Manage the Outlook Environment

In this module, we’ll look at some ways to improve your productivity by customizing the Outlook environment and performing searches. You’ll learn how to work with multiple accounts and print and save different types of information. 

Customize Settings

Customize Replies to Messages

When you reply to messages in Outlook, sometimes it’s faster to respond right next to the questions or statements in the body of the original message. To do this, turn on inline comments.

Here’s how to turn on inline comments.

  1. Select the File tab to open the Backstage view.
A screenshot of a cell phone

Description generated with very high confidence
  1. Select the Options tab. 
  1. In the Options dialog box, select the Mail tab on the left.
  2. Scroll down to the Replies and Forward section.
  1. Check the Preface comments with box.
  1. Indicate the text you want to appear before comments. This text will show in brackets in your replies, such as in the following example.
Setting in Options for inline comments
Adding inline comments to a message
  1. Select how to handle the original message text. For using inline commenting, you’ll want to include the original message text, include and indent it, or prefix each line.
  1. Select OK to close the Options dialog box.

Customize the Navigation Pane

You can change what appears on the Navigation bar to customize Outlook for how you work.

Here’s how to change the navigation options.

  1. At the bottom of the left navigation pane, select the three dots icon. 
Outlook Navigation Bar
  1. Select Navigation Options.
  2. In the Navigation Options dialog box, indicate how many items to include in the main view. The remaining items will be available under the three dots icon.
  1. To use icons for a more compact view, check the Compact Navigation box. Uncheck it to see the expanded options.
  2. To rearrange the order, highlight the view you want to rearrange and select the Move Up or Move Down buttons. Or just drag the view to a new order in the list. You can always select Reset to go back to the default options.
  3. Select OK.

Perform Search Operations in Outlook

Create a Search Folder

A search folder allows you to view all messages that meet certain criteria in one place, even if they are stored in different mail folders.

Here’s how to create a standard search folder.

  1. Select the Folder tab from the Ribbon.
  2. Select New Search Folder.
  1. In the New Search Folder dialog box, highlight the search folder that you want to use.
  2. Some types of search folders will require additional information. If so, enter the information. For example, Mail from specific people requires a contact. You can use the Choose button to open the Select Names: Contacts dialog box to choose the email address(es) to use for this search.
  1. Select where to search from the Search mail in drop down list. If you have connected Outlook to more than one email address, you’ll have to search each set of folders separately.
  2. Select OK.

Outlook adds the folder to the navigation area and immediately includes any messages that meet the selected criteria in the search folder. 

When you delete a search folder, it does not delete the messages, because the messages are not actually stored in the search folder. You can delete the messages individually from the search folder.

Here’s how to create a custom search folder. In this example, we’ll use an alternate method of opening the New Search Folder dialog box.

  1. Select Search Folder from the folder pane. If you have already created a search folder, you’ll need to right-click.
  1. Select New Search Folder.
  2. In the New Search Folder dialog box, highlight Create a custom Search Folder.
  1. Select Choose to open the Custom Search Folder dialog box.
  1. Enter a Name for the Search Folder.
  2. Select Criteria.
  3. In the Search Folder Criteria dialog box, enter information in any of the fields on the Messages, More Choices, or Advanced tabs. You’ll need at least one type of criteria, but you can have more than one.
  1. Select OK in the Custom Search Folder dialog box.
  2. Select OK in the New Search Folder dialog box.

Perform an Instant Search

At the top of the Message list, you can quickly search for keywords.

Here’s how to perform an instant search.

  1. Click in the Search Current Mailbox box at the top of any Message List. Outlook highlights the search area.
  1. Enter the text to include in the search. As you begin typing, Outlook starts searching. It displays the Search Results in the Message list.
  2. You can select a different search location from the drop down list.

This example shows messages as well as calendar items.

  1. Click the X in the Instant Search box to clear the search results.

Perform an Advanced Find

There are additional search tools on the Ribbon to help you change the scope, refine the search or perform an advanced find.

Here’s how to refine a search.

  1. Click in the Instant Search box.
  2. Select the Search tab from the Ribbon. 
  1. Select an item from the Refine area on the Search tab of the Ribbon. In the following illustration, the From refine tool (with additional information in the parenthesis) and the This week option have been used. Notice the coding in the Instant Search box.

Here’s how to perform an advanced find.

  1. Select the Search tab from the Ribbon.
  2. Select Search Tools.
  3. Select Advanced Find from the drop down list.
  1. In the Advanced Find dialog box, you’ll find the same tabs as on the Search Folder Criteria dialog box. Enter information in any of the fields on the Messages, More Choices, or Advanced tabs. You’ll need at least one type of criteria, but you can have more than one. In addition, choose an option from the Look drop down list to indicate what types of items Outlook should find. You can select to Browse choose a new location for Outlook to search for the criteria.
  1. Select Find Now.
  2. Any matches are shown at the bottom of the dialog box. You can double-click on the item to open it. The Advanced Find window also stays open so that you can go back to it if needed.

Work with Multiple Accounts

Add an Account

If you’ve got multiple email addresses, you can add them all to Outlook to read all your messages in one place.

Here’s how to set up an email account.

  1. Select the File tab on the Ribbon to open the Backstage View.
  2. Select Add Account.
  1. Follow the prompts to enter your email address and password.

You are ready to begin receiving email messages.

The additional email address has a separate set of folders in the Navigation pane.

Change the Default Email Account

If you have multiple email accounts, Outlook uses the default account when sending a new message.

Here’s how to change the Default email account.

  1. Select the File tab to open the Backstage View.
  2. Select Account Settings.
  1. In the Account Settings dialog box, highlight the address you want to use as a default, and select Set as Default.
  1. Select Close.

Change From When Sending Mail

If you don’t want to change which account your message is from every time by changing the default, you can change it on individual messages.

Here’s how to change the account used to send email messages.

  1. In a message window, select the From button.
  1. Select the account you want to send this message from.

Print and Save Information

Print Calendar, Contact, or Task Information

The Print command on the Backstage View has different options, depending on what you want to print.

Here’s how to print different calendar styles.

  1. Switch to Calendar view.
  2. The Calendar view and dates that you show control your printing options. For example, if you want to print by the month, you may show the month that you want to print. You’ll have more options, depending on what time frame you want to print. But for example, if you have a month showing, you may be able to print a day from any of the dates in that time period. You can print by the week any week during that time period.
  3. Select the File tab from the Ribbon to open the Backstage view.
  4. Select the Print tab from the left.
  5. Select the desired style to print from the list under Settings. You can see a preview of the selected style on the right.

In the following examples, the whole week starting January 1 is visible in the Calendar view before selecting the File tab.

Daily Style

Notice in the Daily Style view above that there are seven pages available – one for each day of the selected week.

Weekly Agenda Style

Notice in the Weekly Agenda Style view above that there is only one page – just the selected week can be printed in this case. If you view a month before selecting print, you would be able to print several weeks.

Weekly Calendar Style

Monthly Style

Tri-fold Style

The Tri-fold style includes several pages – each date in the selected time frame includes a single day’s calendar style on the left. Your To Do list is shown in the middle, and the week’s agenda style is shown on the right.

Calendar Details Style

The Calendar Details Style only shows items on your main Outlook calendar, but it shows the times and details of each appointment.

Once you have made your selection of which type of calendar you want to print, you can select Print Options to further refine your selection.

In this Print dialog, you can change the calendar by selecting a new one from the Print the calendar drop down list.

Here’s how to print multiple contacts or tasks as a list.

  1. Make sure you are in the Contacts List or a Tasks list view.
  2. Open the folder where the items you want to print are located.
  3. Select the File tab from the Ribbon to open the Backstage view.
  4. Select the Print tab from the left.
  5. Select Table Style from the Settings area. With multiple contacts or tasks selected, it may take a few moments to update the Preview area.
  1. Select your Print Options (if desired) and printer as usual to print.

Here’s how to print multiple contact or task records.

  1. In the folder where the contacts or tasks you want to print are located, select the items you want to print. You can hold down the SHIFT key or the CTRL key to select multiple contacts. 
  2. Select the File tab from the Ribbon to open the Backstage view.
  3. Select the Print tab from the left.
  4. Select Memo Style from the Settings area. With multiple contacts or tasks selected, it may take a few moments to update the Preview area.
  1. Select your Print Options (if desired) and printer as usual to print.

Save Message in Alternate Formats

You can save an individual message as a file on your computer.

Here’s how to save a message as another file type.

  1. Select the message you want to save.
  2. Select the File tab to open the Backstage View.
  3. Select Save As or Save As PDF.
  1. Locate where you want to save the file.
  2. Give the file a name.
  3. If you are changing the file type, select the type from the drop down list.
  1. Select Save.

Export Messages to a Data File

You can export messages from a folder to back them up in an Outlook pst file.

Here’s how to export messages to a data file.

  1. Select the File tab to open the Backstage View.
  2. Select Open & Export from the left navigation tabs.
  3. Select Import/Export.
  4. In the Import and Export dialog box, select Export to a file.
  1. Select Outlook Data File.
  1. Select the folder of data you want to export.
  1. Indicate the location and name of the backup file.
  1. Select Finish.