ads. There's also no technical support for Outlook.com. There are other differences as well.

If you need an email system and you can't afford for MS Office, Outlook.com can be a good option. For a complete comparison of Outlook vs Outlook.com, read this article:

Learn Even More About Email

You've just learned some great Outlook tips and tricks that'll save you a lot of time. But when it comes to email there's a lot more to learn. For example, you could learn how to write better emails. Here are some tutorials to help you out:

Learn More About How to Optimize Your Inbox

A non-Outlook-specific email tip that I've got is to optimize your inbox. Arrange the folders and categories so that they work for you. We've got a resource that'll help you do it. For a complete guide on how to organize your email inbox sign up for the Tuts+ Business newsletter and grab our free eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery. 

Free email ebook

Use Our Microsoft Outlook Tips to Save Time

Knowing how to effectively use Outlook can increase your productivity. Now that you've got the list of some of our best Outlook tips and tricks, you're ready to begin saving time. Pick out one or more of the tips and start using them today.

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