10 Ways To Save Time In Microsoft Outlook

Sometimes it feels like simple tasks take forever, adding more hours to your workday. How can you fix this? Make better use of the technology already available to you. With these ten tips and tricks, you will find yourself saving time in Microsoft Outlook, giving you more room to get back to the things you love doing.

Keep reading to see the ten best ways to save yourself time in Microsoft Outlook, while boosting your productivity.

Rules

Using rules turns Outlook into a personal assistant. Rules are designed to automate manual actions that would usually take time and effort. Creating a rule gives instructions to Outlook so that it can process messages in a predetermined way. Some examples of what you can do with rules are sending specific messages to folders, assigning categories, deleting messages, or forwarding a message.

To create a rule, right-click your example message, hover over “rules”, select “create a rule”, choose your criteria, rename the rule, and hit “finish”. The “create a rule” button is also under the home tab. To limit the criteria further, by searching for things such as keywords related to certain clients, use advanced options. To change a rule after it has been made, go to “rules” and select “manage rules”. You can also use rules on already existing messages.

Favorite Folders

Creating favorite folders separates high priority folders from less used ones. Favorite folders are stored above navigation, making them easy to find in a rush. You can drag a folder to the favorites area to make it into one, or you can right-click on the folder to do the same thing. Favorite folders can be rearranged or removed at any time by right-clicking on them. You can quickly add a message to a favorite folder by dragging it there.

Convert Email To A Task

Converting emails into tasks makes scheduling a breeze. To complete this action, right-click the flag next to the message, set the time you want to do the task (custom times are available), and add a reminder. Or, you can open the message, click the “follow up” drop-down, set the time, and add the reminder. Additionally, you can drag the message to the task area to convert it. Once you are finished, consider moving the email to another folder so that you know it has been taken care of.

Convert Email To An Appointment

Another way to make scheduling easier is to convert an email to an appointment. To do this, hold down the right-click on the mouse while hovering over the message, drag to your calendar, and select the appointment type. If others need to attend the appointment with you, change it to a meeting and send invites.

Read Aloud

Read aloud will read messages to you, saving you time and effort. Please note that read aloud is called immersive reader in Outlook for the web. To enable read aloud, go to “file”, click “options”, select “ease of access” and then “show read aloud”. To use this feature, select “read aloud” in the message tab. After you do this, you will be shown a toolbar. This toolbar can play or pause the audio. You can also change the voice or speed of read aloud at any time. To hear a message from a specific point, double click the point and hit play.

Dictation

Dictation is similar to speech to text. It allows you to verbally say what you would like to send, and Outlook will write the message for you. It is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers with the Outlook desktop app.

Dictation can be found under the message tab, within the dictate dropdown. When using this feature, always say which punctuation you would like to use (“period” for .). Make any edits you need after you are done speaking. Dictation can be used in the subject line of your message or the body.

Delay Delivery

When working outside of standard hours, delay delivery may be useful to you. When using delay delivery, you can write a message at any time, but send it to the recipient later. For example, you could write a message to John at 10:00 pm am on Sunday and have it delayed until 8:00 am Monday morning. To write a delayed delivery message, create or reply to an email, click “options”, select “delay delivery”, choose “options”, and send the message.

Quick Steps

Quick steps allow you to apply multiple actions to a message with just one click of a button. Meaning you could have a message from Jordan sent to your Finance folder and forwarded to Adam all at once. Quick steps are located on the home tab of your ribbon. Be aware that these functions are not always active, they are only used when you initiate them. Quick steps can be easily customized, and they can be created or deleted at any time.

To make a quick step, go to “quick steps” under the home tab, click “create new”, name the quick step, choose the actions that it will complete, add actions as needed to get the desired effect, and “finish”. At this time you can also make a shortcut. This will help you be able to access the quick step often. You can also change the order of your quick steps, edit a quick step, and duplicate or delete one by going to “manage quick steps”.

Quick Parts

Quick parts make sending repetitive emails easier. They act as templates for content you send regularly. To create a quick part, start a new message, type and edit the message, highlight the section you would like to make into a quick part, select “insert”, and go to “quick parts”. Then, click “save section to quick part gallery”, give it a name, pick the category it will go in, add a description, and choose your options.

To use a quick part, have your cursor in the body of the message, go to “insert”, then “quick parts”, pick the one you would like to use, and edit as needed. To replace a quick part, repeat the above steps and select “replace quick part” when prompted by Outlook. Hover over the existing quick part, right-click, and select “organize and delete” to replace one as well. Be aware that you can use more than one quick part in any message.

Quick Access Toolbar

The quick access toolbar allows you to use lots of different features at the press of a button. The toolbar is located above the ribbon, but can also be moved to below the ribbon by selecting the drop-down and clicking “show below the ribbon”. The toolbar also has its own version in each different area of Outlook, making it even more useful.

To customize the toolbar, click the drop-down next to the undo button and choose which features you would like to show on it. There are numerous options, and you can even include some features mentioned prior, like delayed delivery or quick parts. To change the order of features shown or which ones are available, select the drop-down and go to “more commands”. You can also right-click on the toolbar and choose “customize quick access toolbar”.

How Much Easier Will Your Workday Be Now?

No one wants to spend time on simple tasks when they could be working on other, more important things. With these time-saving tips, you will be able to open up your schedule for the things you would rather be doing. Microsoft Outlook can be a very useful tool if you know how to use it properly. For more information on how to get better with Outlook or other systems, contact us. At National Networks, we have IT professionals that can assist you with any of your technology concerns. We are here to make your job easier!