Achieve More in Less Time: Microsoft Outlook Tips and Tricks!

If you are like the majority of State employees, you spend a large portion of your day in your Microsoft Outlook inbox. Some days the vast amount of incoming emails may be a bit overwhelming, but there are things you can do to make it less so. Below are some tips and tricks of Outlook to assist you in getting more done in less time!
  1. Your inbox can fill up so quickly from large group emails. You may be getting emails from 15 different people all stemming from the same original email, but the emails are in all different spots of the inbox. A helpful tool that Outlook provides is the Show as Conversations feature found on the View tab. By having your inbox in conversation view, all related emails, like the ones mentioned above, will be grouped together. You will be able to distinguish these groups by the expandable triangle that shows up to the left of the email line.
  2. There is also an Ignore button on the Home tab that can come in useful to help detour insignificant and distracting emails from filling your inbox. If you have responded to the large group email and no longer need to respond or read others’ responses you can select the conversation in your inbox and click Ignore. From that point on you won’t see any more emails of that conversation. They will automatically be sent to the Deleted Items folder, thus out of sight and out of mind.
  3. Knowing shortcuts can be a very useful skill to have in order to save time. There are A LOT of helpful shortcuts that work in Outlook, but the below four are arguably the most basic and useful: 
    Ctrl+N: Compose New Email
    Ctrl+R: Reply to Email
    Alt+R: Reply to ALL in Email
    Alt+W: Forward Email
    Alt+S: Send Email
  4. Quick Steps are another form of shortcuts that Outlook introduced with Outlook 2010. Found on the Home tab, they're shortcuts to any multi-step action you can think of! Like moving emails to a specific folder and marking them as read or forwarding an email to your team and flagging it at the same time. Quick Steps makes short work of repetitive tasks. For example, I have a Quick Step that I created named Blog Approval. When I have a new blog that I need approved I just go to my inbox and simply click my Quick Step button Blog Approval. It automatically brings up a new email to my supervisor and another security employee with a pre-composed message asking them to edit/approve the blog article that I manually attach. That’s it!  The possibilities are endless!
  5. While making events in your calendar you may find yourself searching through the calendar for the right date. Stop doing that. While in the date field just type in natural text like "Independence Day," "three days from tomorrow," “third Tuesday in September” and so on. Try it sometime! Turns out Outlook is pretty smart!
Instead of sorting through endless mail, dealing with distractions, moving your hand back and forth from keyboard to mouse and back, try these simple tips and tricks. By making these tips a habit in your day-to-day use of Outlook you can save you precious time! If you need more information on how to do any of the above, just comment below and I will step you through it!

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