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Outlook tricks you should know

Outlook streamlines email, calendar, contacts, tasks, and more. All in one place. No wonder its seen steady growth on mobile since 2017! With all those users, there are many Outlook tips and tricks available to drive productivity.

Here are some ways to make the most of Outlook.

As one of the millions of Outlook users, you may think you already know how to use it as efficiently as possible. Just in case, here are seven tips and tricks you might not know about yet. 

Have Outlook talk to you

Well, it’s not really Outlook talking, but, Microsoft’s Cortana productivity assistant. Cortana is integrated into Outlook mobile with Play Your Emails. Once you’ve set this up in Outlook, you can listen to new emails on the go. And you can manage them too. Using just your voice, hands-free, you can unread, flag, delete, and reply to messages. 

Better yet, Cortana doesn’t only read emails. He or she (your choice) can help you stay organized. The AI will let you know about changes to events and even identify schedule conflicts on your calendar. See how it works!

Use a Focused Inbox

Especially on your phone, a cluttered inbox can be overwhelming to scroll through. Make it easier to quickly scan your email for what you need with a Focused Inbox. You can create the equivalent of two inboxes— Focused and Other. Then, toggle between the two with a simple slide of the button on top of your inbox.  

Outlook sorts your email for you, moving important messages to “Focused” and things like junk mail to “Other.” You can quickly reclassify messages by moving them from one section of the inbox to the other. You can even select “Always Move to Focused” or vice versa if you want communications from that sender to appear in a particular place. 

Plus, the more you use the Focused Inbox feature, the smarter it gets. It pays attention to how you sort your mail to better classify incoming messages and help you focus on what matters.

Share your calendars

We all know we’re wasting too much time in meetings. While you keep working on that within your organization, Outlook lets you take away the inefficiency of trying to schedule yet another meeting. 

With shared calendars in Outlook, go into your calendar settings and select people you would like to share, such as colleagues or friends. You can color-code different teams and manage permissions to let the people you’re sharing with view only, edit, or manage your calendar (with delegate). Moreover, you can also choose what details you share deciding between All, Only Titles and Locations, or Only When I’m Busy.

Take advantage of Scheduling Assistant

When you’re sharing your calendars, you can use Scheduling Assistant in mobile instead of emailing back and forth to come up with a time to get together. Create an event on your calendar and add the people you want to invite. Then you can use the Scheduling Assistant time picker to drag and drop to a time on the calendar that turns green. That means everyone’s available. Book it!

Mention someone to get their attention

When we’re working in the office alongside someone, we can say “Hey, Jane!” Mentioning her name gets Jane to look up from what she’s doing. You can do the same from your phone with Outlook’s @ mentions. When you @Jane in an email message, the recipient will see they’ve been called into the conversation.

Customize your swipe options

In a dating app, you swipe left or right to vote on a potential match. Well, you can be as decisive in your Outlook inbox too. Open Outlook mobile Settings and select Swipe Options. You can assign Swipe Right or Swipe Left to a number of preferred actions: 

  • Delete  
  • Mark as Read 
  • Mark as Unread 
  • Flag 
  • Archive

Use “do not disturb”

Endlessly checking email can make us feel a little like lab rats. We’re pushing that little button for the reward of a new message. But it’s distracting. Make sure you’re focusing on what’s important at that moment using the do not disturb feature in Outlook. By turning off notifications from apps, so you can turn your attention to that meeting or report you need to finish.  

You can schedule a set do not disturb every afternoon before you leave for the day. This way, a quiet period can help you get organized and ready for tomorrow. Or, you can start a timed do not disturb session that begins right away on an as-needed basis.