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Outlook offers you a lot more than would fit in this itty-bitty volume. I'm going to stick to the important stuff, so you can leap right in and start making Outlook a valuable tool in your daily work.
The Outlook functions that are immediately useful are the Personal Information Management features. These features show up as soon as you start the program. Microsoft cleverly designed Outlook to enable you to program and customize it to do almost anything you want that involves managing data. Some of the tasks that Outlook plans to do for you in the future are still a gleam in some programmer's eye, such as storing voice mail messages and advanced fax services. In the meantime, I focus on what Outlook offers here and now.
In this part . . .
When you start Outlook you see a screen within a screen. The area along the top edge and the left side of the screen offers you a collection of menus and icons. These menus and icons enable you to control what you see and what you make happen in the remainder of the screen. The different parts of the Outlook screen have names:
Running along the left side of the Outlook screen is the Outlook Bar. The Outlook Bar contains large, clearly marked icons for each of the Outlook modules: Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Journal, Notes, and Deleted Items. You can click any icon at any time to switch to a different module and then switch back, just like changing channels on your TV.
The Outlook Bar also has three gray separator bars, named Outlook, Mail, and Other. You can click these separator bars to switch to a different section of the Outlook Bar that has a different set of icons. You can add icons to any section of the Outlook Bar. You can also add sections to the bar itself by right-clicking the Outlook Bar. This action opens the shortcut menu enabling you to choose the appropriate command. (See "Customizing the Outlook Screen" later in this part.)
The Folder Banner is the name of the area that sits below the toolbars and above the main part of the Outlook screen (known as the Information Viewer). The name of the folder or module you're using is displayed in large letters at the left end of the Folder Banner. The right end of the banner displays a large icon. This icon is also used by the Outlook Bar to represent the module you're using.
Other information also turns up from time to time in the Folder Banner, for example:
In addition, clicking the triangle next to the name of the module or folder on the left end of the Folder Banner reveals a temporary copy of the Folder List.
The Folder List gives you a quick peek behind the scenes at what's going on in Outlook. I leave the Folder List closed most of the time. However, if you're interested, here's what goes on behind the scenes.
Outlook organizes all the information you enter into folders. Each Outlook module has its own folder. Although you usually change modules by clicking the icon for that module in the Outlook Bar, you can also switch to a different module by clicking the folder for that module in the Folder List. Every Outlook module that has an icon in the Outlook Bar has a folder in the Folder List. But not every folder in the Folder List is represented by an icon in the Outlook Bar. Because you can have more folders in the Folder List than icons in the Outlook Bar, you may need to use the Folder List to go to a specific folder rather than click its icon in the Outlook Bar.
To open the Folder List, choose View-->Folder List from the menu or click the Folder List tool in the toolbar. The Folder List takes up so much space on the screen that I really can't do much work. That's why I leave it closed most of the time.
The biggest part of the Outlook screen, on the lower-right side, is the Information Viewer. Whatever you ask Outlook to show you shows up in the Information Viewer. Dates in your Calendar, messages in your Inbox, and names in your Contact list all appear in the Information Viewer.
You can drag items out of the Information Viewer to icons on the Outlook Bar to create new types of Outlook items from the information you already have (for more information, see "Drag and Drop," later in this part).
Like all Windows programs, Outlook has a menu bar across the top of the screen. Click your mouse on a menu name, such as File, Edit, or View to make a menu of commands appear. The underlined letter in a menu name is a hot key; holding the Alt key while pressing that letter does the same thing as clicking the mouse on the menu name.
As you change between Outlook modules, one of the menus -- called an Item-Specific menu -- changes its name to match the module. When you're in the Calendar, the menu is called Calendar; in Tasks, the name is Tasks, and so on. The Item-Specific menu contains commands that are useful only in the Outlook module you're using.
Each time you either open an item or create a new item in Outlook, a form appears. This form either accepts the information you want to enter or contains the information at which you're looking -- or both. Each module has its own form, and each form has its own menus and toolbars.
You can also create your own forms with Outlook, or you can download new collections of forms from the Internet. For more about customizing Outlook forms, see Microsoft® OutlookTM For Dummies® by yours truly, published by IDG Books Worldwide, Inc.
The gray bar across the bottom of the Outlook screen is the Status Bar, which tells you how many items are currently displayed and very little else. Perhaps in the future the Status Bar will have more to say.
Toolbars offer a quicker way to control Outlook than clicking menus. The Outlook toolbar changes as you switch between different modules or views to offer you the most useful set of tools for the task you're doing at the moment. If you see a tool and want to know what it does, let your mouse pointer hover over the tool but don't click; a tool tip box appears revealing the name of the tool.
You can do a surprising amount of work without ever touching the keyboard. That little old mouse of yours can drag items from one part of Outlook and drop them off onto the icons in the Outlook Bar to create new items. When you drop an item between different Outlook modules, Outlook transforms the information and makes the item useful in a whole new way; an e-mail message can become a Contact item, a Contact item can become a Journal entry, and so on.
If someone sends you an e-mail message, you have all the information you need to create a new Contact record and enter that person in your Contact list.
To create a new Contact record, follow these steps:
A new contact is now part of your Contact list. Although you can drag any type of item to the Contacts icon, e-mail messages are the only items that make sense to drag there. Doing so saves you time by providing information that you need in a Contact record anyway.
You can send an e-mail message informing someone of an existing appointment or inviting someone to attend. The person to whom you're sending the message gets an e-mail message, with the particulars of the appointment serving as the body of the message.
To send an e-mail message with information about an appointment, follow these steps:
If you and anyone you're inviting to the meeting are using a computer connected to a network that uses Microsoft Exchange Server, you can click the Meeting Planner tab on the Appointment form to check their schedules before calling the meeting. If you're not using Exchange Server, e-mail is your best bet for inviting others to attend your meeting or appointment.
If you've already entered a person's e-mail address in your Contact list, you have all you need to create an e-mail message to that person.
If you send your e-mail over an online service or the Internet, clicking Send only sends your message to the Outbox. To deliver your message to your recipient via your online service or Internet Service Provider, you have to press F5.
If you're on an office network using Exchange Server, clicking Send sends your message directly to the recipient.
After you create your prize-winning report or spreadsheet, you don't need to waste paper, stamps, or time printing and mailing your opus, just e-mail the file! Sending a file by e-mail is as easy as drag-and-drop. Remember, when you e-mail a file, the file reaches your recipient as an attachment to the e-mail message. (See Part II for more about e-mail.)
To send a file using e-mail, follow these steps:
Your file is now sent to your recipient if you're on a network with Microsoft Exchange, or to your Outbox if you use online services. Online service users need to press F5 to move mail from the Outbox to their online services and on to the recipient.
Even though dragging a file to the Inbox is pretty easy, even easier ways exist to send a file by e-mail. You can right-click a filename to open a shortcut menu and choose Send to-->Mail Recipient Using Microsoft Outlook.
You can create a Journal entry from any name in your Contact list. Use drag-and-drop to create a Journal entry with a link to the contact. Drag-and-drop goes beyond saving you the effort of entering contact information in the New Journal Entry Form. You can hop right to the Contact record from the Journal entry to find the contact's address, phone number, or other information.
To find a Contact record from a Journal entry, follow these steps:
Your new entry is recorded in the Journal.
You can set up Outlook to make automatic Journal entries for new documents, e-mail messages, and AutoDialed phone calls. This automatic entry means that you don't need to create additional Journal entries for those events (see Part VI for more about the Journal).
I like to save snippets from various documents and Web pages to my collection of notes for later reference. The process of dragging text from other applications is easier to do than to explain, so bear with me.
To save text from other applications, follow these steps:
You can actually drag text to any Outlook module, but Notes is the most useful module to drag things into. In other modules, the text always ends up in the box at the bottom of the New Item Form. You can always select and drag text up from the box at the bottom of the form after you've captured the information in the form.
You can delete any Outlook item by dragging the item to the Deleted Items icon on the Outlook Bar. I won't go into detail about how to drag items to the deleted items folder.
Clicking the item you want to delete and clicking the Delete button on the toolbar or pressing Del on your keyboard is a whole bunch easier.
Undeleting items by dragging them out of the Deleted Items folder is just as simple and more useful when you have the need.
To undelete deleted items, follow these steps:
After you drag an item from the Deleted Items folder back to the folder from which it came, the item takes its place among all the other items in the folder as if it had never been deleted.