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How Outlook Can Save Your Social Life

How Outlook Can Save Your Social Life

Learn how Outlook can get you out of the office earlier, let you spend more time chatting to your mates and stop you forgetting your spouse's birthday...

Outlook's a fairly standard piece of software, you might think. It transports your emails from the cyber-internetty thingy and puts then into the big telly on your desk.
If you think that's the full extent of what you could be doing with Outlook 2007, you'll probably be quite surprised that it could well actually SAVE YOUR SOCIAL LIFE.
Alright, that's a bit over-dramatic. But there's definitely some cool stuff to look into that's going to get you out of the office earlier, spend more time chatting to your mates and stop you forgetting your spouse's birthday.

Step 1: New Look to New Outlook

Outlook 2007 is laid out differently. Surprisingly, Microsoft didn't just put everything in different places specifically to annoy you; it's actually streamlined to make tasks quicker and easier! And you know what that means! That's right: more time for Facebook.
Down the right hand side you're got a To-Do bar. Clicking on that gives you instant access to your calendar, and to Tasks. You can see all the stuff you've got to remember to do on any specific day, sort them by importance, add in appointments and all the sort of useful calendar stuff you really should be using so you're not resorting to scribbling things down on little tiny bits of paper like a caveman.
This sort of grown-up organising is vital to ensure you'll never forget about important meetings, hot dates or drinks with chums ever again.

Step 2: Your Inbox

Whooosh! Something's just flapped into your inbox, look. Probably an email, most likely. How to organise work emails so they're easily findable and retrievable and all that sort of thing?
Click the Tools menu and then Organize to get started with organising your inbox. ‘Using Folders' is relatively simple; you can just shift messages to appropriately-named folders so they're not clogging up your inbox. That email about New Office Policy on Facebook Use is fairly important, so slap it in an “Important” folder so you can refer back to it easily.
Under that's “Using Colours”. This is particularly nifty – you can set it up so emails from certain people are tagged with a certain colour. We recommend RED for your boss who is EVIL; PINK for the secretary who is LOVELY; and BROWN for messages from the office stinky man. Now every message is auto-tagged with a specific colour when it pops into your inbox – instant organisation.
Next there's “Using Views”. Depending on how you use Outlook, you should select an appropriate view, whether that's with Auto-Preview so you can see what's there, a trendy timeline to help you pin down lost messages or, if you're the sort of person that hordes emails, a handy seven-day at-a-glance view.

Step 3: Webmail

Most people have a Hotmail account, or some equivalent. The trouble is, they can sometimes be frustratingly slow to load or even blocked from workplaces. Why not check your personal email account through Outlook, and have access to emails from all your friends in a speedy, spruced-up, advert-free environment?
In order to get Hotmail running with Outlook, you need to download a special bit of kit called “Microsoft Office Outlook Connector” from www.microsoft.com/uk/outlookconnector. Install it, and you'll get an extra BONUS bar in Outlook called “Outlook Connector”.
Then, in Outlook go to Tools and Account Settings and click New. You want an HTTP account, then click Next. Fill in your name and Hotmail account details, and click Next.
Easy. You'll now have a little extra folder in which to transfer all your Hotmail emails.
Now, it'll look like work when you get an email Facebook alert, and so you won't be perpetually checking your Facebook account needlessly, and risk having your boss walk past while you're socialising via the phenomenon of Scrabulous.