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7 Ways to Better Use Microsoft Outlook

The Most Popular Email Program

Do you know that there are over 1.2 billion Microsoft Office users worldwide? And there are over 180 million Office 365 users? Many of them use Microsoft Outlook as their email program.

Whether you are a business or home user, Outlook has many great features which help you organize your email, calendars and contacts. Many people do not realize that Outlook has some interesting tools, which they are not utilizing. If they did, they would be much more productive.

In this article, we want to point out Outlook features, which you may not use, but are really useful.

Create Reminders from Emails

Instead of separately creating an Outlook reminder, you can create one by dragging and dropping an email to the task list icon at the bottom left hand corner. This shortcut will reduce the time spent on reminders and tie certain emails to specific tasks. Then, you can view your tasks to review any outstanding items.

Use email to create a task.
Drag Outlook Email to Task Icon
Email Task Creation
Create Task and Reminder

Set up an Inbox “cc” Folder

Are you overwhelmed by the sheer number of Outlook Inbox emails? Do you receive a lot emails you are “cc’d” on and not the main recipient? We suggest you create a “cc” subfolder to your Inbox folder and a rule to direct ”cc” emails there. When creating a rule, you will select ” Where My Name Is Not In The To Bo.” Then, forward emails to the new folder.

Create Outlook Rule
Create Inbox-cc folder

This step would eliminate a lot of your Inbox clutter and help you focus on the most important emails. Still, you can check the “cc” folder to see if there are items you need to follow up on.

Use Outlook Email Templates and Quick Parts

Do you find that you are sending the same emails with the same text day after day? If you are a business, are you constantly sending emails with info about your return policy or with answers to the same questions?

Outlook Email Templates

With email templates, you can quickly send the same email many times. To set up an email template, follow these steps:

  1. On the Home tab, in the New group, click New E-mail.

Keyboard shortcut     To create an email message, press CTRL+SHIFT+M.

In the message body, enter the content that you want.

  1. In the message window, click the File tab.
  2. Click Save As.
  3. In the Save As dialog box, in the Save as type list, click Outlook Template.

When you are ready to use an email template, do the following:

Select New Items > More Items > Choose Form.

In the Choose Form dialog box, in Look In, click User Templates in File System.

Select the template, and then click Open.

Outlook Quick Parts

By using Quick Parts, you can greatly decrease your time spent composing emails. Essentially, you are creating shortcuts for text or items you frequently email.

To add a shortcut to Quick Parts, you need to start a new email and type the text you want to add to future emails. Then, highlight this text and click on the Insert tab at the top. Afterwards, click on Quick Parts and Save Selection to Quick Gallery. Finally, you can name this shortcut and save it.

Quick Parts Shortcut Setup
Quick Parts Shortcut Setup

When you work on Outlook emails in the future, you can click on the Insert tab and then go to Quick Parts. If you select the shortcut you created, it will add the corresponding text to the email. Also, you can type in the shortcut’s name and press F3.

Schedule Outlook Emails

By scheduling when you send Outlook emails, you can be much more productive. On the weekend, you may not want to bother clients or suppliers with emails. When you are watching a football game or the latest show on Netflix, you can still work on emails and then schedule them to be sent out at an opportune time the next week.

When writing a new email, select the More Options arrow from the Tags group in the ribbon. Under Delivery Options, make sure to check the box next to Do not deliver before and specify a date. Finally, click send and you’re set.

Schedule Outlook Emails

Specify Outlook Notifications

If you get a notification for every new Inbox email, this can be very distracting. Instead, create a rule to only display notifications from specific senders. If you only want to get alerts for emails sent from your boss, you could right click on one of your boss’s emails and select Rules. Then, you could click on Create Rule. Under Advanced Options, you check off the box next to display a Desktop Alert and Save.

Create Outlook Notification Rule
Create Outlook Notification Rule
Create Outlook Notification Rule

Create Outlook Search Folders

Do you find you spend a lot of time searching for specific Outlook emails? Do you usually do the same email searches? To save time, you can create specific search folders. For instance, if you always look for emails with attachments, then you could make a folder for this purpose.

To create a search folder, click on the Folder tab and New Search Folder. From here, you can select from prearranged criteria like mail with attachments or make a custom folder based on other criteria. Then, the new folder(s)s will pop up under Search Folders on the left side.

Create Outlook Search Folder
Outlook Search Criteria

Use Outlook Conversation Cleanup Tool

A conversation refers to an email chain. When you email someone and they reply, a conversation is created. Imagine a large group working on a project sends many emails back and forth. All you would really need is the last email which contains the entire email chain.

The Outlook Conversation tool analyzes conversations and removes all of the redundant emails. Therefore, you have fewer emails to look at and Outlook data file is smaller. This would help you to work faster and more productively.

Outlook Cleanup Tool
Outlook Cleanup Tool


Hopefully, this article presented you with some valuable new information about Outlook. If Nucleus Computer can assist you in any way setting up or troubleshooting Outlook or Office 365, please feel to visit our Contact us page.

References: “Office 365 Reaches 180 Million Monthly Active Users” Link to Site “12+ Tips and Tricks to Work Faster in Microsoft Outlook” Link to Site “10 Quick Tips to Get Better at Outlook” Link to Site “10 time-saving tips to speed your work in Outlook”  Link to Site “7 Microsoft Outlook Tips and Tricks for Better Email Management” Link to Site “Top 10 Microsoft Outlook Tips to Maximize Efficiency” Link to Site

How Can I Use Technology To Collaborate Better with Others?

Do you find it takes too long to get things done when multiple people are involved? Is there too much back and forth with emails? Do you email documents to co-workers for them to edit and then have difficulty managing file versions? Are you sometimes unable to access current files from wherever you are?

Collaboration 5 - poor communication

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may not be maximizing technology to help you effectively collaborate. Did you know for example, there’s a much easier way to collaborate on file creation and management that includes being able to edit documents together with other people at the same time, from any of your devices, from anywhere? Storing files online (in the cloud) makes it easy to access, organize and share files from anywhere and files are always up to date, so everyone has access to the latest version.

Collaboration 4 - cloud connecting different types of devices

Online file storage/sharing solutions are subscription based, so there’s no upfront cost for software and you always know the software you are using is up to date.

There are a lot of potential ways to use the cloud for file sharing and collaboration and numerous products to choose from. We’ve identified Microsoft Office 365 as the most reliable, easy to use, cost effective and secure cloud solution for collaboration and file sharing for small business.


With Microsoft Office 365 and its OneDrive for Business, you can share files, or groups of files, within or outside your business and you can control who the file is shared with and whether or not they can edit it. You can simultaneously create, review and edit files with others, and respond to comments and track status updates. If you need to work offline, no problem – Office 365 synchronizes files to your devices and with many Office 365 plans, the latest Office applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook can be installed directly on your devices. And it doesn’t matter what type of device you like to use.


Not only does Office 365 facilitate efficient file sharing, it allows you to collaborate in other ways with contact and calendar sharing, email, instant messaging, social networking and video conferencing.

Video Conferencing

Office 365 syncs emails, calendars, and contact information across your devices in real time, so that information is always up to date regardless of whether you’re using your desktop, tablet or phone. Avoid duplicate contact entry and maintenance by sharing a unified database of contacts with others. View others calendars to check availability and efficiently schedule meetings.

Calendar Sharing

Do all this with industry leading security, including anti-malware protection and anti-spam filtering to guard your email from the increasing number of mail threats.

So, if you want to efficiently collaborate with co-workers and others, consider Microsoft Office 365. Although Office 365 is intuitive and easy to use, implementation and email migration must be planned and well executed to minimize any downtime during the transition. As such, especially for businesses, it’s best to seek the guidance of a professional.

Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?


A lot of you have probably seen a pop up on the bottom right hand side of the computer screen saying “Get Windows 10.” You are probably wondering what this is about and what it means. In this blog, we provide useful information you will need to know about upgrading to Windows 10. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Microsoft’s new Operating System.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who can get the free Windows 10 upgrade and by when do I have to upgrade?
If you have a Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8 computer, you should be able to do the free upgrade to Windows 10. There are certain hardware requirements for doing it, but most Windows 7 and 8 computers should meet the minimum standards.

The free upgrade to Windows 10 is going to be available after July 29, 2015 for one year until July 29, 2016. Before this date, you can reserve a copy by clicking on the Windows 10 message at the bottom right hand side of your computer. Or you can wait until after July 29th to receive a notification and start to download it. There is no need to reserve a copy beforehand.

Who will have to pay to get Windows 10?
A person who owns a Windows XP or Vista computer will have to pay for a Windows 10 license. If they are using those Operating Systems, it is likely their computers have outdated hardware and it would be best for them to purchase a new computer which comes loaded with Windows 10.

After July 29th, new computers with Windows 10 are going to be available at retail stores and online. This new Operating System will be included in the purchase price.

Enterprises with an active Software Assurance subscription in volume licensing will be able to get a Windows 10 Enterprise upgrade. They will be paying a monthly subscription.

How do I know if I will be able to upgrade my computer?
Windows 10 has certain minimum hardware and software requirements. In order to check your computer’s compatibility quickly, you can right click on the Windows 10 icon at the bottom right hand side of the screen and select “Check you upgrade status.” Then, you can click on the hamburger (four lines) in the upper left hand corner. Finally, you can select “Check my PC.” This will show whether or not you can upgrade your PC.



Please note that some third party software and applications you are using in Windows 7 or 8 may not work in Windows 10. When you go to install Windows 10, you will be notified of what applications will not work and then can decide whether or not to proceed.

Why would Microsoft want to give away a free upgrade?
If you think Microsoft is giving away this free upgrade out of goodness of heart, think twice. Microsoft is still going to generate revenues from new computer sales as manufacturers like Dell will pay them a licensing fee. Microsoft will also still be paid by volume license users and enterprises.

One advantage of giving away this free upgrade is that it will eventually mean that everyone will be on the same platform. This means that Microsoft will have to support fewer Operating Systems and this will lower the company’s costs. The tech giant is also looking to increase its revenues by selling more movies, music, apps and video games through Windows 10. Windows 10 has more integration with their Xbox game console and you can play Xbox games on your computer. This makes it easier to purchase video games and use them across devices.

Part of the reason is control. Like Windows 8, Windows 10 suggests that you set up or sign into a Microsoft account when first starting up a computer. This will help Microsoft collect more information about users and have a central point to manage all users’ accounts.

Microsoft is also hoping that more users become familiar with and come to like Windows 10 as they use it. This may lead to more people buying new Windows 10 smart phones and tablets. Again, it is all about sales and adapting to the consumer landscape.

Sorry to disappoint you, but Microsoft is not so beneficent as you think.

Windows 10 Video Introduction
Please check out some the new features of Windows 10 in this introductory video.

What are some good new features of Windows 10?
Start Button – If you have Windows 8, you will be glad to know that Windows 10 will include a start button like Windows 7. This will make it easier to shutdown an restart your computer and to explore it. The start screen is new and improved and will combine the traditional items on the left and then access to apps on the right, which is very convenient.


Better Performance – Windows 10 will also have improved performance. You should be able to boot up faster and switch between applications quicker. It has a new technology which should help with video game performance, but the difference should not be too noticeable.

Better Display Capability – Windows 10 will allow you more flexibility when displaying open windows on different monitors than Windows 7 or 8. Also, you will be able to see up to four open Windows at a time within one monitor compared to two Windows for these earlier Operating Systems.


User Friendly Home Folder – Now when you launch Windows Explorer, you will be greeted by a row of familiar folders you tend to use often, plus a lineup of recently created and opened files, making it easier to find the things you need and to do it quickly. If you just saved a file and cannot find it, you can open Windows Explorer and see where it was located.

Greater Search Capability – Windows 10 offers a much greater search capability and a virtual assistant called Cortana. With a microphone, you will be able to ask Cortana things like “please check for new email messages” or “schedule this appointment on my calendar.” You will be able to do a search on both your computer and the Internet at the same time.


New Edge Browser – Microsoft has dropped Internet Explorer and come out with a new browser. This browser will be linked to the Cortana virtual assistant and will display more pertinent information like weather for the user at the top.


What is some negative feedback about Windows 10?

User Friendliness – Similar to Windows 8, Windows 10 still is not the most user friendly. Because it is new, it will take you some time to get used to navigating around. Sometimes, it can be confusing to use. You can get confused in different views. The transition from working in applications to using the regular desktop is not fluid.

Windows 10 allows you to work in a regular desktop mode or a tablet mode on a computer. Tablet mode is meant more for touch screen use and working as you would on a tablet or smart phone. These modes add additional complexity which normal users do not want to be bothered by.

Windows Media Player is Gone – In Windows 10, Media Player will no longer be available to play videos or movies. Microsoft does provide a basic application to play movies. Or you will have to install a third party movie player. This means that you will have to do extra work downloading and installing a new video playing application. Then, you will have to get used to using it.

Software Incompatibility – If you upgrade to Windows 10, you may find that some of your software does not work. While you can be sure that most programs will run on Windows 7 and 8, this is not the case with Windows 10. Fortunately, you will be notified by the Windows 10 installer which software may not work before doing the upgrade.

Our Verdict

Should I upgrade to Windows 10? The answer to that question depends on each individual case. In general, our answer would be “no”, at least for the short term. Every new Operating System is going to have bugs and glitches when it first comes out. These may not be ironed out for months.

We recommend waiting at least 3-6 months after the Windows 10 introduction date, before doing the upgrade. This will give some time for the bugs to be worked out. It will also allow software developers time to create new versions of applications which are compatible with Windows 10.

Overall, we like many of Windows 10’s new features. In time, we think it will be looked at as a good Operating System and receive positive reviews. For now, there is no reason to rush to upgrade.

Useful References:

Microsoft Windows 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions

Learn What is New About Windows 10

PC World’s Windows 10 Review

Trusted Reviews Look at Windows 10

CNET’s Windows 10 Review