Are Your Outlook Skills Seriously Outdated? You Will Love These 3 Easy Ideas
Microsoft Outlook is the most-used business communications tool in the country, but are you taking advantage of these fun and easy automation tricks?
Millions of business users around the world use Microsoft Outlook on a daily basis, but most people only use a small percentage of the powerful tools available in this super productivity software. Depending on the version of Outlook that you’re using, you can automate creating, sending and processing messages, swiftly respond with template-based information or route messages to a new location-based on cues that are already available in the email platform. Outlook allows you to create drafts that you can add information to at a later date or even schedule messages to be sent at a time in the future. If you’re not using some of these best-practices for Microsoft Outlook, you could be spending more time than you need to on daily tasks.
Creating Quick Parts for Your Messages
It’s not unusual for customer service representatives or internal staff to respond to dozens or even hundreds of emails a day from customers. Often, these emails contain a lot of the same themes but you still have to type out a response to each message. This can be a real productivity drain on your day and leave you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed instead of empowered to move forward. Fortunately, Outlook’s “Quick Parts” option allows you to create and save tidbits of information so you can reuse them in the future as message components.
Creating a “Quick Part” is easy:
- Pull up the content that you want to save in a message or reply
- Highlight the information that you want to reuse
- From the “Insert” menu on the main ribbon, select “Quick Parts”
- You can add or modify Quick Parts for your messages and store them in this area
Once you’re ready to add a Quick Part to an email, simply navigate to the “Quick Parts” menu and select the correct option and the well-formatted text will be inserted into the body of your open email at the cursor’s current location. While this option works great if you need to mix and match parts of your responses, what about if you need to simply customize the same response each time you send it?
Creating Templates in Microsoft Outlook
Another great time-saving tool in Microsoft Outlook is the ability to create templates that can be reused and customized based on your current needs. For instance, if you’re a recruiter and need to send multiple requests for references, you might want to save the request as a template and then simply update the names of the individuals in the body of the email. The steps to create a full template are very similar to those for creating Quick Parts.
- Create the message that you want to use as a template
- From the “Message” tab, select “View Templates” which brings up a sidebar with more information
- Save the template as a name that you can remember
- When you’re ready to use the template, simply navigate to “View Templates” and add the templated information that you would like to use
Templates and Quick Parts are both ways to quickly store and retrieve information in the future. Next, let’s talk about how to quickly route messages to another location
Creating Automatic Out-of-Office Replies
When you’re out of the office or incredibly busy with a project, you might want to set up an automatic response so that individuals sending you email will realize that it will be some time before you can review their request. Or perhaps you need to acknowledge each email that you receive with a specific message, something that’s very common in the legal or human resources sector. These are both great scenarios of using out-of-office replies. You’ll see how incredibly powerful (and easy!) it is to get started.
- Navigate to the “File” menu in Outlook, select “Out-of-Office Assistant”
- From here, you can change the date range during which you wish to send emails
- You can also modify the messages that are used both internally and external to your organization
That’s it! Now that you know the insider tricks for automating Microsoft Outlook, you’re one step closer to being an office productivity guru. Ready to upgrade your Microsoft Office onsite licenses to Office 365 or need support with your business technology? Contact the professionals at Data Magic Computer Services today at (469) 635-5500 or request a free initial consultation online anytime.