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Outlook Basics

This page will help you get acquainted with navigating and using Microsoft Outlook. 

Message Pane

The Message Pane is the entirety of your Microsoft Outlook starting screen. It contains a list of the emails in your inbox as well as the email currently selected to be read, by default. (You can turn this option off from the “View” Ribbon Pane.) 

From this pane you can quickly reply to or delete emails, as well as categorize, move and sort around the emails you are looking at. To find out how, move on to the next section.

The Ribbon

The Ribbon is the long strip of icons located at the top of your screen. We’re going to focus on the “HOME” tab, which allows you to send new emails, delete emails, reply and forward emails you are currently reading, activate a quick step, move an email to a different folder, tag your email for sorting, filter your email, or activate any add-ins (such as Adobe Send & Track).  

If you want the Ribbon to persist after you are done using it, you can use the key combination “CTRL + F1” or lick the small pushpin icon in the bottom-right corner to change the setting.

Navigation Pane

The Navigation pane displays the folder tree for your email account. The pane is divided into two sections. The first, Favorites, contains a respository of all of your sent emails, your Deleted items, your inbox, and your clutter contents.

Below that you can find your email folder tree. This list contains directories of your Inbox and the folders inside of it, any Drafts of emails that were written up but never sent, another way to access your Sent Items and Deleted Items folder, your Cabinet (used to store emails long-term), and your Junk E-Mail folder. 

  • This displays the folder tree for your email account.
  • Click on the three dots to access further outlook modes, such as Notes, Folders, and Outlook shortcuts. Choose the “Navigation Options’ and you can change the order in which the navigation elements appear.
  • Turning off “Compact Navigation” will appeal to users with larger resolution displays. You can also increase or reduce how many items appear and the order they appear in. 

Changing View

The View pane contains helpful essential functions. 

  • The Current View section gives you options to change how Outlook looks by default.
  • The Messages section gives an option to Show as Conversations, which will make all individual emails in a conversation difficult. This is set as the default on Microsoft Outlook.
  • The Arrangement section allows you to see a preview of the markup language you use with a message, as well as decide if you want to flag a message as important or not.
  • The Layout section gives you a few pre-made views to play with. Try them out and find a way of viewing your Outlook that works just for you!
  • The People pane gives you a small view at the contact information of any recipient on a given email.
  • The Window section helps you set when Outlook is and isn’t allowed to open up a new window. Changing the options in this section is what stops Outlook from opening a new window whenever you try to write a new email.
  • “Show as conversations” view. 

New Outlook Updates

This section offers a detailed exploration of the new updates in Outlook. The timestamps for each section are taken from this video 7 New Features in Microsoft Outlook 365.

[00:00] Loop Components for Real-Time Document Collaboration:

  • Collaborate on documents in real-time within emails.
  • Multiple users can edit simultaneously in the Outlook environment.

[01:00] Built-In Find Time Feature for Scheduling Polls:

  • Coordinate meetings efficiently with scheduling polls.
  • Recipients vote on preferred times for easy scheduling.

[02:00] Calendar Filtering Options:

  • Enhanced filtering for customized calendar views.
  • Focus on specific events or event types easily.

[03:00] Embedding Interactive YouTube Videos:

  • Embed YouTube videos directly in emails.
  • Recipients watch videos within the email.

[04:00] Emoji Reactions for Emails:

  • React to emails with emojis for quick feedback.
  • Streamlines and engages communication.

[05:00] “Bookings with Me” Feature:

  • Others can schedule time with the user.
  • Integrates with calendar, provides a booking link for appointments.


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