Home » Posts Tagged "Outlook"

Email’s Evolution Allows Seamless Communications on Multiple Devices

  I have no idea how many times I check my email each day. Whether from my phone, laptop or desktop, I use email most from within a few moments of waking up to right before I go to sleep. It’s become something of an addiction, but I also get a couple hundred emails each day, making it necessary to stay on top of the rush. Recently, I helped a friend set up Microsoft Outlook on her laptop. Outlook is a powerful application that helps control email, calendar, contacts and more. It’s called a “third-party” or “desktop” application because it must be installed on your computer. While setting up her accounts in Outlook, one of the most important questions that came up was whether to use POP or IMAP methods of retrieving email. There are sharp differences between the two. POP stands for Post Office Protocol and allows an email client to grab emails from a remote server over an Internet connection. You can think of POP email as a one-way email system. In other words, when you use POP to get your email, you are going from your device to the email server, capturing the email and pulling it onto your local machine. If you were to leave the message on the server by setting the POP preferences to do so, you could use a different POP application or device to retrieve the same message. However, the inherent problem with POP is that multiple devices don’t know what each other has done with the retrieved message. For example, if you use your phone to read a message and reply, and then move to your laptop, the laptop application has no idea that you ever replied or if the message was read. These problems spurred the invention of a different email method called IMAP, or Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP has become readily available for most email applications. It’s a two-way email retrieval system, which means email applications leave the message on the server by default, and changes are noted for all devices. If you were to read a message on your mobile phone and reply using IMAP, when you came to your laptop, you would see the same message noted as read and replied to. It’s a much more efficient and organized way to deal with email across multiple applications and devices. As I explained this to my friend while setting up her Outlook, she was convinced IMAP email was a more dynamic, functional way to use email. I couldn’t agree more. You typically have both choices when setting up any email system including Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and more. Every system is a little different, so you should think about what makes sense for your specific situation before you jump into one method or the other. [Originally published in The Coloradoan on...

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Going Further with Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook offers several features that can help organize your busy life. If you’re just getting started with Outlook, check out Part 1 of this series here. One often overlooked feature that exists within Outlook is the fact that you can click and drag emails in order to create new contact information, calendar items, and tasks. Dragging the selected message to the Calendar, Contact, or Task tab on the left-hand pane of your Outlook window will automatically pull up a prompt to create one of these new items with your email message already attached. You may need to add a few things – such as a specific time of the meeting or the job title of an individual you are adding as a contact – but overall, this does save some time. Managing Your Contacts Outlook’s Contact Manager allows users a quick interface in which they can access anyone in which the user wishes to keep in contact with. The simplest way to create a new contact is within an email itself. Right-clicking the email address or name that you wish to add as a contact will bring up a drop-down menu in which you will want to select “Open Outlook Contact” or “Add to Contacts.” This will bring up the contact menu in which you can add as much information as you like. Notice that Outlook also gives users the option to categorize the contact, which becomes useful when you want to keep things in order. You may also create new contacts from directly from Outlook’s UI. Simply click “Contacts” on the left-hand pane and then select “New” from the ribbon above. You will then see a drop down menu in which you can select “Contact” and then manually enter all of the information. Operating within the contacts menu is very useful within itself.  Highlighting the contact you want to correspond with allows the user several quick options. After clicking you contact, simply click “E-mail” if you would like to send an e-mail to that contact or click “Meeting” if you would like to schedule a meeting. Outlook will auto-populate the email address. Calendar Outlook’s Calendar feature allows users basic features such as creating an event, but it also allows more advanced features, such as setting up meetings, reminders, and tasks. Clicking the “Calendar” option on the left-hand pane of the Outlook menu will bring up Outlook’s main calendar UI. The first thing to notice is that you will have many different viewing options available from the ribbon above. “Day” view will show an in-depth view of the day’s planned activities. “Work” will show a slightly less in-depth view of Monday-Friday. “Week” shows Sunday-Saturday. Finally, the “Month” view only puts highlight bars on the days in which events are planned. You will need to click on the bar itself in order to view its details. It is important to note that Outlook will provide a calendar for every email account that you have synced with it. Because of this, any calendar that you have set up through another client, for example Gmail, should automatically sync with Outlook. This provides a convenient link if you are not able to use Outlook wherever you are. For instance, if your work uses Google Apps, anything you set up in your Gmail calendar will automatically sync with your Outlook account at home. Setting up a new event, or “Appointment” as they are called within Outlook, within the calendar is simple. Double-click on the day in which you would like to add the event and a new window will appear prompting you to...

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Getting Started with Microsoft Outlook

The Internet has been growing rapidly for nearly thirty years now and email providers have been a big part of that expansion. These days, it is not uncommon for an individual to have two or more active email accounts. Using a tool like Microsoft Outlook allows users the ability to consolidate all of their email accounts into one convenient location. Outlook is not just an email tool, however. Outlook also integrates useful features such as a fully integrated calendar, task manager, and contact manager. As it is with almost any Microsoft product, knowledge of the toolbar will help any user with ease of use. In Outlook, the toolbar is context based, meaning the toolbar will change based on whatever task you are currently working on. Managing your email is simple in Outlook. To compose a new email, simply select the email option from the toolbar. Email composition is pretty straightforward in outlook. From the composition screen, you will find options such as file attachment and inserting photos. You will notice that the blind carbon copy (Bcc) is conspicuously absent however. If this is a feature that you use regularly, it is very simple to add. Simply go to the options tab in the toolbar and select Bcc from the Show Fields Group. The Bcc will now be visible beneath Cc. Outlook’s “Contacts and Recent Addresses” feature comes in handy when you are emailing multiple contacts or if you are having hard time remembering your contact’s email address. As soon as you begin typing the contact (either email address or name), Outlook will begin to either auto-populate or give you a drop-down list of predictive contacts. Creating your own unique “signature” is also simple within Outlook. Under the “Options” menu click the “Signatures” button. From here, you will be able to create as many signatures as you like, as well as set up whether you would like the signature to be attached to any outgoing message or you can have set so that you will need to manually insert it. Outlook offers several features that help users organize and maintain their Outlook inboxes. The first and easiest option is to create folders in which you can store your most important emails. You can take this organization one step further with Rules in Outlook. While the menu may appear tedious at first, it is actually quite simple to set up. Rules allows you to set up certain parameters that automatically forwards your incoming emails to a specified folder if they fall within those pre-determined parameters. For example, if you would like all emails from your boss to be forwarded to a specific folder, simply create the folder that you would like to have the emails forwarded to and set the parameters so that any email from your boss is forwarded there. If you are looking for a travel deal to Palm Beach, you can have any email that contains the words “Palm, Beach, Deal” forwarded to a folder that you had created previously. Sometimes you just do not wish to be bothered. With Outlook, you can easily set up an “Away” message so that people know to not expect a reply right away. Microsoft has simplified this process by creating the Out of Office Assistant Wizard. You can access this set up menu by going to File Tab> Info> Automatic Replies. Creating parameters allows you to customize when automatic replies are sent out and what message goes to whom. You can do this by setting specific time/date ranges that you wish to have automatic replies sent out. If you do not...

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A Simple Mail Merge Can Save You Time

[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 4/6/12] If you have a list of contacts on your computer and are ready to start mailing to a large group of them, then you can put down your pen and let your computer do all the dirty work. With two of the most popular Microsoft programs, Word and Excel, you can quickly and easily create a mail merge system for your contacts. A mail merge is the combination of a data source and a word processing document to produce mailing labels, envelopes, form letters and more. It is an extremely powerful tool that most administrative professionals use to save tons of manual labor time. The way a mail merge works is that you must begin with some kind of data source. This can come in many forms including a table from a database, a list of your Outlook contacts, a CSV file or even a simple Excel spreadsheet. Since most contact applications can export to a spreadsheet format, Excel can be used in a variety of scenarios for your business. Once you have a data source prepared properly, you can open Microsoft Word and begin the mail merge process. This begins with either a blank document or you can even use a pre-existing document. Envelopes and mailing labels come in standard sizes, and Microsoft has these already built into the program, too. By inserting placeholder fields into the mail merge document, you are allowing the program to replace the placeholders with actual values from your data source. This will repeat for every record in your data source. In a form letter example, you also have the option to customize individual letters, just in case you want to send a more personalized message to an individual client. When it is time to print the mail merge document, you simply finalize your merge and advance to print the entire batch. A mail merge is an amazing tool for simple administrative tasks, and the reach of how it might save you time is limitless. So, the next time you need to send those holiday cards to a huge list, check out a mail merge and save yourself some precious time. Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Call him at (970) 980-8091 or send email to stu@...

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