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10 Microsoft Outlook Tips and Tricks

Did you know that Microsoft Outlook can work as your personal assistant? Even if you’ve been using the program for years, it can still surprise you with impressively wide functionality.

If you want to take full advantage of Microsoft Outlook but don’t know how, the below tips can help you get started. By learning how to use this program’s not-so-obvious features, you can streamline your work process and save valuable time.


1. Set the Rules

Microsoft Outlook can help you sort your emails by setting specific message-handling rules. These rules can:

  • Move the message to a specific folder
  • Assign a category
  • Delete a message
  • Forward a message to contacts/contact group
  • Reply to a message by using a specific template

The messages will be sorted upon arrival at the mailbox. By the time you open the program, all your emails will be organized.

2. Pin Favorite Folders

Microsoft Outlook automatically alphabetizes your folders. Even if you use the folder often, you still have to stroll down to search for it.

The program allows you to pin your favorite folder, so it appears on top of the inbox folder. This way you can access it quickly and eliminate scrolling, searching, and unnecessary clicking.

One of the ways to add a folder to favorites is to drag it to the top of the folder column.

3. Convert an Email to a Task

Many people use the inbox as their “to-do” list. This approach can lead to missed messages and overlooked tasks. Microsoft Outlook allows you to turn an email into a task.

One of the ways to do it is to hover over the email and press the little flag icon. Then by right-clicking, you can adjust the task options and set reminders.

4. Convert an Email to an Appointment

This works similar to converting emails into tasks. By dragging the email message to the calendar in the navigation area, you get the option to move the message and create an appointment.

When editing the appointment, you can turn it into a meeting and even invite attendees, who’ll get email reminders.

5. Read Aloud

This option allows you to hear the text of the email while reading it. This can be especially helpful when you are pressed for time and need to deal with other tasks.

The program can read the message aloud, so your attention doesn’t have to be glued to the screen while checking the inbox.

6. Dictation

This feature is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers with the Outlook desktop app. The “dictate” button is located inside the message.

With this feature, you can dictate the message instead of typing. To insert punctuation, say it aloud (e.g. “comma”).  Then you can fix mistakes with a keyboard.

7. Delayed Delivery

Do you have ready-to-go emails but need to wait for a certain date to send them? Don’t leave them hanging in your drafts folder. Microsoft Outlook allows you to set the date and time for sending an email, even if it’s weeks or months in the future.

To do it, choose the “options” tab inside the email message, press the “delay delivery” button, and choose the desired date and time.

8. Quick Steps

This feature allows you to do multiple actions (like moving a message to a folder or sending a message to a team) with an email with just one click. It’s an excellent option to eliminate repetitive actions with your emails.

Unlike Rules that apply to the email automatically once it arrives, Quick Steps allow you to choose when to use them.

9. Quick Parts

With Quick Parts, you can save pieces of content to reuse in your future emails. It can save you a tremendous amount of time by eliminating repetitive typing.

To do it, highlight the text you want to reuse, go to “insert”, and then click the “Quick Parts” button. You can save the selection to the Quick Parts Gallery for further use.

10. Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar is one of the highly underused Outlook time-savers. This toolbar is located above the ribbon bar.

There are several ways to add icons to the toolbar according to your needs. The quickest one is to choose the “customize quick access toolbar” icon (which sits on Quick Access Toolbar) and select the necessary options from the dropdown menu.

To go deeper into using the above tips and tricks and implementing new Microsoft Outlook time-savers, check out this video or contact us at any convenient time.