Microsoft Outlook for Dummies

Microsoft Outlook for Dummies



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764500800
Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/01/1997
Series: For Dummies Series
Pages: 364
Product dimensions: 7.34(w) x 9.19(h) x 0.96(d)

First Chapter

Chapter 1
This Is Your Life with Outlook

In This Chapter

  • Enjoying an out-of-box experience
  • Reading e-mail
  • Creating a contact from a message
  • Creating an appointment from a contact
  • Creating a task from an appointment
  • Creating a phone message from a contact
  • Taking notes
  • Using AutoDialing
  • E-mailing a file

Outlook is an information manager. That means that Outlook doesn't just help you deal with your computer; it also helps you deal with people. We're not just talking about documents or databases here. Dealing with other people and the things we do in connection with other people is much more important than what kind of documents we produce.

I leave Outlook running on my computer constantly. Why? Because I'm never sure when an idea will hit me or when I'll remember a new task I have to complete. I find it handy to just have Outlook going so that I can deal with whatever comes up at the spur of the moment.

You can use the same methods to do many different things in Outlook; click an icon to do something, view something, or complete something. Drag an item from one Outlook module to the icon for another module to create an item that represents something else you have to do. (I explain things like icons and modules as I go along.)

The pictures I show you in this book and the instructions that I give you assume that you're using Outlook the way it comes out of the box from Microsoft. If you don't like the way the program looks or what things are named when you install Outlook, you can change nearly everything. If you change many things, however, some of the instructions and examples I give you won't make sense because the parts of the program I talk about may have names that you gave them, rather than the ones that Microsoft originally assigned. The Microsoft people generally did a good job of making Outlook easy to use. I suggest leaving the general arrangement alone until you're comfortable with Outlook.

An Out-of-Box Experience

Warning -- the story that you are about to read could be true, with a few small changes. Just change the names to those of the people you need to meet, call, and work with. The actual work you do may differ, but all the things that Outlook does in the story are true.

The story starts in the offices of your successful business, Dot Company. You sell dots. You have a Web site ( You're a dot dealer. Everybody knows that you've got dots (megadots, baby!). It's your job to keep those dots moving and make sure that they get to their destinations by 10 a.m. on the dot.

Read e-mail

You start your computer and double-click the Outlook icon on the desktop. There's a message waiting for you. Before you open it, you know that this message means the start of another busy day. The title of the message tells you that it's from Stan Spotman, the dotmaster of Megacorp. That outfit needs lots of dots. Something about the message tells you that Stan's got trouble and needs your help fast. It's not just your keen instincts that give you the clue: The message is new, so it's in AutoPreview (see Figure 1-1). You can see the first three lines: (Because my page isn't as wide as a computer screen, this message takes more than three lines on this page.)

Subj: Dot supplies

We've had a sudden drop in our dot supply at Megacorp. We don't know yet whether there's a leak or some kind of mechanical difficulty, but our dot supply is down to less than 48-hours worth. We're willing to pay

Pay -- the magic word! What is the massive but miserly Megacorp ready to shell out for your premium dots?

Here's how to see the entire message:

  1. Click Inbox in the Outlook Bar.

    You instinctively click the Inbox icon. You don't need this step if you can already see the messages, but it doesn't hurt.

  2. Double-click the title of the message.

    Now you can see the entire message, which reads as follows:

    Subj: Dot supplies

    We've had a sudden drop in our dot supply at Megacorp. We don't know yet whether there's a leak or some kind of me- chanical difficulty, but our dot supply is down to less than 48-hours worth. We're willing to pay up to 5 cents per dot for top-quality dots that last more than 48 hours. We've contacted you and Dot's Dots for immediate supplies. Contact me ASAP.
    Stan Spotman
    Megacorp, Inc.,
    555 Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60632
    312 555-9730

  3. Press Escape.

You close the message and swing into action. There's no time to lose.

Create a contact

You need to keep Stan's vital statistics handy for messages, phone calls, deliveries, and (most important) the bill.

Here's how you save stats on Stan:

  1. Hold down the mouse button and drag the mail message to the Contacts icon.

    The Contact form opens, with Stan's name and e-mail address already filled in. You think back to the old days, when you had to waste time entering e-mail addresses again and again. You always figured that computers should know how to do that; that's what they're for. The text of Stan's e-mail message is in the box at the bottom of the Contact form (see Figure 1-2).

    To save time, swipe your mouse over the part of the message where Stan put his phone number and drag it up to the Business Phone block of the Contact form. Then do the same with his mailing address. You've got the goods on Stan.

  2. Click the Save and Close button (or press Alt+S).

You click the Contacts icon again to see whether Stan's stats wound up in the Contact list. You know Outlook has never let you down, but you like to be sure.

Make an appointment

Your finely tuned business instincts tell you that you need to meet a client in person when he's in a really tough spot. Also, something fishy about this sudden dot loss makes you want to see Stan face to face. You decide to invite Stan to lunch tomorrow.

Here's how you enter an appointment in your calendar:

  1. Click the Contacts icon.

    You see Stan's record in the Contact list.

  2. Drag the icon next to the name on the Contact list to the Calendar icon.

    The Meeting form appears (see Figure 1-3). Stan's name is already in that form, with an underline -- Outlook's way of telling you that it will handle the e-mail, leaving you to handle Stan.

  3. Type a subject in the Subject box.

    Your subject -- Dots -- gets right to the point.

  4. Open the Location menu and choose one of your favorite haunts as a meeting location.

    You can type any place you want, but for people in the dot game, Matt's Grill is the spot. You go there often, so Outlook automatically stores it in your location list.

  5. Click the Start Date box and type Tomorrow.

    What's tomorrow's date? That's not your concern; Outlook takes care of it.

  6. Click the Start time box and type Noon.

    You know a lot, but whether noon is 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. is still confusing. Leave the problem to Outlook; you've got better things to do.

  7. Click the Reminder box and choose 30 minutes in the adjacent box.

    You like to have Outlook remind you to leave early enough to get your regular seat at Matt's Grill.

  8. Type a message in the text box at the bottom of the form.

    Your message might say something like "Let's have lunch tomorrow. Matt's at noon? Call to confirm." You know that Stan's a regular at Matt's Grill, so lunch won't be a problem.

  9. Click the Save button (or press Alt+S).

Saving steps is the name of the game, and you just saved three: You simultaneously suggested a meeting with Stan, entered the meeting in your calendar, and set a reminder for yourself.

Create a task

Before you make a deal with Stan, you'll have to check the dot market. If you're meeting him at noon, you should check the market in the morning.

Here's how you add a task to your Tasks list:

  1. Click the Calendar icon.

    The appointment that you entered for Stan is already in your calendar.

  2. Drag the icon for the appointment that you made to the Tasks icon.

    The new task borrowed the subject from your Dots appointment and borrowed the date.

  3. Change the subject to Check dot market.

    This message is just for you -- now you have a task to do!

  4. Click the Reminder check box.

    The reminder is already set for 8 a.m. Because you don't get to the office until 9, a reminder message will pop up at 8 a.m. and remain on your screen until you postpone or dismiss the message. You could change the reminder to later if you want, but it's best to get to your top task first thing.

  5. Click Save and Close (or press Alt+S).

The Task form closes and your task is entered on the tasks list.

Take a phone message

No sooner do you send your message to Stan than the phone rings. Stan sounds worried. "I have to do this dot deal today," he stammers. "Dot's Dots is out of dots; you're my only shot for dots."

"For only a nickel a dot?" you shoot back, knowing that he'll get your point.

"OK," he says. "Eight cents."

Without a pause, you respond, "I'll have to check my sources." You know that you've got him on the spot.

"Ten cents. Period," he replies.

You have some fast work to do. You tell Stan you'll get back to him.

First, you need to get a record of this conversation in the Journal in case Stan "forgets" what he offered.

Here's how you create a Journal entry to keep a record of a phone conversation:

  1. Click the Contacts icon.

    Stan's record is there on-screen.

  2. Drag the contact record to the Journal icon.

    The Journal form opens, with Stan's name and the current time filled in. At the bottom of the form is an icon, which is a shortcut to Stan's contact record, in case you need to refer to it. Below that icon is a blinking bar that indicates where text will appear when you start typing (see Figure 1-4).

  3. Type Ten Cents a Dot.

  4. Click the Save and Close button (or press Alt+S).

Now you have a record of exactly when Stan called and what you need to remember about the call.

Take notes

The fact that your competitor, Dot's Dots, is totally out of stock is curious. You don't have much time to check out the situation, but you want to make a note of it for later reference.

Here's how you can take a quick note:

  1. Open the New items menu from the New tool at the left end of the toolbar and choose Note.

    A yellow square pops up on-screen; it looks like a yellow paper sticky note (see Figure 1-5).

  2. Type the note that you want to remember (in this case, Dot out of Dots???).

    That note will be enough to jog your memory later. The note automatically includes the date and time when you wrote it, just for your records.

  3. Click the Close button in the upper-right corner of the note (or press Alt+F4).

This note is just for your own use; you won't be reminded. Sometime later, though, you may want to search for the phrase out of dots, and you'll have a note of exactly when it happened.

Return a phone call

You've checked your own dot supply, and you've decided to do the dime-a-dot deal with Stan. You don't need to look up his number to call him back because your modem is set up to dial for you.

Here's how you use the AutoDialer to make a call:

  1. Click the Contacts icon.

    Stan's record is on-screen.

  2. Click Stan's name in the contact screen.

    Stan's record is highlighted to show that he's the one you want to call (see Figure 1-6). You see Stan's name and address in a little box that looks like an address card, because you're using the Address Card view of the Contact list.

  3. Click the AutoDialer button in the toolbar.

    The New Call dialog box pops up with Stan's name and phone number already filled in (see Figure 1-7).

  4. Pick up the phone and click the Start Call button in the New Call dialog box.

    The Call Status dialog box opens (see Figure 1-8).

  5. Click Talk to begin talking.

    You reach Stan and tell him that dimes for dots is a done deal. He recalls offering eight cents. You refresh his memory and tell him that you're sending a contract by e-mail. He agrees, grudgingly.

  6. Click the End Call button.

    You're back in the New Call dialog box.

  7. Click the Close button in the New Call dialog box.

You're done with the call, but you're not done with Stan just yet.

Send a file

The file for your standard contract for dots is stored in your My Documents folder; it's called DotCom Standard Contract. You can mail Stan this contract file without using the Post Office -- just your computer.

Here's how you send a file by e-mail:

  1. Click the word Other in the lowest gray bar in the Outlook Bar.

    The My Computer icon appears.

  2. Click the My Computer icon.

    A list of your disk drives appears (see Figure 1-9).

  3. Double-click the (C:) icon.

    A list of the folders on your C drive appears.

  4. Double-click the My Documents folder icon.

    A list of the files in your My Documents folder appears; DotCom Standard Contract is among them.

  5. Click the word Outlook in the highest gray bar in the Outlook Bar.

    The list of Outlook icons appears -- Inbox, Contacts, Calendar, and so on -- but the main part of the screen still shows the files in your My Documents folder.

  6. Click the name of a file and drag it to the Inbox icon.

    In this case, you'd drag DotCom Standard Contract to the Inbox icon. The Message form appears, with an icon in the bottom box titled DotCom Standard Contract. That icon represents the file that you're sending to Stan (the contract). The title of the message is the same as the name of the file (DotCom Standard Contract).

  7. Click the To box and type the name of the person to whom you're sending the file.

    Because you've already entered Stan in your Contact list, all you have to do is type Stan Spotman. Outlook figures out what to do about sending the message.

  8. Click Send (or press Alt+S).

Your contract is on the way to Stan, and you're ready to return to business as usual.

The Bottom Line

Your daily working life may not run like a detective story, but a well-organized desktop information manager such as Outlook can help you out. If you use Outlook only for the few things I mention in this chapter, you'll save time. But Outlook has more -- lots more.

Later in the book, I show you other ways to use Outlook to save steps and combine tasks automatically. Some tasks, such as keeping track of your files, make more sense when you handle them through Outlook than if you use the Windows Explorer that comes with Windows 95. You can also kill two or more birds with one stone by using the drag-and-drop method of creating new Outlook items from old items so that you don't have to keep retyping the same information over and over. I get into more ways to save time and effort with drag-and-drop techniques in Chapter 3.

You can install Outlook in a variety of ways that can make a difference in how you do things. I'm assuming that, if you're on a corporate network, a computer staff deals with setup and configuration. Corporate users may have different names for the folders and icons that I'm describing because of the way that their computer departments set things up. I'm using the names that Office 97 gives to commonly used files and folders in which most documents are stored, such as the My Documents folder. Where names may differ wildly, I try to make a note of that fact so that you know.

Table of Contents

Who Should Buy This Book
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: The Outlook Lookout
Part II: E-Mail and Contacts: Not Just Playing Post Office
Part III: Taking Care of Business
Part IV: The Part of Tens
Conventions Used in This Book
How much do you need to know?
Some helpful terms
Dialog boxes
Keyboard shortcuts
Icons used in this book
Getting Started

Part I: The Outlook Lookout

Chapter 1: This Is Your Life with Outlook
An Out-of-Box Experience
Read e-mail
Create a contact
Make an appointment
Create a task
Take a phone message
Take notes
Return a phone call
Send a file
The Bottom Line

Chapter 2: Inside Outlook: Mixing, Matching, and Managing Information
Office 97 and Outlook
Enter the PIM
There's No Place Like Home: Outlook's Main Screen
Outlook modules
Belly up to the Outlook Bar
The Information Viewer: Outlook's hotspot
Navigating the Folder List
Clicking Once: The Outlook Toolbar
Viewing ToolTips
Using the New tool
Turning Parts of the Outlook Screen On and Off
Getting Help from the Office Assistant

Chapter 3: No Typing, Please! -- Drag 'til You Drop
How to Drag
Creating E-Mail Messages
From a name in your Address Book
From an appointment
Sending a File by E-Mail
Creating Contact Records from E-Mail
Creating a Journal Entry for a Contact
Drag and Drop Dead: Deleting Stuff

Chapter 4: Files and Folders: A Quick Course in Keeping Things Straight
Managing Your Files
Selecting files
Moving, copying, and deleting files
Creating a new folder
Renaming folders
Renaming files
Using Views with Files and Folders
Sorting files in a folder
Icons view
Details view
By Author view
By File Type view
Document Timeline view
Programs view
Final Facts on Filing

Chapter 5: How You See It: Views and New Views
Types of Views
Table view
Icons view
Timeline view
Card view
Day/Week/Month view
Playing with Columns in Table View
Adding a column
Moving a column
Formatting a column
Widening (or shrinking) a column
Removing a column
From Table view
From the Sort dialog box
Grouping views with drag and drop
Using the Group By dialog box
Viewing grouped items
Viewing headings only
Creating Custom Table Views
From an existing view
Using the Define Views dialog box
A Bridge from the Views

Chapter 6: Creating Your Own Forms
Adding a Standard Field to a Form
Adding a User-Defined Field to a Form
Using the Form You've Designed
Making a Custom Form a Folder's Default Form

Part II: E-Mail and Contacts: Not Just Playing Post Office

Chapter 7: E-Mail: Basic Delivery
Front Ends and Back Ends
Creating Messages
Setting the priority of a message
Setting the sensitivity of a message
Adding an Internet link to an e-mail message
Reading and Replying to E-Mail Messages
Previewing message text
Sending a reply
Using a link to the Web from your e-mail
That's Not My Department: Forwarding Mail
Deleting Messages
Saving Interrupted Messages
Saving a Message as a File

Chapter 8: E-Mail: Special Delivery
Nagging by Flagging
Adding a flag to an e-mail message
Changing the date on a flag
Making a Sent Message Unavailable after a Specified Date
Saving Delivery for a Later Date
Diverting Message Replies to Another User
Saving Copies of Your Messages
Automatically Adding Your Name to the Original Message when Replying
Setting Your Options
Sending Attachments

Chapter 9: Sorting Your Mail
Creating a New Mail Folder
Moving messages to another folder
Creating and using a template
Viewing Your Messages
Messages view
AutoPreview view
Flagged view
Last Seven Days view
Flagged for Next Seven Days view
By Conversation Topic view
By Sender view
Unread Messages view
Sent To view
Message Timeline view

Chapter 10: Your Little Black Book: Creating Contact Lists
Storing Names, Numbers, and Other Stuff
Viewing Contacts
Sorting a view
Rearranging views
Using grouped views
Creating your own groups
Saving a view
Deleting a saved view
Finding Contacts

Chapter 11: Personal Distribution Lists and Address Books
Creating a Personal Distribution List
Using a Personal Distribution List
Editing a Personal Distribution List
Importing an Address Book from Schedule+ and Other Applications
Why All These Address Books?

Chapter 12: Online and Internet Service Providers
The Microsoft Network (MSN): Built-in Compatibility
Signing up
Setting up Outlook
Getting your Internet mail
Finding addresses on MSN
Other Options
Using CompuServe as your online service
Other Internet service providers

Part III: Taking Care of Business

Chapter 13: Days and Dates: Keeping Your Calendar
The Date Navigator: Really Getting Around
Meetings Galore: Scheduling Appointments
Not this time: Changing dates
Not ever: Breaking dates
We've got to keep seeing each other: Recurring dates
Getting a Good View of Your Calendar
Printing Your Appointments

Chapter 14: A Sticky Subject: Using Notes
Writing a Note
Finding a Note
Reading a Note
Deleting a Note
Changing the Size of a Note
Changing Your Colors
Viewing Your Notes
Icons view
Notes List view
Last Seven Days view
By Category view
By Color
Assigning a Category to Your Notes
Printing Your Notes
Printing a list of your notes
Printing the contents of a note
Changing Your Default Options for New Notes
Changing size and color
Turning the date and time display on or off
Forwarding a Note
A Final Note

Chapter 15: Journaling
Don't Just Do Something -- Stand There!
Recording an Outlook item in the Journal manually
Recording a document in the Journal
Viewing Journal Entries for a Contact
Finding a Journal Entry
Printing Your Journal
Viewing the Journal
The Entry List
By Type
By Contact
By Category
Last Seven Days
Phone Calls
It's All in the Journal

Chapter 16: Do It Yourself -- Scheduling Your Own Tasks
Using the Outlook Tasks List
Entering New Tasks
The quick-and-dirty way to enter a task
The regular way to enter a task
Adding an Internet link to a Task
Editing Your Tasks
The quick-and-dirty way to change a task
The regular way to change a task
Copying a task
Deleting a task
Assigning a Task to Someone Else
Managing Recurring Tasks
Creating a regenerating task
Skipping a recurring task once
Marking Tasks Complete
Marking several tasks complete
Picking a color for completed or overdue tasks
Viewing Your Tasks
Simple List
Detailed List
Active Tasks
Next Seven Days
Overdue Tasks
By Category
By Person Responsible
Completed Tasks
Task Timeline

Chapter 17: Going Public with Discussion Folders
Viewing a Public Folder
Adding New Items
Replying to Items in an Existing Public Discussion Folder
Moving Items to a Public Folder
For the Public Record

Chapter 18: Mail Merge from Outlook to Microsoft Word
Creating Mailing Labels
Printing Envelopes
Creating a Form Letter from the Contact List
Merging Selected Records

Part IV: The Part of Tens

Chapter 19: Ten Shortcuts Worth Taking
Use the New Item Tool
Add Your Floppy Drive to the Outlook Bar
Send File to E-Mail Recipient
Send File from an Office 97 Application
Click Open the Folder List
Go to Date
Add Items to List Views
Keep a Note Open
Navigate with Browser Buttons

Chapter 20: Ten Office 97 Tricks for Creating Snappier E-Mail
Tricks that Work in Word
Animated text
Table tools
Office Art
Document Map
Check grammar as you type
Tricks You Can Do in Excel
Apply conditional formatting
Merge Excel cells
Angle Excel text
Now for This Message

Chapter 21: Ten Things Outlook Can Do That Windows Explorer Can't
Print a List of Files
Rearrange Columns
Format Columns
Create Grouped Views
Display Office 97 Document Comments
Create Custom Views of Each Folder
Save Different Views of Each Folder
Create Views Based on Document Properties
Sort, Group, and View by Predefined Criteria
Show Files on Document Timeline

Chapter 22: Let's Go Surfin' Now: Ten Ways to Use Outlook with the Internet
Use the Favorites Folder
Store a Contact's Web Pages
Send Internet E-Mail
Receive Internet E-Mail
Include Internet Hotlinks in E-Mail Messages
Include Internet Hotlinks in Any Outlook Item (Except Notes)
Save Internet E-Mail Addresses in Your Address Book
Drag Scraps of Text from a Web Page
Download New Outlook Forms from the Internet
Get Help on the Web

Chapter 23: Ten Things You Can't Do with Outlook
The Top Ten List
Customize the toolbar
Use Outlook categories in a Word 97 Mail Merge
Use Outlook custom fields in a Word 97 Mail Merge
Use Word custom fields in Outlook views
Make Outlook start other programs
Display parts of different modules in the same view
Save the Folder List in a custom view
Embed pictures in Notes
Automatically Journal all contact stuff
Calculate expenses with Journal Phone Call entries
Cross-reference items to jump to different modules
Ten More Things Outlook Can't Do for You

Chapter 24: Ten Things You Can Do Once You're Comfy
Add a Group to the Outlook Bar
Rename a Group in the Outlook Bar
Delete a Group from the Outlook Bar
Rename an Icon in the Outlook Bar
Using Outlook Fields to Create Special Mailings
Add a Photo to a Contact Item
Select Dates as a Group
Sign Out with Auto Signature
Change Your Office Assistant
Create Your Own Type of Outlook Field


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