Microsoft Outlook 101

by

October 15, 2021

Eight Steps to Managing Your Email and Contacts Like a Boss

You’re only as efficient as your inbox. It’s a simple statement, but it’s true. In our increasingly remote/hybrid work world, keeping track of your contacts, emails and messages has become mission critical. Manage them well, and you’ll not only juggle more tasks with ease, you’ll make your organization a more transparent and collaborative place. Fortunately, Microsoft Outlook is loaded with features that can help you manage your inbox like a pro. We’ve assembled this Microsoft Outlook 101 tutorial, to help get you make the most of them. Read on, for our favorite tips.

Top Strategies To Make Your Life Easier with Microsoft Outlook:

Wondering how all those super organized people at your company are keeping themselves on track? Chances are, they’re using one or all of these Microsoft Outlook 365 tips and tricks.

1. Organize Your Email Storage.

Nothing is more Microsoft Outlook 101 than this tip, but a surprising number of people skip this step. The key to keeping your email box clean is folders—the perfect way to handle Microsoft Office archive emails. Create folders for projects, or teams, or locations, or any of the “types” of email threads that you need to save. Then, as you read and respond to the emails, delete or store the email in the appropriate folder. This tip will keep you from getting overwhelmed, and will insure that you can always refer back to old emails you need. To create a folder, right click over the inbox folder icon on the left hand navigation column. Click on “new folder” and name it. It’s that easy!

2. Make Templates Your Friend

Yes, you could type those repetitive emails out for each recipient. But why do that, when Microsoft offers templates? You can turn emails you send frequently into a template you can use again and again. It’s easy to set up. Go to File > Save As… > Outlook template. When you need it again, go to Items > Choose Form, and select > User Templates. Make a couple revisions and voila!

3. Shortcut Your Way to Success

There aren’t that many shortcuts in business, but a few keyboard shortcuts could save you considerable time. Here’s some of our favorites:

  • Ctrl + R to reply to an email
  • Alt + R to replay all
  • Alt + W to forward
  • Alt + S to send
  • Ctrl + G to go to any date on your calendar

4. Manage Your Alerts

Yes, your Microsoft Outlook inbox sends you email alert notifications on the corner of your screen. But they can be an annoyance, especially if you get dozens of emails pinging in all day. The good news is, you can manage them. You can eliminate the notifications entirely by going to File > Options > Mail Options and deselecting it. But you can also create custom rules, so you get alerts when they come from your company address, or for just for certain clients or team members. When you’re busy, it can be a lifesaver.

5. Kick Spammers to the Curb

Are you overwhelmed with junk emails, special offers, and notifications? You can kick them straight to your spam folders, so they don’t get mixed in with your important emails. Simply go to Home > Junk email options, and in the new window that comes up, you can select which senders you want to designate as spam.

6. Turn Emails, Calendar Events and Notes into Files

What is this sorcery, you say? This Microsoft Outlook 101 tip is a little-known function, but it can be terrific when you need to keep a dossier of information together. Want to save your email somewhere other than your Inbox folders? You can drag the email, calendar entry or note onto your desktop, or save it into a folder. If you’d like to save these items in a specific file format, use File>Save As. Doing this saves a copy. They are still in your original locations in Outlook. Just double click, and it will take you back to its original location.

7. Schedule Your Emails

You’re working late, or in another time zone. You really want to reply to that email, but you don’t want to be pestering your team mates after hours. Did you know you can write that email and schedule them in advance? It’s the perfect Microsoft Outlook 101 tip to help you manage around future events, send responses to people when they get back from vacation, and more. Simply write your email, then visit Options>Delay Delivery>Do not deliver before, and type in the day and time you want them to arrive.

8. Put Tasks to Work for You

That little checkmark at the bottom of your left hand navigation bar can eliminate the need for written to-do lists. This powerful pane in Outlook allows you to lay out your tasks for the day, flag emails, and even integrate them into your calendar. If your company uses Microsoft Planner, your assigned tasks will show up here, as well, and you can drag them onto your daily to-dos.

That’s it for our Microsoft Outlook 101 tutorial, but it’s only a fraction of what this platform can do for you. Let’s talk about resources for taking a deeper dive.

How to Use Outlook: More Resources

Now that you know some Microsoft Outlook 365 tips and tricks, why not learn how to unlock the full potential that the platform can offer? Integris can help. We’ve got a great overview of Microsoft Office 365, and more Microsoft Outlook hacks in our recent Microsoft Office FAQs post. If you’d like to take a closer look at Microsoft Teams, and how it can cut down on the emails sent at your company, check out our latest analysis.

If you’d rather take your information at your leisure, we have a more thorough look at the platform in our 360 degree look at Office 365 ebook. Check it out!

Susan Gosselin is a Senior Content Writer for Integris. A career communicator and business journalist, she's written extensively on IT topics and trends for IT service providers like Iconic IT and ProCoders Ukraine, as well as business publications such as Technologyadvice.com, Datamation.com, The Lane Report and many others. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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