In this article, you will learn my top 10 best Microsoft Outlook hacks. You will be able to manage your inbox better so you can be more productive and less stressed. With these Outlook tips, you will be able to increase your productivity. I’m sure you’re going to find something important. Now, I have to say, my favorite one is number 8 so I’m curious what yours is. Comment below and let me know.
Let’s get started.
Never miss a game or TV show
If you’re a sports fan, this tip is for you. Did you know that you can automatically add your team’s schedule to your Outlook calendar? It doesn’t matter if it’s your college or a pro team. It’s not just for sports. You can also add the dates of your favorite TV show in case you’re still into TV shows. Let me show you.
- Go to the office portal and sign in, select Outlook.
- Open your calendar. Click on Add calendar.
Let’s say you want to import the schedule for the Los Angeles Lakers. Click on Sports and click on NBA.
- Select the Lakers.
- It’s added. You will see the Los Angeles Lakers in my calendars and you have all their matches as events in your calendar.
- When you click on more options, you can change the color of the events or delete the schedule again.
- The same works for TV shows as well. Click on add calendar and select TV and select your time zone and use the filter to find your show.
- If you’re in the U.S., you can even add it to the school calendar for your kids.
- Just click on Add Calendar, select schools and enter your zip code and it’s going to give you a list of all schools from which to make your selection.
- Once you add these calendars, the events are going to show up on all your Outlook calendars across your devices, including Outlook for desktop this week.
Color-code your calendar
- I’m a big fan of color coding. In a previous article, I showed you how you can color code your emails so that you’re only on cc.
- This way, you can see right away that the message isn’t directly addresses to you without even opening it.
- Another way to take advantage of color coding is in your calendar. For example, you can turn all meetings with your boss red or show meetings in a different location in yellow, which makes it easy to quickly get an overview.
- Let me show you how you can do it. First, let’s color all meetings organized by the boss bright red in your calendar.
- Go to the View tab and select the current view and select view settings, then click on conditional formatting.
- We will add a new row. Let’s give it a name and select the color we want for these items.
- Let’s go with red, then we need to add the condition. In this case, it’s simple. We will click organized by and select the boss’s name for the organizer.
- Click on OK. Now, everything from the boss is bright red.
- Let’s do another one. We want to color all appointments with the location building in yellow.
- Let’s go back to view settings and conditional formatting. Let’s add a new rule. Call it location and for color we go with yellow, not a condition.
- We somehow need to specify the location. It’s not under appointments and meetings and we also don’t see it and there are more choices. Let’s go to Advanced.
- Click on the dropdown field and select all appointment fields. That’s quite a list here. We have a location selected.
- Specify the condition. We could go with is exactly but to be safer go with it because it contains the value put into building. When you’re done, click on add to list then just confirm with ok.
- Now, everything that’s scheduled in building C is shown in yellow. These are just two examples of how to adjust the conditional formatting to your own requirements and color code.
Email your calendar
- Let’s say, you need to agree on a time for a meeting with someone else. This is easy if it’s within your organization, because you can check everyone’s availability with the scheduling assistant but what about external contacts?
- Instead of mailing back and forth until you find a slot that works, you could just email your calendar to the other person and let them do the work.
- Here’s how. Create a new email, then click on insert and select calendar. You can select the date range. That would be the range where you want to find a time for your meeting. You can either use the presets or specify the date.
- You can select the details that you want to share. You have the option to just show up during your working hours. This way, you can eliminate weekends or late hours from the options. You can set your working hours in the calendar Outlook options by clicking on set working hours.
- When you’re done, just click on ok, and it’s going to insert your calendar into the email. Now you can send this off and the other person gets a full overview and can easily pick a date.
Show total number of emails
- Per default in Outlook, you will always see a number of unread items next to your folders. For example, you’re going to see in blue the number of unread items you have in your inbox. That may make sense for certain folders, but for example, for my actual required folder, it doesn’t. I only move messages that I still need to work on into the folder. I would much rather see the total number of messages I still have to work on.
- This is how you can change that. Right click on the folder and select properties.
- Instead of number of unread items, select show total number of items, and click ok.
- Now, you can see the total number of emails in the folder in square brackets.
Add quick actions
- When you hover over an email, you get the option to flag or delete the item, but you can add additional actions to this in the ribbon.
- Click on follow-up and select set quick actions.
- You can define your quick actions. I will go with Archive for Quick Action one and move for action two and click ok.
- Now you can see that we have two additional options.
- This can be helpful when you quickly scan your emails and use these quick actions to process them on the fly.
Also read: Overview of Office 365 Archive Mailbox
Schedule shorter meetings
- We’ve all been there for back-to-back meetings. When you don’t even have time to run from one meeting room to another, one or two log hours from one chat and log into the next. Well, that’s over now.
- Let’s shorten them in Outlook. Click on file and then options. Click on the calendar.
- You will see shorter appointments and meetings. Activate it with the checkbox.
- You can specify how many minutes you want to shorten meetings that are scheduled for under an hour and over an hour ago, with ten minutes for both of them, and click on ok.
- Now, when we schedule a meeting in the calendar, it’s going to automatically suggest a shorter meeting and we get to have that bathroom break.
Drag and drop from Outlook to teams
In the past, when you wanted to transfer a file attachment from Outlook to teams, you had to first save it to your local drive and then upload it to teams but now we can just drag and drop it from your email. Just drag the file attachment directly to your team’s channel or chat and it’s going to automatically upload it to your OneDrive or SharePoint.
Resize your images
- Sometimes you need to attach pictures to your email. With cameras today, the size of the file may be way too big. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this. I want to send a picture, which is 28 MB.
- Just right click on the picture and select send to and then select mail recipient. You will get a popup window where you can change the picture size. You can go with large and you’re still going to be fine.
- Just click attach and it will resize it and attach it to your message. If you already copied the picture into the message and then realized it’s too big, there is another way.
- Click on file. Instead of do not resize images, select resize large images and it’s going to automatically reduce it. Then just go back to your message and send it.
- Now, when we check these sent items, we can see that the size was reduced.
Clean up your conversations
- Sometimes you have emails that just go back and forth and if you’re not diligent in cleaning up your inbox, this is going to fill up quickly. You don’t need all the older emails in the thread because they’re already included in the most recent email.
- A simple way to get rid of these redundant messages is to use Outlook’s cleanup tool.
- For the longest time, I didn’t know what that did. Now I do. Let me show you.
- I have a conversation with multiple people that just goes on and on. You may want to keep the most recent one, but you also want to get rid of the older messages in the thread.
- This is when you can use cleanup. Select the recent email and click the delete button.
- When you click it, you get four options for the cleanup conversation.
- Ignore: Move current and future messages in the selected conversation to the Deleted Items folder.
- Clean Up Conversation: Remove redundant messages in the selected folder.
- Clean Up Folder: Remove redundant messages from every conversation in the selected folder.
- Clean Up Folder & Subfolders: Remove redundant messages from every conversation in the selected folder and all subfolders.
- I would recommend using the clean up folder or the last one if you want to include subfolders. I will go with the “cleanup folder,” which deletes all the redundant messages in the folder. It’s a great way to get rid of clutter.
Preview upcoming calendar events
- To view upcoming appointments while you’re in email mode, update your view by going to the view tab and click layout selecting to do and select calendar. This is going to open an additional pane on the right and display the current month and your upcoming calendar events.
- Now, you also have the option to add tasks to this pane. This helps you keep an eye on upcoming tasks and flagged emails.
- Currently, the functionality of tasks is limited in the desktop version of Outlook so I recommend using the to do app instead.
- If you’d like to learn more about managing your tasks with the to-do app, make sure that you check out this article.
These are my top 10 favorite Microsoft Outlook hacks. If you have a favorite one, comment below and let me know. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have other tips and tricks of your own, let me know in the comments.