Uncle Jim's Microsoft Office Tutorial and Tips - Outlook 2000 Tips and Tricks

Microsoft Outlook Tips

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Change That Font

To change the Default Font used by Outlook Express simply click on Tools and then Stationery from the menu bar. Here you can set the Default font for both Mail and News. Using this technique, you can make your email more lively and/or individualistic.

Change That Sound

Its simple to change the notification sound you hear when new email arrives. Simply go to Control Panel and open the Sounds applet. From the list of "Events," choose "New Mail Notification." In Sound, you can browse for .wav files, and preview them. When you've found one you like, click OK.

Change The Data File Location

To change the location of your data files used by Outlook Express, first move the files to the new location. Your old files can be found at \Windows \ Application Data \ Microsoft \ Outlook Express.

You should simply copy the files first, and make sure OE is correctly storing your files in the new location. Then you can delete the old files.

* Close Outlook Express
* Start the Registry Editor
* Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Outlook Express
* Find the value named "Store Root" in the right-hand pane
* Double-click and enter the complete path to the new location
* Close the Registry Editor

Change Your Perspective

If you’d rather see a list of recurring appointments instead of the standard Day/Week/Month view that Outlook presents you with, head to the View menu and its Current View option. Here, you can opt to see events, active appointments, recurring appointments and more, including your own personalized views.

Destination: Mail

If you want to be certain that a message has been received (and/or read), go to the Options tab. At the bottom, you will see Tracking Options. Simply make sure that this box is checked if you wish to be notified when the message has been delivered, or when it has been read, or both. Now you'll know whether or not that cute accountant in Payroll is reading your love notes or simply ignoring you

Ditch That Splash Screen
If you want Outlook Express to start without showing the Splash screen, then follow these simple steps:

* Start the Registry Editor

* Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Outlook Express

* Right-click an open area in the right pane, and select New and then DWORD Value

* Name it NoSplash

* Double-click this entry and add the value 1

* Exit Registry Editor

To start showing the splash screen again, simply rename the value to 0.

Filter The News

Newsgroups are usually filled to the brim these days, so you might want to use Outlook's filtering option to view only the postings in which you are interested.

Select Tools and then Newsgroup Filters from the main menu. Click Add to create a new filter. In the Where To Filter section, select the newsgroups you want to filter, then add your own info to the "Do not show messages that meet the following criteria" section. For example, if you know that a certain "nerd" use the same email address for all his postings, enter that address in the From line. If a certain news thread has become long and annoying, you can avoid it by typing the subject line in the Subject box. You may also want to choose to avoid messages over a certain age.

Mail Back-Up Made Easy

To back up your mail message files, simply follow these steps:

* First, review your mail message folders and delete any unneeded messages

* Click the File menu, select Folder and then Compact All Folders

* Find the files with the extension .mbx and .idx on your computer. These files are usually located in a folder under C:\Windows \ Application Data \ Microsoft \ Outlook Express \ Mail. The files might be in a different folder if you did not accept the default folders during setup.

* Copy the files to a backup folder on your computer, a floppy disk, or a network drive. Now you have a 'safe' archive of all your mail messages.

Make That Link Live

You can easily make any part of a message a hyperlink. Simply click on Compose or, if reading a message you want to reply to, click on Reply. Type in your link and highlight the part you want to be 'clickable.' While the selection is highlighted, click on Insert on the mail tool bar and select hyperlink from the drop-down menu. Select what type of hyperlink you want and then type or paste in where you want to send your reader. Note: The link won't work until the message has been sent/posted.

Newsgroup Server Time Out

If you ever get an error message that says your connection has timed-out and that you have been disconnected from the News Server, adjust your timeout settings by following the steps below.

* In Outlook Express News, select Accounts from the Tools menu.
* Select the appropriate account.
* Press Properties and select the Advanced tab.
* Adjust the Slider to set your Server timeout.

Don't Forget The Holidays

You can easily add holidays from dozens of countries to your calendar. Simply click Options from the Tools menu and select the Preferences tab. Then, after clicking the Calendar Options button, find the Add Holidays button, place check marks in the appropriate boxes, and click OK.

Save And Use Those Cool Images

Did you know you could easily save cool images you encounter while surfing the Web and then reuse them in your email? Simply right click on the image you want and choose "Save Image As." Either accept the default name, or give it one of your own. Save the image to your hard drive, and when you want to send it to someone else, simply copy and paste into the body of your email text.

Save That Sound

Saving sounds you encounter on the Web or that have been emailed to you couldn't be easier Just right click on the sound file you want to save and choose the "Save As" option. With OE5, the correct graphic extension will be applied automatically.

Save That Stationery

Outlook makes saving a file as stationery very easy. While reading the mail message or news message with the stationery you'd like to keep, simply click on "File" in the Outlook Express tool bar and select "Save As Stationery."

You will be prompted to provide a name for the file.

Send That Mail HTML

Did you know Outlook Express allows you to create and view email in HTML instead of plain text? To create an HTML message, click the Compose Message button on the main menu. In the New Message window, select Rich Text (HTML) from the Format menu. A new toolbar appears that contains standard HTML formatting buttons for fonts, lists, bullets, lines, links and images. You can use these buttons to create slick HTML email that your recipients can view either in HTML-ready email programs or in a Web browser.

You can permanently change the settings (to send all your email (or news) in HTML or Plain Text) by selecting Tools > Options from the menu, on the Send tab you can choose how you want to send your email and news.

Sending An Excel File Via Email

If you like, you can send an Excel workbook through email directly from Excel. You must, however, be using Microsoft Outlook or Exchange. Just follow these simple steps.

* From the File menu, select Send To.
* Click Mail Recipient.
* Now, address the blank email form that appears and send it.

View Those Replies

If you would like to view only those replies to your posts in a newsgroup, then use this simple process. From the View menu, choose Current View > Replies to My Posts. This makes it easy to see only the responses to your posts, which is especially helpful if you're seeking answers to specific questions from the users in a particular newsgroup.

You Too Can Become A Journalist

Did you know there's a virtual diary that can track projects; contacts; or categories, including e-mail messages, meetings, and task requests? It's called the Journal, and although the Journal icon appears right in the Outlook bar, it must be turned on and told what to do. Simply open the Journal icon, click Tools, then Options. In Outlook 97, click the Journal tab; in Outlook 98, click the Preferences tab, followed by the Journal Options button. Outlook 2000 users will find the main Journal icon under the My Shortcuts area of the Outlook bar.

Abbreviate Those Suckers

When entering appointments in the Calendar, you can save lots of time by typing abbreviations and allowing Outlook to fill in the rest.

For example, if you want to enter a 6:00 P.M. meeting in the Calendar, open a new appointment window and type 600p. You can also use phrases such as "tomorrow" or "next Monday," and Outlook will automatically insert the correct date.

Change Your Title Bar

You can easily change the text on the Title Bar by following the steps below.

* Start the Registry Editor
* Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Outlook Express
* Select Edit from the menu
* Select New and then String Value
* Call it WindowTitle
* Now double-click this entry and insert your text
* Close the Registry editor and restart Outlook

Be Very Carefull With This One

Delayed Mail

Did you know you could ask Outlook 98 to hold a message in your Outbox until the date and time you specify?

* Simply compose your new message as usual, but before sending it off click the Options button.

* Select "Do not deliver before," then click the down arrow and select a date.

* Click Close.

Outlook will send the message as soon as the specified date and time arrive.

Import Those Addresses

With Outlook, you can import address books from other mail programs quickly and easily. Simply follow the steps below.

* Open the File menu.
* Select Import.
* Click Address Book.
* Select the program you wish to import from.
* Click the Import button.

Import Those Messages

With Outlook, you can import messages from other mail programs quickly and easily. Simply follow the steps below.

* Open the File menu
* Select Import
* Click Messages
* Use the wizard to complete the process

Move Backwards Shift-Spacebar

Simply press Shift-spacebar to jump to the beginning of the current or previous message. If this tip doesn't work, select Tools, Options. Select the Other tab, click the Preview Pane button, and make sure "Single key reading using space bar" is selected.

Page Down With The Space Bar

Try this next time you're viewing multiple messages in the preview pane: To scroll down through the message a page at a time, press the spacebar. From the end of a message, press spacebar, and you jump to the beginning of the next message.

If this tip doesn't work, select Tools, Options, select the Other tab, click the Preview Pane button, and make sure "Single key reading using space bar" is selected.

Re-size Those Columns

Tired of sizing the columns of your email folders manually to accommodate wide entries? Don't waste time clicking and dragging; instead, let Outlook autosize your columns for you.

Right-click any column, select Best Fit, and Outlook enlarges (or shrinks) the column to fit the widest entry.

Send Someone A Page

Instead of sending a link to someone through email, why not send the whole Web page? You can easily send the entire HTML source code to an email recipient with an HTML capable mail client, and they can view the entire Web page. In Internet Explorer, simply select Mail and News under the Tools pulldown menu from the toolbar. Select Send Page.

Talk To The Hand

Sending out a message to lots of recipients, but don't want to deal with the replies? Outlook 98 can help direct responses to someone else:

* Compose the message as usual, but before sending it, select View, Options.

* Under Delivery Options, select Have Replies Sent To.

* Click the Select Names button, select a recipient, and click the Reply To button.

* Click OK, then click Close and send the message off as usual.

No more nasty replies Tastes great with Spam, and keeps all those "I'm on vacation," automated responses from messing up your inbox

View That HTML

Did you know you could easily view the source code of any HTML message you receive with Outlook? To quickly view the HTML source code of the message you are currently viewing, press Ctrl + F2. Now you can see any hidden comments or formatting, or find embedded image/sound titles for later reference.

Work Offline

Did you know that if you're working offline in Internet Explorer, working in Outlook Express will be offline as well? Give it a try You can compose drafts, read email, or re-arrange and organize your inbox

Working The Swing Shift

If you're not working 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, and you'd like to change the "working hours" in Outlook, give this a try:

* Choose Tools/Options from the menu bar and click Calendar Options.

* Select the days of the week you work and change the Start Time and End Time

Now Outlook works when you do

Add Background Images

With Outlook Express 5, you can add background images to any e-mail:

* In the New Message window, choose Format + Background + Picture.

* In the Background Picture dialog box, click Browse and choose a picture from your disk drive.

* Click OK.

Create E-Mail Messages Offline

To create e-mail messages quickly, without loading Outlook, try this:

* Select Start>>Run.

* Type "mailto:" (without quotes) in the Open box.

* Click OK.

* Compose as usual, and click Send.

No bother, no fuss

Delete Those Holidays

Want to delete all those old Holidays at once? Here's how:

* Choose the View menu and select Current View, Events

* Click the Location column and sort the holidays by country

* Click the first holiday you want to delete, then hold down Shift as you click the last

* Right-click the selection and choose Delete

Don't Open Suspect Attachments

Outlook is notorious for being susceptible to viruses spread in the form of attachments, and then using your address book to automatically forward the virus to everyone you regularly email. For your own safety (and the safety of your friends and business associates) be extremely leery of opening email attachments with strange suffixes (.vbs, .exe, etc.) even from people you know.

If you receive an attachment that you're not expecting, double check with the sender before detaching it or opening it. If you receive an attachment that you know to be a virus, delete it immediately It also pays to stay abreast of new viruses and other issues by checking frequently at the Microsoft Outlook web site.

Sure, you might miss the latest joke and/or naughty .gif photo, but at least you and your data will be safe


If you try to close a message without sending it, Outlook Express asks whether you want to save it to the Drafts folder. You can return to this draft any time by following these simple steps:

* Click the Drafts folder.

* Double-click the message you're interested in.

* Edit the message, then click Send.

Email Follow Up

Did you know you could tell Outlook to remind you later to respond to an important e-mail? Simply follow these easy steps:

* Right-click the message.

* Select Flag For Follow Up from the shortcut menu.

* Select the type of action you want to perform from the Flag To drop-down list.

* From the Reminder drop-down calendar, select the date Outlook should remind you.

* Click OK.

Holiday Madness

Did you know you can type the word "tomorrow" in a date field and Outlook will automatically insert the correct date? It's like magic You can also type words like "yesterday," "today," "next Friday," or even "Christmas" and Outlook will insert the correct date. However, this trick only works with holidays that fall on the same date every year.

Limit That Download

Don't want to download huge attachments while on the road? Who does? Try this instead:

* Choose Tools + Inbox Assistant.

* Inside the Inbox Assistant, click the Add button.

* Select the Larger Than box and set this number to the desired limit (800 KB, for example).

* Select Do Not Download from the Server.

* Click OK twice.

Peek Under The Hood

While the Properties command is not available when you right-click a message in Outlook 98, it IS available from an open message window. To view a message's properties, double-click the message to open it (in a separate window), then pull down the File menu and select Properties.

Quick Toggle

Do you keep a folder list hidden, to allow for maximum viewing of your message list? If you want the folder list back on the desktop, you don't have to go to the View menu. Simply click the name of the folder currently open to display the drop-down folder list -- it'll have a small down arrow next to it. When the folder list opens, click the pushpin in its upper-left corner to make it stick. When you're done, click the "X" in the folder list's upper-right corner to send it back into hiding.

Save That Space

To save space on your hard drive, you can have Outlook empty the Deleted Items folder automatically each time you close Outlook. To activate this option, select Tools>>Options>>Other. In the General section select the checkbox for Empty the Deleted Items Folder Upon Exiting.

Size Those Folders

Here's an easy way to see how much space an e-mail folder is eating up on your hard drive:

* In the Folder Bar or Outlook Bar, right-click the folder.

* Select Properties.

* Read the size (in parentheses) next to the number of files in the folder.

Slide Show

When someone sends you a message with multiple pictures attached, why bother with opening and closing them one by one? Simply view the pictures as a slide show:

* Choose Tools>>Options, and click on the Read tab.

* Select Show Multiple Pictures as a Slide-Show.

* Make sure that Automatically Show Picture Attachments in Message is also selected.

Turn Down The Sound

Want to turn off the annoying sounds in Outlook? Try this:

* Select Tools>>Options, and then choose E-mail Options on the Preferences tab.

* Select Advanced E-mail Options, then uncheck Play A Sound.

* Click OK until you exit all of the dialog boxes.

Viewing Attachments Without Opening Them

When you attach a text file to an e-mail message, you may sometimes want to check that the file you're sending is the one you wanted to send. Here's how to take a quick peek:

* In the New Message window, right-click the Attachment file.

* Choose Quick View from the pop-up menu.

Now you see it, now you don't