Navigating around Microsoft Outlook
You can easily jump between Outlook's different areas – Mail, Calendar etc. – based on the order they're displayed (usually, Mail is first, Calendar second, People third, and Tasks fourth):
- Press Ctrl+position_number – so normally Mail would be Ctrl+1, Calendar Ctrl+2, etc.
- Hit Ctrl+Shift+I to return to your Inbox from anywhere in Outlook
If you would rather rearrange these, then at the bottom of the Navigation Bar, click the 'three dots' and select Navigation Options to configure the Navigation panel:
Creating Outlook items
Outlook provides a wealth of different shortcuts for creating items, and these can be used anywhere in Outlook:
- New message: Ctrl+Shift+M
- New task: Ctrl+Shift+K
- New appointment: Ctrl+Shift+A
- New contact: Ctrl+Shift+C
Alternatively, the Ctrl+N shortcut will create a new current item – so in Mail it would create a message, in Calendar it will create an appointment, and so on.
Outlook also has a feature called AutoCreate that allows you to create any Outlook item, based on another one, such as creating an appointment based on the contents of an email:
- Select the item to be used as the base (in the example above, this would be an email)
- Click-and-drag it to the required area (in this example, the Calendar)
Dealing with emails
There are a number of simple keyboard shortcuts that can be used to help deal with emails, and these can be used whether the message is selected (in its folder) or even if the message has been opened (in a separate window):
- Reply: Ctrl+R
- Reply to All: Ctrl+Shift+R
- Forward: Ctrl+F
- Delete: Ctrl+D
- Send the current message: Ctrl+Return
Rather than dragging emails into folders, use the Move to Folder button on the Ribbon. It learns which folders you've used recently which really speeds things up. It's available at the top of the screen when you're in a mail folder or reading an email in its own window.
The same functionality is available if you right‑click an email and select Move > from the shortcut menu.
We often use the 'Follow Up' feature to remind ourselves to deal with a message at a later point, but how about if we could remind someone else to deal with a message we send them…?
- In the new message, click MESSAGE > Follow Up > Custom…
- Set any required options in the Flag for Recipients section – guess who gets the reminder now!
The Date Navigator (on the top-left of the Calendar) can be used to view the Calendar in any way, rather than being tied to the usual Day, Work Week, Week and Month views:
If you click-and-drag across dates in the Date Navigator you can view as many days as you wish. Hold Ctrl+click any selection of dates.
The Date Navigate also provides you with the ability to quickly jump to any month within the span of the Calendar – just click-and-hold on the month/year at the top of the Date Navigator to access a scrollable list of months.
Go to Date
You may prefer Outlook's 'Go to Date' feature, which will allow you to jump to any date in the span of the Calendar:
- When in the Calendar, press Ctrl+G to display the 'Go to Date' dialog box
- Enter the required date, and click OK
Depending on the current date and date entered, the Calendar will respond in different ways. For example, if the current date is 5 March 2017:
- Entering 6 March or 6 Mar or 6/3 will navigate to 6 March 2017 as the current date is in the same month
- Entering 6 Apr (or similar) would navigate to 6 April 2017 as it is a future date
- Entering 6 Feb (or similar) would navigate to 6 February 2018, as February has passed
The 'Go to Date' feature also allows you to navigate the Calendar using common keywords, such as before, after, week, etc. – try entering six months after the day before yesterday!
All of these commands can be used anywhere in Outlook where a date picker is presented, so not only can they be used to navigate the Calendar, but also when entering dates for reminders, appointments, message flags, etc.
Making the Calendar more usable
Two simple customisations can make Outlook's Calendar even better – click FILE > Options > Calendar:
- Default reminders: set a default reminder time that works better for you
Add holidays: add holiday dates for any country
Want to learn more about Microsoft Outlook? Our Outlook training courses can help you improve your skills.