google-site-verification=-pRHAkfdKoA5lffmqzjmM7GPLWHD8HSZS3Xh7qngLeg 30 Ultimate Microsoft Outlook Features for 2021

 
Those who are dependent on Microsoft Office Outlook for sending and receiving their emails but want to learn some more cool tips and tricks regarding outlook than this post will help them a lot. In this post we have discussed about 30 cool features of Microsoft Office Outlook that will enhance your outlook using experience also make you more smarter and different than other user. So lets get started. 


#1 Dark Mode

 

Outlook has a dark mode feature. To set it go to 

File> Options> under the General tab look at this section to personalize your copy of Microsoft Office. Here change the theme to black and hit OK. This sets it in dark mode. 

You have one additional option here where you can turn on and off the background for your preview pane. To set it back go to the same location and change it from black to color or other. That's dark mode.

 

#2 Quick Steps

 

Quick Steps applies multiple actions at the same time to email messages. It's available from the Home tab in this group called Quick Steps. It comes with predefined quick steps for various things that you might want to perform on an email like sending them to your manager, sending them to your team, or doing a reply and delete of a message. 

You can also create new ones. Within the Quick Steps you give it a name, then you can choose an action. The actions available are many, including moving to folders, deleting messages, marking them as read or unread, flagging them, or sending new messages and forwarding them to other people. You can even create a new meeting appointment from your message. 

So in this example, let's create a new one where we're going to take any incoming message that we select and move it to a folder. I'm going to choose from the folder list and I'm going to add another action to mark the message as read. I can also assign a shortcut key so we'll do Ctrl-Shift-1 and create a tooltip text. it's given us a name but you can change that if you want to. Click Finish and it adds the quick step to your quick step menu. 

Now when I select an email, choose that quick step, it moved it to my Save folder and marked it as read. Let's bring that message back and I'll show you if I hit Ctrl-Shift-1 it performs the same task. So if you want to be more efficient managing email in Outlook automate some of your steps with Quick Steps.

 

 #3 Add Calendars

 

Normally, when you're in Outlook you can come down here to the calendar at the bottom and you can see your list of calendars available. Turn them on and off as needed and you can right click on My Calendars to add new calendars from an address book or from the Internet but there's a better method to add calendars and to get them you'll need to go to your Office.com login. 

Once you're logged into Office.com go to your Outlook Web App and click on the calendar. At the bottom there is an option here to add calendars. This brings up a menu where you can add your personal calendars like you normally can in the Outlook client and you can edit those calendars and adjust them however you need to but there's also options down here.

 I can choose School calendars. If you put in a zip code, choose a city. It'll show the schools available in that area. You can also choose Holidays. Pick a Country and it adds that country's calendar. TeamSnap allows coaches, managers, and other groups to create their own team calendars and share them. You can choose Sports teams. Pick a sports league, search for a team name, and add their schedule to your calendar. You can also choose TV. 

Pick your time zone, select a channel, and you can add your favorite TV shows calendar. Once those are complete close out of your office web apps and those calendars will now be available on your Outlook client. Turn on any that you want and you'll be able to see the calendar with the data.

 

#4 Drag to Calendar

 

Let's say you get an email and you want to create an appointment around that email. Just drag your email down to the calendar, let go, and it opens up an appointment schedule with the data from your email. Just set the time and date and other pertinent information, save and close it, and now on your calendar you'll see an appointment schedule with the information from that email.

 

#5 @Mentions

 

Just like Twitter, Facebook, and other social media apps @mentions has been added to Outlook. It's used to give attention to an individual recipient of your email. It works like this. When I create a new email message, type in my subject line, when you type @ anywhere in the body of the text it brings up a list of contacts. 

Select one from the list and you'll notice that it automatically added that contact into the to list. Complete my message and when I hit Send the recipient will get the email and you can immediately tell that this was an @Mention because it's got the @ symbol in the upper-right corner of the message. That's an indicator that my name has been referenced in the message. You also have the ability to filter based on mentioned mail to see only the messages that you've been mentioned directly. @Mentions is a simple way to get people's attention when you send email.

 

#6 Search Folders

 

Search Folders are a handy way to get access to filtered mail with a click of a button. Search Folders is located at the bottom of your folder list. Just right-click to create a new search folder and choose one of the options from the list. 

For example, if we want to show just unread mail hit OK and it filters out just the unread mail. Let's create one for just mail that contains attachments and it filters the list of just attachments. You can now click between these to select different mail filters. If you want to remove one just right-click, delete the folder. 

That doesn't delete the mail. It just deletes the search folder and you can clear that search folder by going back to your inbox. You can do quite complex searches by scrolling down and choosing a custom search folder. Click Choose, give it a name, select the criteria. This gives you the ability to 

  • search for keywords, 
  • look at the subject line only, 
  • frequently used text fields, 
  • pick who it's from, who it's sent to, 
  • only items that are read or unread, 
  • the importance level, the case, or the size, 

And even in the Advanced you can select from all of the fields available in Outlook and filter just on those so it's very powerful. So if you want quick access to filter out your mail use Search Folders.  

 

#7 Mailbox Cleanup

 

There are multiple locations you can clean up your data in your mailbox. The first one is under the Home tab. There is a cleanup here. You can clean up conversations, folders, or folders and subfolders. When you run any of these it removes redundant messages so that it's only storing one copy of any particular set of data. 

A second location for mailbox cleanup is under 

File> Account Settings> Account Settings 

and on the individual email account double-click, go to More Settings, 

click Advanced and Outlook Data File Settings. 

This brings up an option to compact your Outlook data file. When you run Compact it compresses that file and gets rid of a lot of wasted space. Do the same thing on each one of your email accounts. 

The third option for mailbox cleanup is under File, Tools, Mailbox Cleanup. Here you can view the mailbox size and get an idea of how much storage space is being used in each one of your folders. That gives you a clue of what messages you should delete. 

You can also search for messages over a certain date or larger than a certain size and individually delete those messages if you no longer need them. And finally, you can empty your deleted items folder if you don't need to keep those stored.

 

#8 Quick Access Toolbar

 

In the upper-left corner of Outlook there is a Quick Access Toolbar. It defaults to send and receive all folders and undo. When you click on them it performs that task. To the right is an option to customize the Quick Access Toolbar. Click that and you have different options you can enable. If I wanted to enable printing it adds the Print icon to the menu and now I can click that button to print my email. You can also come down here to the More Commands and select from this list of popular commands or choose alternative menu options and anything that you find in the list, click on it, and add it to your Quick Access Toolbar. Ht OK and now it's on your menu. The Quick Access Toolbar is a great way to customize frequently used tasks.

 

#9 Insert Calendar

 

If you want to send somebody a copy of your calendar of events create a new email, go to Insert, select Calendar from the menu, and it brings up this popup message where you can select the calendar that you want to send. 

The date range over a period of time, or you can specify dates, the amount of detail you want to show, just the availability only, limited details, or the full details. 

Once you've made all these settings hit OK, and it inserts your calendar into the email body. Now just address it, Send it, and they have a copy of your calendar. 

It also includes the ICS file which can easily be clicked on and imported into their calendar. Information that's displayed shows the calendar, the day, and free and busy times that you've got marked on your calendar.

 

#10 Shared Calendars

 

You can easily share your calendar information to other people externally or to other users in your organization if you have Office 365 in a corporate environment. The best way to share is to go to the Office.com, login, and click on your Outlook app, then go down to the calendar section and you'll see the calendars that you have available. 

You can click on one to the right of that calendar and go to Sharing Permissions or you can choose Share up here in the upper-right corner. It takes you to the same place. 

If I want to share this calendar to somebody externally just enter the email address here and then you have a choice of what kind of detail you want that person to view. They can view just the busy information, you can include titles and locations, or you can give them all the details. Click Share and it sends an email to that person to notify them. 

For people in your organization you can also set what you want them to view. Not shared, busy information, locations, or all, or even give them the ability to edit. Once you've got all these settings just close that window and now your calendar is shared. 

The email received will look something like this. So the recipient that you send access to your calendar will get this message to accept and view the calendar. That opens a web link to your Outlook calendar showing the calendar link and the name. 

I'm going to save that and now I can see the other calendars listed where I can view the details. If you want to get rid of the share just click on the options again, go to Sharing Permissions and remove that entry and change the sharing option.

 

 #11 Developer Menu

 

There is a hidden Developer menu tab available in Outlook. To enable it go to File, Options, Customize Ribbon and scroll down to this list on the right and check this box for Developer. When you hit OK that adds the Developer tab to your menu. 

In there is options so that you can create and edit macros and set the security. You can also see your COM add-ins and turn on and off these add-ins from here and you can see forms in the forms library or you can click on one and edit it. Just be aware that there is a hidden developer menu available in the options.

 

#12 Download Addresses

 

If you have an Office 365 corporate account you would be using the Global Address List and sometimes it gets out of sync. If you go up to the Send/Receive and click on the Send/Receive groups there's an option here to Download Address Book. 

That gives you a choice of downloading changes since the last Send/Receive. I'm going to turn that checkbox off and you'll notice here that the address book it's pointing to is the Global Address List. This is the shared group for everybody in your organization. 

When you hit OK it does a re-syncing of those contacts. So if you're missing any contacts it's a good idea to perform this task.

 

#13 Quick Parts

 

Quick Parts allows you to save frequently used text and recall it later in a message. It works on new email messages. So let's say we have a quote here like this one from Albert Einstein and we want to save that phrase as a Quick Part to recall it later. 

Just highlight it, click the Insert, and go over here to Quick Parts and there's an option to save this selection to the Quick Part Gallery. When you're saving it you give it a name, you can save it to the Quick Parts Gallery, and you can put it into a category. 

So let's say we want to call this Quotes. You can give it a description and then for the options you can insert it as just that content or you can have it be its own paragraph or its own page. Hit OK and now when you're typing an any message anywhere just come back to the Insert, go to Quick Parts, and you'll see your saved Quick Parts in the list. Click on it and it inserts it into your message. 

If you want to edit the Quick Parts that are already are there just come down and right-click on one and you can edit the properties to make changes however you want or you can right-click and organize and delete all of your Quick Parts which brings up a menu and shows you all the Quick Parts you have saved. 

You can delete them, you can insert more. Once you're done close that. Quick Parts are handy if you want to save any kind of frequently used text and it doesn't matter what it is it can be your name, it can be a quote, it can be a full paragraph, or a page of documentation that you want to send to people in an email. It's a quick way to retrieve that information.

 

#14 Export to File

 

Outlook has an option to export data to a file. This is useful for data backups or for transfer to other programs. You can access it by going to File, Open & Export, and choose the Import/Export button. Here you have choices to Import from other programs or Export to a file, which is what we're going to choose. 

There are two types of files that can be exported; Comma Separated Values which export the data into a text format that's easily readable or can be imported into Excel and other applications. There's also an Outlook Data File which is a special coding just for Outlook that stores your data including all your calendar entries and email messages. Choose that and hit Next and it defaults to back up your inbox with the check mark here to include subfolders. 

You can also choose different folders specifically or you can choose the entire mailbox. There are filters available if you want to filter on just certain keywords or messages to or from a specific individual. These choices are similar to what you have in the Search Folders that we looked at earlier. Once you've set your filtering hit OK. 

Next it defaults your My Documents folder and creates a backup PST file. You have options here to replace duplicates or you can allow the duplicates to be created. Once you're done hit Finish and it exports your data. When it's done you'll be able to use that backup PST file to import to other programs or copy off onto another storage location for backup purposes.

 

#15 Smart Lookup

 

Outlook has a smart lookup feature available for keywords or phrases. All you have to do in a message is highlight a word or phrase, right-click on it, choose Smart Lookup from the menu, and it brings up the Smart Lookup pane. 

It contains more information about the word or phrase including definitions, Wikipedia articles, and top related searches from the web. So if you want more information about a word or phrase use Smart Lookup.

 

#16 Junk Mail

 

Outlook has a number of junk mail filtering features. It works when you have an Office 365 or an Exchange Server email account. You'll know that if you have this Junk Email folder. When you're on a message and you think it's junk mail just right-click on it, come down here to Junk, and you have choices to Block the Sender. 

If it's not junk mail you can choose Never Block Sender. You can do it based on the domain or an entire group. Let's say this is junk mail. Let's Block the Sender. What it does is it moves that email into your junk email folder and now that email address is going to be blocked for any future emails. 

If you find something in junk mail and it shouldn't be right-click again, go down to Junk, and choose this option Not Junk. It moves it back to your inbox folder and it marks your email address as trusted. If you right-click come down to Junk and go to Junk Email Options, you can also set the level of junk email protection you want. Low means that it will move most obvious junk mail to the junk folder. 

You can set it high or you can set it to safe lists only which means only mail from people or domains in your safe senders list, and you have some other options here to permanently delete the suspected junk mail instead of moving it to the junk folder, and you can have it warn you about suspicious domain names. 

There's also a safe senders list and you'll see that our address that we just added to the safe list is there and you can add other email addresses or full domain names and even import those from a file. There's Safe Recipients which means any email that sent to that address will be safe. You also have a Block Senders list and remove those if you don't want them to be there. 

There's also an International option. This allows you to block top-level domains from different countries or pick specific languages to block based on their encoding in the email so you have a wide variety of email filtering options for junk mail. Remember this is only available if you have an Office 365 or Exchange email account. 

It won't be true of any IMAP or POP3 email addresses. The other good news is Microsoft keeps track of junk mail on their side based on the junk mail that's coming through their servers and when you mark junk mail Microsoft gets that information to share with others.

 

#17 Offline Mode

 

Normally when you're in Outlook you'll see down here in the bottom that you're connected to your email. If you get this message showing Working Offline that's an indicator that you've lost Internet connectivity or access to your email server. 

You can double-check this by going to the Send/Receive tab and there is a button here for working offline. Click that and it should reconnect. This will normally happen if you are disconnecting a laptop and taking it with you or you're on an airplane where there's no internet access but it can happen anytime during the day in a normal office environment if it loses connectivity to the server. Click that button to go back online. 

If it doesn't work then there is a problem with your connectivity and it's most likely your Internet connection or something on your network. Just be aware of that option.

 

#18 Out of Office

 

Outlook provides two different methods for sending out of office replies and it depends on the type of account you have. If you have an IMAP/SMTP/POP mail account like this yahoo account, when you go to File you'll have to create a rule and there won't be an out-of-office automatic reply option, but if you have an Exchange Server or Office 365 account, when you go to file there's an Automatic 

Replies option. To set that one click the button, enable your automatic replies, and you can specify a time range, put in your message, and specify your message for outside your organization. 

I don't normally recommend turning this on because it will reply to spam messages as well and they will confirm that you have a valid email address but if you choose to turn that on. You can put another message in there. Once that's set, hit OK and you'll see that your automatic reply is turned on. Once that date range is complete your automatic reply will turn off or you can come in here and manually turn it off again. 

For the other type of account you'll need to create a template and use the automatic rule process to send replies and be aware that Outlook has to be open and running in order for those replies to be sent. The first step you need to do is create a template of the reply so go to a new email, put in your subject line, and enter your reply email, and then save it as a template. It will default to your templates folder directory. Hit Save and then close that message. 

Now go to File, Manage Rules and Alerts and we're gonna create a new rule and we'll apply it to messages I receive. we'll do it for all messages so we'll skip this and just say Yes to All and we're going to reply using a specific template. The template will be the one that we created which is available in the user templates file system. Select it, hit Open, hit Next and you can do exceptions if you want to. Otherwise hit Finish and OK. That rule is now enabled for reply automatically when outlook is open and running. 

To turn it off go back into Rules, Manage Your Rules, and turn off the one that you created, and hit OK. And those are the two methods for automatic replies for Out of Office.

 

#19 Get Add-ins

 

Outlook has a new feature available to get add-ins from the web. Off the home tab you'll see this Get Add-ins icon if you have an Office 365 or Exchange email account. Click on it and you'll see a list of add-ins available for download from the web. 

There are thousands of add-ins to choose from third-party locations as well as some that Microsoft has developed. You can also see a list of the add-ins you've already installed and ones that are managed by your admin that automatically install into Outlook as a client. 

In addition to add-ins there is a Connectors which contains third-party connectors for Outlook as well. The difference between Add-ins and Connectors is the direction of the data. Add-ins supply data to external third parties whereas Connectors pull data from external third parties into Outlook. To see how to install these add-ins be sure to visit my Top 10 Outlook Free Add-ins video. I'll provide the link above.

 

#20 Change From Address

 

 

If you have more than one email address in your Outlook, when you create a new email you can choose a different From address to send your email. Whatever you send the recipient will see that From address and when they reply that's what address it will return the email to. 

You can also set the default address under File, Account Settings, Account Settings and choose which one of your accounts you want to make the default. This makes it easy to manage multiple email accounts from one Outlook client. Congratulations you've made it through 2/3 of the tips and tricks list.

 

#21 AutoComplete

 

 

When you send a message to an email recipient Outlook stores the email address in an AutoComplete list. The next time you use that email address Outlook makes a recommendation and if you type part of a name in it will search that AutoComplete list and find names that match and make those recommendations as well. 

Sometimes this list gets confused and it stores an email address that's no longer valid. There's a couple things you can do to clear that. You can just click the X to the right of any recommendation if you think it's incorrect and that will remove it from the list. 

The other option you have is to go to the AutoComplete list and clear the entire list. That's located under File, Options, Mail, and if you scroll down to the group that says Send Messages this check mark right here is what turns on the AutoComplete list, and to the right you can empty the list and then you'll be able to start over with a fresh list of email addresses. 

Another feature to be aware of is Ctrl-K. Whenever you're in the To location for an email address, if you start typing a name and you hit Ctrl-K it brings up names that match that out of your Global Address List and you can select those from the list as well. If this list appears to be missing names then go back to #12 in this post and download the addresses again to make sure that that's updated properly. That will ensure that AutoComplete is working properly.

 

 

#22 Multiple Time Zones

 

 

If you work with people in different time zones whether it be a different state, a different country, you can set multiple time zones in your Outlook calendar. Currently on the left column here you'll see the time on any week or day view of your calendar but if you go to File, Options, Calendar and come down to the group for time zones, you can see that you have multiple time zones available. Let's give our home location a name and select a second time zone. 

We'll pick Eastern Time and call it NY. Pick a third time zone and let's select something far away, all the way down here to Guam, give it a name. You also have an option to swap the time zones which basically rotates the order of these time zones. 

Once that's set hit OK and now on your calendar you'll see the multiple time zones listed, including the name of the location for each one of those time zones. It doesn't change the way calendar entries are recorded or when you send an invite to somebody else but it does show you the reference for the time in that other location so you know what time it is there.

 

#23 Keyboard Shortcuts

 

Outlook has a number of keyboard shortcuts but I'm going to show you the ones that I think are the most effective and easy to use. You can switch views between these items down here at the bottom by doing Ctrl-1 for Outlook mail, Ctrl-2 for the calendar, Ctrl-3 for Contacts, and Ctrl-4 for Tasks. It works with the number associated with the order that these items are in the list. 

If you're in your calendar try hitting Ctrl-G and search for a date. You can pick one from the list and go there directly but you can also say Next Thursday, or you can say Christmas, or how about the Last Monday in April. Ctrl-G has a lot of options. 

Use F3 to bring up the Search. Use F9 to Send and Receive your email. If you're highlighted on a message Ctrl-U marks it unread. Ctrl-Q marks it read. Ctrl-N creates a new message. Ctrl-R does a reply. Ctrl-Shift-R replies to all. And Ctrl-F forwards the message. If you create a new message click on the body and you can do Ctrl-K to insert a hyperlink. And if you've typed a message you can hit F7 to do the spell check. That's a peek at some of the best shortcuts for Outlook.

 

 

#24 Mark Deleted Items Read

 

You find it annoying that whenever you delete an unread email it leaves it marked unread in the trash? There is a solution for that. Go to File, Options, Mail and go all the way to the bottom in the Other section. 

There's an option here to Mark messages as read when deleted. Turn that on, hit OK, and now when you have an unread message and you delete it it's marked as read.

 

#25 Read Aloud

 

Outlook can read your emails. If you click on an email and click this Read Aloud button it'll read this quote. You can also highlight just a portion of it and read it. It's got a menu option here where you can change the settings. Y

ou can speed it up a little bit and also change the voice. Edison. To enable the Read Aloud make sure that you go to File, Options, Ease of Access, and check this box for Show Read Aloud. If you don't have that available it's not in your version of Outlook.

 

 

#26 Ignore Conversation

 

When you open an email in the upper-left corner there's an Ignore option. Click that and it will ignore that conversation and all future messages will be moved to the trash folder. Just click Ignore Conversation and it moves it to your trash. 

Any new messages coming in will go to the trash on that same topic. If you want to recover that you can go into the trash, click on the message, click Ignore again, and this time we're gonna Stop Ignoring Conversation. 

That moves the message back to your inbox and allows them to be received from this point forward. Now, unlike Junk Mail it only affects that specific conversation so you don't have to worry about deleting mail from other people that you want to receive from, but it's great to ignore that conversation.

 

#27 Dictation

 

If you have Office 365 you can dictate your message instead of typing it. On a new email you can click on the subject area, click on this icon up here to dictate - this is my subject period. Click in the body of the message and you can dictate there - this is a test of the dictation exclamation point, newline, smiley face. Dictation even supports multiple languages. So if you want to save some time from typing use Dictation.

 

#28 Save to Desktop

 

Did you know that you can save any item in Outlook to your desktop for access later. For example, here's an email. If I drag and drop that out on my desktop, now you can open it even if you're not in Outlook. 

You can do the same thing with your calendar entries, or your contacts. Even if Outlook is closed I can still open those. So for quick access to Outlook items save them to your desktop.

 

#29 Edit Message

 

Did you know that you can edit the subject line of a message that you've received. Just open the message, type your changes, and hit File, Save. Now when you close that message your new subject line is displayed. 

You can use this to correct some spelling or make the subject a little more clear. You can't change the message body though so it's only going to work for the message subject line.

 

#30 3D Models

 

You can insert some really cool 3D models into your emails. Just go to a new message and click on the body of the message, go to the Insert menu, and select 3D Models from the list, choose from online sources, and there's a bunch of different categories of 3D models. 

Pick one of those categories and then select the model that you want to insert into your message. This brings the 3D model in, where you can reposition it any way you want, and resize it as needed, and you've inserted a 3D model into your message. 

Just be cautious because the size of these 3D models can be very large which makes your emails very large to send as well.  

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