10 Dec 2011

5 tips to improve your Microsoft Outlook usage

For most of us, Microsoft Outlook is an integral tool for communicating.

With the amount of time we use it, even a small increase productively it can be used quickly adds up.

With that in mind, here are five things you might not be doing that can help get more from your day:

1. Streamline your emailing

There are many ways to increase the speed of reading and replying to emails.

Use Outlook’s Conversation Clean Up feature to save time and space by having outlook automatically delete the conversation threads, making them faster to read and reducing unnecessary emails.

Another quick time saver is to use auto-close after you reply to close emails after you’ve responded to or forwarded them – something you probably want 9 times out of 10. Go to Options, Mail, and select ‘Close original message window when replying or forwarding’.

2. Add your own quick steps and views.

You can create one-click email actions using Outlook’s quick steps feature (on the home tab) to perform tasks such as moving your message to another folder, changing its importance, categorising it and so forth.

If you find yourself constantly creating the same views (when looking for emails from within your team, for example) remember that you can save your views for future use.

You can also cut straight to the task you want by right clicking the Outlook taskbar icon in Windows 7 – create for quickly creating a meeting or contact.

3. Turn off email alerts.

Most of us get so many emails that our computers would beep less if they beeped when there wasn’t new mail waiting. Turn off new email alerts to concentrate on what’s at hand.

4. Use keyboard shortcuts.

You can’t write emails with your mouse, so some argue that they can work much faster in Outlook by ditching the mouse completely in favour of keyboard shortcuts.

Press Alt at any time in Outlook to see the shortcuts available.

5. Add LinkedIn functionality

Alright, this is more of a LinkedIn tip than an Outlook one, but it will save you time.

Use LinkedIn’s Outlook Social Connector to create contacts and send add requests and messages to LinkedIn users straight from Outlook. It’s a great way to expand and draw upon your network.

Facebook has a similar add-on as well. You can find them here.

Robin Marchant is National Marketing Manager, Brennan IT

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