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 (
www.dotcom.com). 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.
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
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:
- Click Inbox in the Outlook Bar.
- Double-click the title of the message.
- 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
- Stan Spotman
- Press Escape.
You instinctively click the Inbox icon. You don't need this step if you can already see the messages, but it doesn't hurt.
Now you can see the entire message, which reads as follows:
Subj: Dot supplies
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:
- Hold down the mouse button and drag the mail message to the Contacts icon.
- Click the Save and Close button (or press Alt+S).
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.
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:
- Click the Contacts icon.
- Drag the icon next to the name on the Contact list to the Calendar icon.
- Type a subject in the Subject box.
- Open the Location menu and choose one of your favorite haunts as a meeting location.
- Click the Start Date box and type Tomorrow.
- Click the Start time box and type Noon.
- Click the Reminder box and choose 30 minutes in the adjacent box.
- Type a message in the text box at the bottom of the form.
- Click the Save button (or press Alt+S).
You see Stan's record in the Contact list.
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.
Your subject -- Dots -- gets right to the point.
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.
What's tomorrow's date? That's not your concern; Outlook takes care of it.
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.
You like to have Outlook remind you to leave early enough to get your regular seat at Matt's Grill.
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.
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:
- Click the Calendar icon.
- Drag the icon for the appointment that you made to the Tasks icon.
- Change the subject to Check dot market.
- Click the Reminder check box.
- Click Save and Close (or press Alt+S).
The appointment that you entered for Stan is already in your calendar.
The new task borrowed the subject from your Dots appointment and borrowed the date.
This message is just for you -- now you have a task to do!
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.
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:
- Click the Contacts icon.
- Drag the contact record to the Journal icon.
- Type Ten Cents a Dot.
- Click the Save and Close button (or press Alt+S).
Stan's record is there on-screen.
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).
Now you have a record of exactly when Stan called and what you need to remember about the call.
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:
- Open the New items menu from the New tool at the left end of the toolbar and choose Note.
- Type the note that you want to remember (in this case, Dot out of Dots???).
- Click the Close button in the upper-right corner of the note (or press Alt+F4).
A yellow square pops up on-screen; it looks like a yellow paper sticky note (see Figure 1-5).
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.
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:
- Click the Contacts icon.
- Click Stan's name in the contact screen.
- Click the AutoDialer button in the toolbar.
- Pick up the phone and click the Start Call button in the New Call dialog box.
- Click Talk to begin talking.
- Click the End Call button.
- Click the Close button in the New Call dialog box.
Stan's record is on-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.
The New Call dialog box pops up with Stan's name and phone number already filled in (see Figure 1-7).
The Call Status dialog box opens (see Figure 1-8).
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.
You're back 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:
- Click the word Other in the lowest gray bar in the Outlook Bar.
- Click the My Computer icon.
- Double-click the (C:) icon.
- Double-click the My Documents folder icon.
- Click the word Outlook in the highest gray bar in the Outlook Bar.
- Click the name of a file and drag it to the Inbox icon.
- Click the To box and type the name of the person to whom you're sending the file.
- Click Send (or press Alt+S).
The My Computer icon appears.
A list of your disk drives appears (see Figure 1-9).
A list of the folders on your C drive appears.
A list of the files in your My Documents folder appears; DotCom Standard Contract is among them.
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.
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).
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.
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 ContentsIntroduction
- 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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