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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

Should I Use Microsoft Office 365?

Microsoft Office 365: What Exactly Is It?

When some clients would ask us what is Office 365, we would watch as their eyes glazed over during our detailed description.  We learned quickly to keep our explanation as short and clear as possible.  We will do that here.

Office 365 is a bundle of software and cloud services, which typically include email and contact, calendar and document management.  The included services depend on the plan selected.

To see an introduction of Office 365 for Business, check out the following video:


The name Office 365 refers to you having the ability to access your office from anywhere at any time (365 days a year).  For instance, if you want to continue working at home on a Word document you started at your office, you can do this on by logging into your Office 365 account at home.  You can even edit this file on your smart phone or tablet.


Office 365 Anywhere Anytime


Office 365’s Popularity Has Grown

Microsoft Office 365 GrowthSince its introduction being over six years ago, Office 365 has become very popular.  According to one source, Office 365 had 120 million users as of September 2017.¹

Despite this popularity, many businesses and personal users have still not adopted it.  Why?  Often, we run into companies who purchase a website domain and email/website hosting as a package.   Email is thrown in as extra service.  When their sales reps complain about not being able to share a calendar, the businesses later find out their email services do not meet their needs.  Office 365 can solve these issues, plus it offers many other capabilities.


Office 365 Review:  Pros and Cons

In this post, we outline some of the benefits you could experience from moving to Office 365.  Also, we mention its drawbacks.  Whether or not it is an appropriate option for you or your business, it depends on your specific situation.



Increased Productivity

Believe it or not, we still run into businesses which post daily meetings and events on an office bulletin board.  What about their field employees who do not pass by the office?  How do employees find out about changes to the schedule?

Office 365 includes a whole host of tools, which make a business and personal user more productive.  Because it allows for shared calendars, contacts and files, which can be viewed and updated in real time on any device, no employee is left out in the cold about what is going on in his or her business.  Also, they don’t have to waste time trying to contact other employees to update them.


Increased Productivity

Increased Collaboration

Want to be able to work better as a team on a project?  Want to be able to edit a document at the same time from various locations and track the changes?

We run into some businesses where employees work on docs one at a time and then email the changes to others.  This method couldn’t be more time consuming and inefficient.

Through an application called OneDrive or logging into their Office 365 portal, employees can create, edit, share and collaborate on project documents.  Office 365 also comes with Skype and Lync, which allow employees to schedule and conduct online group meetings and chat sessions.  They can share screens with others to look at project documents or to present to one another.

Increased Flexibility and Scalability

In the past, for email many businesses have had to purchase and install an in-house server, along with Microsoft Exchange licenses.  This represents a huge upfront expense, not to mention the large ongoing cost of maintaining the server, software and licenses.  Before they knew it, their hardware was outdated and they had to buy a new server.  Or the company had doubled its employee count and its technology infrastructure could not keep up.

Office 365 allows for great flexibility with organizational changes. This point is crucial for small businesses.  If a business doubles (or halves its employee count), it can easily add (or remove) Office 365 user licenses in a matter of seconds.  Office 365 can scale up with a business’s growth.

Increased Flexibility

Because the monthly subscription cost of Office 365 is consistent, businesses can easily predict how much their monthly expense will be.  Unpredictable, expensive server repairs and upgrades are a thing of the past.

Improved Security and Disaster Recovery

Have you ever thought about how secure your or your company’s email service is?  Most businesses don’t think about this.

Microsoft uses the latest technological advancements to protect its Office 365 clients.  This is the same technology Microsoft uses to protect itself and its enterprise level clients.  Other smaller email providers simply do not have the resources to protect you and your information.

Office 365 protects you by scanning incoming emails for malware and virus threats, before anything loads onto your computer.  If anything is detected, the system will block it or send you a warning message.

God forbid a natural disaster were to happen somewhere in the US or abroad, Microsoft has data centers in many locations.  This redundancy protects your email and important documents from disastrous events, like last year’s Houston flooding.


Natural Disaster

Increased Reliability

Unlike other email and cloud services providers, Microsoft financially guarantees a 99.9% uptime.  If this service level is not meet, then they will reimburse clients.  Records show that Microsoft has always met this service level.  You can be sure that your Office 365 email, document and cloud services will always be working.  This reliability is vital to businesses at any time, but especially crucial when an important deadline needs to be met.  Imagine not being able to email an important contract to a client.  How would you feel?



Poor Technical Support

While Office 365 has some great features, some of its aspects can be improved.  For instance, customer service has always been an issue with Microsoft and any large tech company.  When you have a problem with Office 365, don’t expect to contact Microsoft and resolve it right away.  You may have to go through a number of voice prompts and wait in the queue a half an hour until you finally speak with someone at Office 365 tech support.  In recent years, Microsoft has greatly improved their support by offering more options like chat and scheduled call backs.


Poor customer service

File Sharing Issues

Another aspect that could be improved about Office 365 is its file sharing applications and services.  Similar to Dropbox, Office 365 uses an application called OneDrive to sync documents on your computer or mobile device.  If you make changes to a file in a OneDrive folder on your office PC, then you should see those same changes in the same OneDrive file when you are at home.

Sometimes, we run into issues with files not syncing from from PC to another or one user to another and have to spend time trying to determine why.  If you don’t name a file properly or its name is too long, it may not sync.  Microsoft details specific file/folder naming conventions you need to follow (see invalid file names and types).  These limitations of the file sharing service can be annoying.

Also,  Microsoft offers several different file sharing applications with very similar names, which can be very confusing.  Both OneDrive and OneDrive for Business are both applications for file sharing and syncing.  OneDrive is supposed to hold your personal files, while OneDrive for Business holds your business information.  You can run both of these applications on your computer at the same time.  Because their names and icons are very similar, it can become difficult to sometimes know which one you are working in.

Disruptive Updates

Finally, Microsoft is notorious for introducing updates which throw off a perfectly working system.  We have seen some instances where updates to the Office software (from 2013 to 2016) or Operating system (Windows 7 to 10) have disrupted Office 365 file sharing or other services.



While it has some drawbacks, Office 365 can be a great tool for individuals and businesses.  It can increase their productivity and ability to collaborate with others.  In addition, Office 365 provides great administrative and financial flexibility to businesses by allowing them to scale up or down according to their organizational needs and changes.  Finally, Office 365 email, file sharing and cloud services come with greater security and reliability than many competitor products.

To get some additional information about Microsoft Office 365, please check out the references below.



  1. “Microsoft Office 365 now has 120 million business users.”                Link to Article
  2.  Different O365 Plan Options
  3. O365 Support Page














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.