What Is Outlook? All Outlook Features Explained


Millions of individuals use Microsoft Outlook, but how many of them use its features? Some users may be put off by the number of buttons and tabs, which appear complex and challenging. However, it is pretty amazing; most people simply aren’t utilizing it to its full potential.

Scheduling Emails

I work late at night on occasion, but I don’t always want clients to know. You may have some news, a blog, or an article that you don’t want people to know about until the next day, but you won’t be able to start delivering updates until then. You may write an email in Outlook and schedule when it will be sent.Outlook Logo

How to do it: After you’ve finished writing your email, go to Options > Delay Delivery and check the box labeled If you don’t want the message to be sent right away, enter the date and time you’d like it to be stored until. Close the window and then submit your email. It will not be sent before the time you specify.

From a single window, create new meetings, appointments, tasks, and contacts.

If you’re like me and often hop between contacts, calendars, and email, you’ll like this function. You may add a new task or appointment without ever leaving your email.

How to do it: click the drop-down arrow next to the New Email button on your email home page. Then you choose the item you want to add, such as a contact or a meeting appointment. The same list may be accessed by right-clicking on the Outlook icon in your Start Bar.

Send Similar Emails Quickly With Quick Parts

Outlook Mail

If you send identical emails frequently, such as to invite people to an event, Quick Parts lets you save the email’s text (or parts of it). You may then use it in future communications. Plus, if you store it as auto text, Outlook will suggest the remaining text for you the next time you start writing the same material, and you can click Enter to enter it.

How to do it: After you’ve finished writing your email, highlight the text you want to preserve. Select the Insert tab (top menu bar). Save selection to Quick Part Gallery by clicking Quick Parts, then Save selection to Quick Part Gallery. You may then give it a name for easier identification and store it as a Quick Part or as Auto text, which will automatically propose it the next time you start typing the first few words of a phrase.

Keyboard Shortcuts

We adore keyboard shortcuts, and there are a few that are particularly useful in Outlook:

  • CTRL+1 to go to Mail
  • CTRL+2 to go to the calendar
  • CTRL+3 to go to Contacts
  • CTRL+4 to switch to tasks
  • Create a new appointment by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+A.
  • To make a new contact, follow these steps: CTRL+SHIFT+C.
  • Begin a new message by typing: CTRL+SHIFT+M
  • ALT+S to send a message
  • CTRL+R to reply to a message

If you’ve never used keyboard shortcuts before, we recommend learning a few. You’ll be surprised at how much they can help you save time.

View It Your Way

The majority of users use the default view of your Inbox. However, there are additional options that may suit you better.

Click the View tab (top toolbar) in Windows, then Change View. There should be a few predefined perspectives available for you to select from. If you want to take it a step further, click View Settings to add columns, sort emails, alter the font, and do a lot more. You may save the View after you’ve got the settings you want.

View Messages Your Way

This is fantastic. You may customize the appearance of some emails. My unread emails, for example, appear green instead of bold. Even better, emails with a specific term (in the title or text) are colored blue. This is useful when I’m looking for particular emails. For example, when we organize a Tech Talks event, I can view all of the important emails for the event at a look, which is incredibly convenient.

You might have emails from your employer in a bright color to help them stand out or emails in a lighter color if you’re copied in (rather than addressed directly).

Pro tip: You can do the same thing with your calendar appointments; for example, make all Microsoft Teams online meetings purple and all discussions with your boss bright red!

Calendar Sharing

Sharing calendars might help you save time and improve cooperation. Most of us at SpiderGroup have access to at least one other person in the office, and many of us share calendar access with everyone. It’s helpful to know who has available, especially when you need to schedule a meeting!

To share your calendar with someone:

1. Go to your calendar and select Share Calendar from the drop-down menu.

2. Fill in the name of the person with whom you want to share your calendar. You may choose whether you want people to view availability just or full details (you can still lock personal appointments if you want) – or even whether you want them to be able to add items to your calendar directly from the details drop down menu.

3. Press the Send button.

4. Your request is accepted, and the Recipient will have access to your calendar.

Effective Task Management


Tasks are unquestionably among the underutilized objects. Task lists may be shared in the same way that calendars can. Even better, you may assign tasks to members of your team. If you’re working on a project with one or more individuals, this is useful since you can give tasks to specific people and receive notifications when they’re completed. Everyone can see how near they are to completion and whether any have yet to begin.

Create a task first (Task > New Task). Enter as many details as you’d like, such as the subject, start date, deadline date, and status. Select Give Job from the menu bar, type the name of the person you want to assign the task to, and then click Send. The assignment can be accepted or declined by the receiver, and you’ll be notified of their decision. If both boxes are checked when you send the task, you’ll get an updated copy of the item on your task list as well as a progress report after the work is completed.

Pro tip: The ‘To Do’ tool in Microsoft Office 365 automatically integrates any tasks you have in Outlook, as well as marked emails and the Planner! All of your chores are visible in one place, and you can plan and organize them.

Creating and Managing Rules

Outlook’s rules feature assists you in prioritizing and organizing emails according to your preferences. Having emails from a certain individual go to a different folder is an example of what you can do. You might wish to save newsletters in a separate folder to read later when you have some free time. You may choose to permanently remove emails from a certain sender (that certain someone who sends blanket emails that you cannot unsubscribe from, perhaps). You can forward particular emails to other members of your team or create project-specific folders. If you’re waiting for something important, for example, you may have an alert delivered to your phone.

Go to Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts > New Rule to manage and create new rules. From here, you can choose the sort of rule you want to use, then click Next to add further information, like whether the rule is for certain persons or subjects. Finally, click Next to enter the details of what you want to happen to the emails. You may alter the rules at any moment by repeating the process but omitting the New Rule button.

Pro tip: You can add intelligent automation to your emails using Microsoft’s Power Automate feature of Workplace 365 (AKA Flow). For example, if you get the daily office cake pick in your Inbox, you could design some automation to share it with the rest of your office via Microsoft Teams.


Gone are the days when you had to split all of your emails into separate files to find them again. Outlook’s search tool has been enhanced, and it can now help you discover any material with only a few words.

How: You can put your search criteria into the search box at the top of your Outlook window, but here are some search suggestions to help you get to the appropriate result quickly:

  • To discover emails from a certain individual, type ‘from:’ or ‘to:’ before your search.
  • If you’re looking for an email attachment, consider using ‘hasattachment:yes’ in your query.
  • Try’received:yesterday’ if you’re seeking for that illusive email that you know arrived yesterday.
  • If you’re running out of room in your Inbox, search for’messagesize:enormous’ to locate all the big emails.
  • If you only want to see all the emails, you haven’t had time to read yet, use the’read:no’ command.
  • These are just a few of our favorites; please contact us if you want to learn more or need assistance with any of the above.
  • Streamlining with folders.

In Outlook, you can create folders to hold everything from email messages to Word and Excel documents to whole Web sites. The Universal Inbox is the main folder in Outlook, and it does exactly what its name suggests: it stores all of your emails. It’s where you get all of your communications, whether they’re by email, phone mail, fax, or multimedia.

More than 100 Exchange Server add-on applications are currently available, allowing you to convert voice mail to text and text to voice mail; direct faxes to your Inbox rather than the common area fax machine; and dial into the office, pick up your voice-mail messages on email, and listen to them on your PC.

You may also use pager programs to transmit the first few hundred characters of a voice or mail message.

The Universal Inbox reduces the number of sites you need to check for messages to just one, but it comes at the cost of information overload in your Inbox. The Outlook folder concept comes in handy in this situation. It may assist you in organizing your work in any way that you choose.

Outlook utilizes a gadget called the Outlook bar┬áto showcase folders. The Outlook bar contains shortcuts to folders that may be found anywhere in Outlook on the hard disk. The Outlook bar occupies a section of the application’s left side and has three sliding panes: one for mail, one for Outlook’s core folders, and one for your folders.

You may modify the names of the bars (or groups in Outlook terminology) as you see appropriate. (Unfortunately, the Outlook bar is another file that must follow users from computer to computer, posing a substantial difficulty for business deployments.) In this case, the profilename.sav file stores Outlook bar settings.)

Each bar in Outlook starts with a few folders, but you may add as many as you like in any sequence, including folders on your hard disk that you wish to access from Outlook. This functionality allows you to access certain files in Outlook without having to open Windows Explorer.

The majority of what you can accomplish in Windows Explorer can be done in Outlook, but there are some changes in the manner you must execute some activities that take some getting accustomed to. For example, the file hierarchy is visible in Outlook or Network Neighborhood, but you must first move to the Other group on the Outlook bar or choose My Computer from the Go menu to see it.

Although you can add anything from Explorer to the Outlook bar as a folder, this feature is less useful than the ability to move up and down the hierarchy. After switching to the Other bar, you must show the folder list to add a file from Explorer to the Outlook bar. Although adding each folder to the Outlook bar individually can help, it limits file-system access. On the other hand, Outlook is a significant step forward in linking files, mail, and scheduling features in a single, user-friendly application.

When you’re working on numerous things simultaneously, the Outlook bar takes up valuable screen real space. Fortunately, removing the bar is simple. To do so, choose the Outlook Bar command from the View menu or press Alt+V, then O to toggle the Outlook bar off and on. You can still access other folders using the different menus, but you’ll only be able to access the file system folders if the Outlook bar is visible.

The option to save documents in Outlook in the same folders containing mail relevant to the document and drag the file over from the Desktop after it’s finished would be an excellent addition. It’s inconvenient to have to launch Explorer only to put a document away after you’re through with it. Adding a Desktop folder to the Outlook bar is one option. The document may then be dragged to any folder within Outlook.

Ruling Over Inbox Overload.

With Exchange Server 4.0, Microsoft users became familiar with rules, but other vendors had supplied rules for some time. A rule in Outlook allows a user to set conditions and actions so that the program automatically conducts prescribed actions on messages that fit the stated circumstances as they arrive. Consider the case when you get 100 messages each day from an Internet mailing list. Because all messages fall in the Inbox, you may miss crucial messages amid the list messages.

You may use rules to tell Outlook how to detect specific messages from a mailing list (for example, the sender address, a signature, or some text in the message body) and transfer them to a different folder that you designate.

If you configure the criteria correctly, Outlook will move all targeted messages out of the Inbox as they arrive, leaving just your important mail in the Inbox.

If you configure the criteria correctly, Outlook will move all targeted messages out of the Inbox as they arrive, leaving just your important mail in the Inbox. The key to properly employing rules is administration, both for the LAN administrator, who must add extra processing capacity to the Exchange Server to allow background rule processing and for the user, who needs appropriate training to utilize rules effectively.


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