Microsoft Outlook

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About Microsoft Outlook

NOTE: This page is a daughter page of: Microsoft

Microsoft Outlook is mostly useless until you add a link to an e-mail account you already use. The advantage however is that it has a nice interface and runs much faster than using a web browser because it downloads copies of e-mails locally (to temporary folders).

It possible to add POP3, HTTP and IMAP accounts. Gmail can also be added. Unfortunately many free online internet accounts (such as Hotmail and Yahoo) earn their money from advertisements shown in their web-mail interface, so you probably can't add those accounts, although you may be able to get POP3 support if you pay for it (as is the case with yahoo). POP3 is simple in that all e-mails are stored the inbox, but IMAP is more powerful, because you can have a proper folder structure, and this is imported and used in Outlook.

Setting up an IMAP E-mail Account

I use an IMAP account at my work. To add it:

  • Go: Tools >> E-mail Accounts.
  • Select "add a new e-mail account" then "next"
  • Select "IMAP" then next
  • Fill in the details ... in my case I enter:
    • Your Name: Andrew Noske
    • E-mail address:
    • Incoming mail server:
    • Outgoing mail server:
    • User name: secret.noske
    • Password: ****** (yes, remember password).

Now you should be able to see in the "all mail folders" your IMAP directory + all of your sub-folders.

Add a folder to the Favorites Folder

Select the Inbox of your IMAP account folder, right click it and "Add to Favourite Folders".

Adding alerts when e-mail is received to IMAP folder

Unfortunately you cannot make an IMAP folder/account your default account, which means you won't get automatic notices when you get mail, but what you can do is add rules.

  1. Select your IMAP Inbox folder.
  2. Go: Tools >> Rules and Alerts.
  3. Click "New Rule" > "Start from a blank rule" > "Check messages when they arrive" > Next
  4. Add your rule... in my case I like to get an alert when I get e-mails from particular people (most other e-mails are spam). For this I will go:

# Select "from people or distribution list". Then click the underlined text "people of distribution list" and I add my most important contacts (double click them) > then "next". (NOTE: this assumes you have already setup your address book)

  1. Select "display a Desktop Alert" (down the bottom) > then "next"
  2. Specify any exceptions (I don't though) > then "next"
  3. Give the rule a name like "Mail alert" (NOTE: you can edit or remove this rule at any time) > click "Finish" > click "OK".

Add a signature

I think you should ALWAYS use signatures in e-mails. When you get a mail at works it's nice to see a person's full name, office and phone number (& website if they have one) down the bottom in case you want to contact them or your memory is foggy.

  1. Go: Tools >> Options
  2. Click on "Mail format tab"
  3. Click "Signatures" > New.
  4. Enter a name like "Work Signature" or "Personal Signature" > click "Next"
  5. Make your signature (putting your full name, mobile phone and occupation is a good start) > "Finish"
  6. Create more signatures as needed & click "OK"
  7. For each account in "select signatures for account", select the appropriate signature for new messages & replies.
  8. Now you are done. :)

Hide outlook when minimized

I like to always have Outlook always open at work, but don't want it taking up space in the task bar. The solution is to get it to minimize to the system tray:

  • Right click the outlook icon in the system tray and tick "Hide when minimized". (works for Outlook 2003 and above)

Open Outlook Automatically on Startup

I'll usually forget to open Outlook, so my solution is to have it open automatically on startup. To do this:

  • Find a shortcut for outlook.
  • Click "Start >> All Programs >> Microsoft Office >> Microsoft Outlook ..." and DRAG this icon to "Start >> All Programs >> Startup" hold down the Alt key as you do this and it will copy the link.
  • "Startup" is a special folder - any links/files/programs in this folder are automatically opened when you login to Windows.

Other features

  • Under Tools >> Options, you may also want to set up Junk E-mail filtering.
  • Under "File >> Import or Export" there are many options, including the option to import contacts from a .csv file.
    • Rather than type all your contacts in... if you use a yahoo or hotmail e-mail account, you will probably find you can import and export your contacts as a ".csv" file which you can import/export in outlook.
  • The calendar can be really useful.
    • Every time you enter a birthday or anniversary into your contacts (under the "details" tab) it will automatically add to the calendar (with a reminder 15 mins prior to the day).
    • NOTE: If you import this will not happen, so you'll have to double click contact, go to the "details" tab, add a space after the birthday (so that it is "changed"), click "Save and Close" and it will add it.
  • MOST modern mobile phones come with software and you can synchronise your Contacts, Calendar and even Notes - and I HIGHLY suggest you take advantage of this!! I have a Nokia 6280 and it's certainly made my life a lot easier using Outlook to synchronise information. I rarely forget birthdays anymore because my phone reminds me. :)

Microsoft Outlook Macros

To do automated tasks in Microsoft Outlook you can write "Macros" using Visual Basic script. Here's a couple of Macro's I have found useful:

Importing Contact Pictures (Using a Macro)

Within outlook I use the "Import" feature to import contact lists as a ".cvs" file which I export from my Yahoo mail address book (see here:). However, since neither Yahoo mail nor the .cvs format support images what I like to do is save little square .jpg images for all my contacts (most of them collected using Facebook) in a backed-up folder in the format "First Last.jpg". To import them I then use the following Macro:

' This MS OUTLOOK MACRO allows you to load contact pictures from your computer into
' your contacts lists. Make sure your images are in the correct directory and labelled
' "First Last.jpg". (
Sub LoadContactPicturesFromJpgImages()
  Dim itemContact As ContactItem
  Dim fdrContacts As MAPIFolder
  Dim fname, missPhotosStr As String
  Dim numNoPhotos As Integer
  Set myNamespace = Outlook.GetNamespace("MAPI")
  Set fdrContacts = myNamespace.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderContacts) ''
  Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
  dirPath = InputBox(prompt, "Directory of contacts photos ('First Last.jpg'):", "C:\TEMP\")
  numNoPhotos = 0
  For i = 1 To fdrContacts.Items.Count
    Set itemContact = fdrContacts.Items(i)
    fname = dirPath + itemContact.FirstName & " " & itemContact.LastName & ".jpg"   ' Actually 'itemContact.FullName' can work better.
    If fso.FileExists(fname) Then
      itemContact.AddPicture (fname)
      itemContact.AddBusinessCardLogoPicture (fname)
      numNoPhotos = numNoPhotos + 1
      missPhotosStr = missPhotosStr & vbCr & " >  " & itemContact.FirstName & " " & itemContact.LastName
    End If
  MsgBox ("Number of contacts processed: " & (i - 1) & vbCr _
        & "Number of contacts without photo: " & numNoPhotos & vbCr & missPhotosStr)
End Sub

Deleting Duplicate Events

A nasty bug I've discovered with syncing my iPhone (via iTunes) with Outlook on my PC is that it often creates duplicate events. Each time I sync these reappear (even if I delete them) and can become more and more numerous! I'm not alone in this problem apparently, but luckily someone by the alias "Al Gore" posted a Macro to delete duplicated entries. In the code below I've taken away some of the options to make the code a bit simpler to understand, but you can see his original Macro in this forum thread here.

' This MS OUTLOOK MACRO will delete duplicate events
' The code is a simplified version of a brilliant post by "Al Gore" (his alias) which you can find at:
Sub RemoveDuplicateEvents()
  Dim app As Outlook.Application
  Dim event1 As Outlook.AppointmentItem
  Dim event2 As Outlook.AppointmentItem
  Dim items As Outlook.items
  Dim deletedItems As Outlook.items
  Dim nameSpace As Outlook.nameSpace
  Set app = New Outlook.Application
  Set nameSpace = app.GetNamespace("MAPI")
  Set items = nameSpace.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderCalendar).items
  Set deletedItems = nameSpace.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderDeletedItems).items
  items.Sort ("Subject")
  items.Sort ("Start")
  Dim numDeleted As Integer
  Dim z As Integer
  numDeleted = 0
  For z = items.Count To 2 Step -1
    If Not (Len(items.Item(z).Subject) > 1 And InStr(1, items.Item(z), " ") > 0) And _
        Not (Len(items.Item(z - 1).Subject) > 1 And InStr(1, items.Item(z - 1), " ") > 0) Then
      Set event1 = items.Item(z)
      Set event2 = items.Item(z - 1)
      Debug.Print event1.Subject & vbCrLf & event2.Subject
      With event1
        If .Subject = event2.Subject And .start = event2.start Then   ' NOTE: May want to remove second part.
        Debug.Print "Calendar item " & Left(event2.Subject, 25) & "..." & " deleted"
          numDeleted = numDeleted + 1
        End If
      End With
    End If
  If MsgBox(numDeleted & " duplicate Outlook calendar items have been removed." & _
      vbCrLf & "Do you want to clear your deleted items folder?" & vbCrLf & _
      "(This must be done to prevent re-syncing 'deleted' entries)", vbYesNo, "Confirm Deleted Items Removal") = vbYes Then
    ' Clear deleted items folder.
    For z = deletedItems.Count To 1 Step -1
  End If
  MsgBox "Cleanup Complete!", vbOKOnly, "End of Processing"
End Sub

See Also