What is “Outlook”

“Outlook” is an e-mail application and email is why “Outlook” is used most. However, “Outlook” has a lot more to offer. “Outlook” also allows you to manage your calendar(s), contacts and task lists. By using all of the application options in “Outlook” you can keep track of all your emails, appointments, meetings, contacts, tasks, birthdays, etc. in a relatively simple and convenient manner. All these different available “Oulook” features will be discussed in this course.


The user interface:

Before we proceed with the course I am going to discuss the work environment.  This makes it easier to follow when I refer to some particular parts, later in the course.

We have the “Menu bar” at the top of the window.
By clicking on buttons in the “Menu bar”, we can change the options in the “Ribbon”. We will discuss the “Ribbon” in more detail in the next section of this lesson.

We find the “Navigation pane” to the left of the application window.

By selecting different applications displayed in the “Navigation pane”, you can change the options in the “Ribbon”.
On the right side of “Outlook 2010”, we have the “Task Bar” and under this we find the “Status bar”. In the “Task bar”, we find a “Calendar” which shows us the various appointments and tasks for the day or time period selected in the “Calendar”.
To minimize the “Navigation pane”, you can click on the left arrow which is at the top of the pane(1).
To resize a window, place the cursor between the two windows (2), and click and drag till you get the desired size.


The “Ribbon”

The “Ribbon” is not new in “Outlook” 2010. What is new, is that the “Ribbon” is still present.  In the previous versions you may have had to start your work, such as, composing a new e-mail before viewing the “Ribbon”, but in version 2010 it is present right from the beginning..

What is also new is that we can customize buttons in the “Ribbon”.
When we click on the “File” tab present in the “Ribbon”, we have a list of tabs which open and we click on the “Options” tab.


The “Outlook” options task pane opens.
Select “Customize Ribbon”, and you can add or remove buttons from the “Ribbon”.
The standard buttons that are present in the “Ribbon” cannot be deleted, but you can hide them.
To do this, you have to un-check the checkbox which is next to each button in the list.

To add a command to the “Ribbon”, you must first create a new group. So click the “New Group” button, and you can enter a name for it by clicking the “Rename” button. Next, select a command from the list displayed in the left part of the window, and select the new group in the right part of the window. Then click the “Add” button.

The same procedure is to be followed if you want to delete an added command. Select the command from the list displayed on the right, and click the “Remove” button.

If you make a mess of it and want to go back to the default settings of the “Ribbon”, click the “Reset” button, and select the “Reset All customizations” button in the drop-down menu that opens.


The “Quick Access Toolbar”

In the same way, we can also customize the “Quick Access” toolbar.
To do this, we click on the “File” tab, select “Options” and then select the “Quick access Toolbar” option.
We then select the command from the list displayed to the left of the window, and click the “Add” button.
I regularly use the “Print” command, so I have added this command to the toolbar. But you can choose and do whatever you want, of course.


Customizing the work environment

We already know that the size of each window in “Outlook”, can be changed. To do this, you place the mouse pointer between two windows, and when it changes into a double-headed arrow, click and drag it until you’ve reached the desired size.

There is more customizing that can be done. For instance, we can minimize and even eliminate the “Navigation pane” in the mail application. We can also place the “Reading pane” at the bottom of the e-mail window, instead of positioning it to the right.

We can also customize the “Task bar” according to our needs. For example, if you don’t have any appointments for the day, then it is not necessary to display the “Calendar”.

There are plenty of options to customize the work environment of “Outlook” according to your needs.

You should, indeed, try them out.

You've completed Lesson 1