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.
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
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.
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
- Microsoft OutlookHow Protect Outlook Emails With Strong Passwords & Security SettingsLaura Spencer
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
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
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
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:
- Microsoft OutlookHow to Create Rules in MS Outlook to Auto Sort EmailsLaura Spencer
- Microsoft OutlookHow to Filter Emails in Outlook to Specific Folders (With Rules)Laura Spencer
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:
- Microsoft OutlookHow to Set an Out of Office Message in Outlook (Automatic Away Reply)Laura Spencer
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
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:
- Use Outlook's automatic resizing.
- Zip the file before you send it.
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
On the next screen select the Save As option from the left panel.
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
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:
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.
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
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:
- How to Properly Write a Formal Email (That Gets Results)Laura Spencer
- How to Write a More Effective Email (15+ Best Tips & Tricks)Laura Spencer
- How to End a Business Email With a Professional ClosingLaura Spencer
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.
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.