Personalizing Outlook

From Outlook's Tools, Options menu, you can see how to make Outlook work even harder for you.

Choose Tools, Options to display the Options dialog box shown in Figure 15.5. The Options dialog box will have differing numbers of tabs, depending on your installation mode. Figure 15.5 shows seven tabs that normally appear in C/W (Corporate/Workgroup) mode. Depending on your installation, you might see more or fewer tabs. For example, if you have Exchange Services installed, you'll have an eighth tab, Delegates. If you don't have Internet E-mail installed, that tab will be missing.

Figure 15.5. The Options box is used to personalize Outlook to meet your needs ”shown here in Corporate/Workgroup mode with Internet E-mail installed.


Initially, you might find that most of the settings are acceptable. In this section, only a few of the options will be covered. Others are seldom used.

Personalizing Email Options

The E-mail options control the basic behavior of the Inbox and how you work with messages. Choose Tools, Options, Preferences tab, and click E-mail Options (see Figure 15.6). It is divided into two parts : Message Handling and On Replies and Forwards. The very first option controls what Outlook does after you move or delete an open message. The choices are

  • Open the previous item (default)

  • Open the next item

  • Return to the Inbox

Figure 15.6. E-mail Options lets you control how messages are handled (shown in Corporate/Workgroup mode).


After using Outlook for a while, you will get a feel for which of these behaviors is most useful to you.

Other Message Handling options include:

  • Close original message on reply or forward (unchecked by default) ” If you typically find that you don't need to look at the original message after you send a reply or forward, this option saves you the work of having to close the original. If, however, you usually find yourself having to reopen the original message, this option will be an annoyance.

  • Save copies of messages in Sent Items folder (checked by default) ” In a work environment, you typically need to keep copies of most email you send, making this option essential. In a home environment, you might not want to keep email you send. If you do keep this option checked, you can always cull out sent items you don't want to keep or, better still, use the Rules Wizard to organize and delete outgoing (as well as incoming) messages.

  • Display a notification message when new mail arrives (unchecked by default) ” With this option enabled, Outlook pops up a notification dialog box each time new mail arrives. If you get tons of mail, you will quickly tire of this option. On the other hand, if you're expecting something crucial, you might want to enable this option on an as-needed basis.

  • Automatically save unsent messages ” This option automatically saves unsent messages in the Drafts folder (by default). This provides an insurance policy if Outlook crashes or if the lights go out. It also lets you save a message in mid-composition when you're not finished, for example, when it's time to shut down for the day or when you need to do additional research before completing a message. Click Advanced E-mail options to change the folder where unsent messages are saved, as well as how often Outlook automatically saves drafts in progress.

You've already had a glimpse at the Advanced E-mail Options dialog box, shown in Figure 15.7. You might never need to change them, but they can be useful.

Figure 15.7. The Advanced E-mail Options dialog box allows you to further refine Outlook's mail handling behavior (C/W mode).


Tracking lets you know when messages are delivered (but not necessarily when they get read). By default, messages aren't tracked. Click the Tracking Options button to display the Tracking Options dialog box.

Looking at the lower half of the E-mail Options dialog box, you can control the appearance and content of forwarded mail and replies. Under When Replying or When Forwarding, click the drop-down arrow to see the array of choices. You can also prefix each line of an original message with a mark of your choice, as well as mark your own comments with your initials or some other indicator.

Automatically Add People to Contacts

If you use Outlook in Internet Only mode, you will have an additional option at the bottom of the E-mail Options dialog box ”Automatically Put People I Reply to In. Selecting this option automatically adds people to whom you send mail to your Contacts folder.

Choosing Calendar Options

The Calendar options allow you to establish the days and times that you work. Choose Tools, Options, Preferences tab. Note that you can set the default time for appointment reminders. If you typically find yourself resetting the reminder time to an hour or some other time, change the setting here to save yourself work later. Click the Calendar Options button to display the dialog box shown in Figure 15.8.

Figure 15.8. The Calendar Options dialog box allows you to set your personal schedule.


Selecting Task Options

Choose Tools, Options, Preferences tab, and click Task Options to display the dialog box shown in Figure 15.9. Drop-down menus allow you to choose the colors for Overdue and Completed tasks. Choose the desired colors and click OK to return to the main dialog box. Back in the main Options dialog box, Reminder Time lets you specify the time that you will be reminded about tasks due each day.

Figure 15.9. The Task Options dialog box allows you to set the display colors for overdue and completed tasks.


Controlling Contacts Display

The Contact Options button is used to control the way contact names are displayed and the order in which contacts are filed or sorted. The Contact Options dialog box, shown in Figure 15.10, provides pull-down controls for choosing display and sorting options.

Figure 15.10. Contact Options lets you choose how names are displayed and filed.


Controlling the Journal

Properly used, the Journal can automatically keep track of Outlook and Office "events" ”email messages, meeting activities, task activities, along with time spent working on Office documents. The Journal Options dialog box is used to control which "events" Outlook keeps track of.

Setting the Options for Notes

The final option on the Preferences tab of the Options dialog box is controlling the Notes feature ”choose Tool, Options, Preferences tab, Note Options. Outlook's Notes are like electronic yellow sticky notes you can write as ideas occur to you. As shown in Figure 15.11, Notes Options lets you control color , size, and font.

Figure 15.11. Control of the Notes feature is fairly limited. You can set the color, size, and font used.


Mail Delivery (Internet Only Mode)

If you use Outlook in Internet Only mode, the Mail Delivery tab shows up in the Options tab instead of Mail Services. Shown in Figure 15.12, this dialog box is divided into three sections:

  • Accounts Manager ” Lets you select and define mail and directory service accounts.

  • Mail Account Options ” Lets you control sending and receiving of email.

  • Dial-up Options ” Lets you control Outlook's use of Dial-up Networking (which is set up through Start, Programs, Accessories, Communications, Dial-Up Networking).

Figure 15.12. The Mail Delivery tab is used in Internet Only mode.



A number of options shown in the Mail Delivery tab in Internet Only mode are available in the Internet E-mail tab when set up in Corporate/Workgroup mode.

Note the Reconfigure Mail Support button at the bottom of the Mail Delivery options dialog box. This button lets you switch between Internet Only and Corporate/Workgroup modes. If you're set up in C/W mode, this button is located in the Mail Services tab.

Mail Format

The Mail Format Options dialog box, shown in Figure 15.13, is divided into three sections:

  • Message Format ” This option group lets you choose among HTML, RTF (rich text formatting), and Plain Text.

  • Stationery and Fonts ” This option group lets you specify the fonts for viewing email and ”when using HTML or RTF ”the fonts for sending email, as well. Note that font and signature settings are unavailable when Word is selected as the email editor.

  • Signature ” This option lets you set up custom signatures to be added to messages you compose.

Figure 15.13. Mail Format Options lets you choose how email is formatted for sending and for display.


Setting the Options for Spelling

Spelling options can be set to reflect your personal preferences. One option that is generally turned off that you will want to turn on is the command to always check spelling before sending a message.

Establishing Other Options

The Other tab is divided into three parts, as shown in Figure 15.14.

  • General ” Lets you tell Outlook to automatically empty the Deleted Items folder when exiting. Also provides access to Advanced options, which lets you set Outlook's startup folder, warning behavior when deleting, and other options. Click the Advanced Options button and explore the options and settings on your own.

  • AutoArchive ” The AutoArchive button lets you specify Outlook's archiving behavior. Additional settings can be accessed by right-clicking a folder and choosing Properties, AutoArchive tab (except for Contacts and Outlook Today).

  • Preview Pane ” The Preview Pane button lets you configure the appearance and behavior of the Preview pane where the top part of your email messages appear so you can skim through your messages. To turn the Preview pane on and off, use View, Preview Pane or use the Preview Pane button on the Advanced toolbar.

Figure 15.14. The Other tab of the Options dialog box allows you to control when the Deleted Items folder is emptied, the frequency of AutoArchive, and the look of the Preview pane (figure shown in Corporate/Workgroup mode).


Sams Teach Yourself Office Productivity All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Office Productivity All in One (Sams Teach Yourself All in One)
ISBN: 0672325349
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 474
Authors: Greg Perry © 2008-2017.
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