Saturday, 7 August 2010

Outlook Part One

If you’re lucky enough to have access to an email account on an Exchange Server, then Outlook performs at its best. I’m lucky enough to have such an account via my university. After following a simple setup guide all my emails, calendars, contacts and tasks are synchronized online and on any other computers that I setup my Exchange Account on.

In terms of organising my Outlook, I’ve setup categories for each course that I’ll be completing at university (in colours to match the associated notebooks in OneNote). I also created categories for other items to help me organise emails and calendar items that aren’t related to my courses.

Outlook Categories

To make it easier to assign categories to emails and calendar items, I also assigned shortcuts to the categories. This allows you to hold down “Ctrl” and one of the function keys to quickly assign a category.

I also found it useful to go through the Outlook settings to change some of the defaults, specifically removing the “Default reminders” setting, setting the “Work Hours” and creating an email signature. All this settings can be found by clicking “File” and then “Options” in Outlook 2010.

Another useful function of Outlook (and most other email clients) is the ability to create folders and “Rules” to organise your emails. You can create various folders for your courses, shopping, general university emails etc. As you receive these emails you can setup “Rules” which can automatically move emails based on criteria such as “Sender” to a specified folder. After a few weeks your mailbox will have grown into an efficient and automated “Sorting Box”. This is very useful for those who receive dozens of emails daily.

In terms of the Outlook Workspace, I find it most efficient to have a monthly calendar and a list of upcoming tasks on the main Outlook screen. This can easily be setup by right clicking on the right hand side of the Outlook screen and then choosing the appropriate options.

Outlook Sidebar

Just as I did with my OneNote setup, I also customized the Ribbon in Outlook. Please see my "OneNote Part One" post for a quick overview of doing this. Below is a screenshot of my custom Outlook Ribbon.

Outlook Ribbon

These simple changes along with Outlooks built in calendar, tasks and email features provide most of the functionality I require from Outlook. In the near future I will be looking further at the integration between Outlook and OneNote.

This concludes my short overview of Outlook's most basic organization features.

1 comment:

  1. I would appreciate a much higher resolution image when it comes to your ribbon customizations. Both on this page, and in your OneNote posts.

    Even Better would be to have a separate post detailing why you chose each one of those for your ribbon.