The Best Microsoft Outlook 2013 Tips and Tricks to Increase Productivity
Microsoft Outlook is a personal information management software offered as part of the Microsoft Office suite. The application has versions for Windows, as well as for Mac, and allows you to manage incoming and outgoing email, organize the calendar and your daily work, by using the task manager, the contact manager and the journal among the many features available.
Although some of you might be familiar with Outlook, because of the new features that the 2013 version includes, a few people have not succeeded to entirely understand how to make use of the software. We, therefore, gathered below some of the most important Outlook 2013 tips and tricks which are meant to improve your user experience.
13 Tips and Tricks for using Outlook 2013
The first version of Outlook we became familiar with, was Microsoft Outlook 1997, but it’s now been 17 years since then and we are confronted with the newest version: Microsoft Outlook 2013. Among the features that were brought by the new Outlook, we must mention the attachment reminder, the cached mode improvements, the add-in resiliency, ActiveSync, IMAP protocol improvements, People Hug, data file compression, the weather bar and a bit of start-up performance improvements. Now here’s how to fully take advantage of each and every one of them:
Organize the way you see your inbox
One of the main features offered by Outlook is email management, which is why you should make sure you see the inbox exactly the way you want it. When you first update to the new version and open Outlook, you will see your email in the default view. To increase efficiency and be able to find everything easier, you can customize your view.
In order to do this, you may go to the View tab and click on Change View. This will open a list of various preset views you can choose from, but you can also customize it to generate an entirely new view – add columns, rearrange the order, sort your email, choose if you want to only see the latest emails or more, decide how many lines of the email you’d like to see under its header, etc. Once you’re done customizing, you can go ahead and save your view by clicking on Change View, then Save Current View as a New View.
Check your calendar while writing an email
Writing an email is now a lot easier with Outlook 2013 – there’s no need to leave your email in order to check the calendar for appointments. And to make it even more interesting, you can also take a quick look at your Tasks and Contacts while editing the email.
In order to see your calendar, you simply move your cursor over the Calendar at the bottom and a smaller version of it will pop up next to your email. You can click through the various dates to see appointments just the same way as you can open a pop-up Tasks or People window by moving the cursor over these features.
Choose when you want an email to be marked as read
You already know that after keeping one email open for a while or moving up and down in your inbox can make certain emails appear as read, while others are still unread. This also changes the color they’re marked with, which can get confusing when you mistakenly marked an email as read, although you didn’t have time to go through it just yet.
To avoid such situations, you can go to File, then choose the Options tab and click on Mail. To your right, you will see a Reading Pane checkbox that you should click on to view the various options. You can choose to check and uncheck any of them, as well as change the number of seconds before marking an email as read. Once you’re done customizing, click OK to save your options.
How do I cache my email on Outlook?
We mentioned a few changes when it comes to caching an email – you might have noticed that Outlook doesn’t cache your emails by default anymore. This is a way to improve efficiency, as we’ve observed that in most cases you no longer need to have direct access to all of the items.
The default period is now 12 months if your disk has a capacity of 128 GB. In case it’s smaller, it might be reduced to 6 months. In order to change these settings, you can go to File, then choose Account Settings and scroll down to click to Account Settings once more. Once that window open, you should double-click on Exchange Account Here, which will take you to a Mail to Keep Offline slider.
How can I use the Outlook Journal feature?
Since we talked about the Journal feature before, it is important to mention that Outlook 2013 doesn’t offer immediate access to the Journal folder – it doesn’t show up in the Navigation Pane as it used to.
To have access to the folder, you can click on the dots next to the Tasks tab in the Navigation Pane and then click on Folders. This opens all folders available, where you should also be able to find the Journal one. Alternatively, you can still use the CTRL+8 keys to gain instant access to the Journal folder.
How can I customize message preview?
Outlook 2013’s default way of displaying a message is by showing only one line under the headline. While you can include settings for this aspect in your inbox view mode, there is also one other way to do it much quicker. Simply go to View – right under the tab you will see Message Preview, where you can scroll down to 1 line, 2 lines of 3 lines. You can also turn this preview off in case you don’t need to see the content of the email before opening it.
Where did my Notes go?
You might have experienced difficulties in finding your Notes folder – we change the structure of the navigation bar and decided to move the Notes tab, due to limited usage. You can still access it with the CTRL+5 keys on your keyboard.
In case you’d like to make it permanently visible in the Navigation Pane, you can go to Navigation options and move the Notes folder up or increase the number of visible items to have more space in the Navigation bar for the Notes tab.
How do I create a signature?
It’s easier than ever to create a personalized signature with Outlook 2013. All you have to do is go to File and choose Options, then Mail and click on the Signatures tab you see to your right.
This feature allows you to add as many signatures as you need – you simply click on New to add a name for your new signature and then write down everything you want to be included in the signature: your name, your position, your company, postal address, phone number, etc.
How can I change my theme and background?
Outlook comes in new colors now – instead of the black, blue and silver themes that you might have got used to, you can now change the theme to Light Grey or Dark Grey, while you can also opt for keeping it White.
To do so, you can go to File and choose Options then click the arrow down next to Office Theme in order to choose one of the three options. In addition to these themes, Outlook 2013 also allows you to change the background.
How do I change the color of my calendar?
Not only can you change the theme of your Outlook, but you can also personalize the calendar to show under a certain color.
In order to do so in Outlook 2013, you simply open your Calendar, click right and go to color. You will then see you have a couple of options to choose from: blue, pink, grey, green, but also the automatic version, which keeps your calendar white.
How can I change the weather to Celsius?
The default view of the weather is in Fahrenheit, but it can easily be changed to Celsius to adapt to each country’s needs and requirements. That one’s very easy to fix, by going to File and clicking the Options button. You can then go to Calendar and scroll down to the Weather category. It’s very simple to check or uncheck the weather option and change it from Fahrenheit to Celsius or the other way around.
How can I add an additional mailbox?
This feature hasn’t changed much from the way you used to add a mailbox with older versions of Outlook. In case you’re having trouble with it, all you have to do is go to File and choose Info. You will then see a tab named Account Settings, where you once more click on Account Settings.
Once the Email options window opens, highlight the current email account then click Change. You can now go to More Settings, then Advanced and click Add. This allows you to type in any additional mailbox you may want to use.
Connect Outlook to Social Media
We live in a world of social media so connecting your Outlook to various types of social media might be a useful way to keep up to date. This way, your People feature will be populated with information taken from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or others.
To link one of these accounts to Outlook, simply go to File and then choose Info, scroll down to Account Settings and click on Social Network Accounts. This gives you permission to manage all such connections – to add a new one, but to also remove one of the accounts you previously connected to Outlook.