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Have you been linked

By

Steve Link

"Link Em Up On Outlook" (ISBN 1932802010) was written to help MS Outlook users of all levels become more comfortable with the many useful features of the program. The version used here is Outlook 2003 with SP1 applied.

As you know, Outlook is a full Personal Information Manager (PIM) which rolls email, contact management, and scheduling into one program. Although the main focus of this article (and probably most users) is email, we will also cover a few things on contact management, scheduling, and tasks. In order to keep these separate, each will be in its own section. These tips were pulled either from the "Link Em Up On Outlook" book or "Are You Certifiable?" on Outlook certification (available in eBook format only).

Contact Management

One of the extremely useful features of Contacts is using categories to group your contacts together. For example, you may have personal contacts, business contacts, and Civic Club contacts. Each of these types of contacts can be completely separate and viewed as such.

  • Click on the Contacts button to display your Contacts screen.
  • Click the New button
  • Enter the contact information and click the Categories button (at the bottom of this screen)
  • You can now select a category, enter a specific category, and/or modify the Master Category list

Now that contacts have a category assigned you can view them by category and expand (+) the individual categories to show the contacts within them or condense (-) them to show only the category header.

Scheduling

Did you know that you can change the default time slot used for your schedule? The default time slot of a half hour can be changed to any value between five minutes and an hour.

  • Click on Calendar to display the Calendar screen
  • Right-click on an empty spot in the calendar
  • Left-click on "Customize Current View"
  • Left-click on "Other Settings"

You can now use the "Time Scale" dropdown to change this setting.

Tasks

Tasks are generally used for jobs that are scheduled but require an unknown time frame. One special use for tasks that I have found is breaking a large job into specific tasks and then assigning each one to a particular person. An example is below.

  • Click on Tasks to display the Tasks screen
  • Click New to create a new task
  • Enter the details of the task along with any specific needs or requirements
  • Click on the "Assign Task" button (should be in the toolbar)
  • Enter the email of the person receiving this task assignment

The task will now be placed in your task list as well as being emailed to the recipient. The recipient will be able to accept or decline along with sending completion updates.

Email

I am sure you, like the rest of us, receive mostly junk email (known as spam). One of the most useful procedures that I have found for filtering through this is setting the Junk Email options to use safe lists only.

  • Click on Tools and then Options
  • On the Preferences tab click the Junk Email button
  • On the Options tab click "Safe Lists Only"

Now all email you receive will go into the Junk Email folder. As you receive email from an acceptable source you can perform the following.

  • Right-click on the particular email
  • Place your mouse cursor over "Junk Email"
  • Left-click on "Add sender to safe sender's list"

The next time you receive an email from this sender it will be received into the Inbox. There are many other useful features with the Junk Email area that can be experimented with.