Use What You’ve Got – It’s Likely All You’ll Ever Need!

computer mail box

It can do so much more!

This week I looked at Microsoft Outlook in the series, “Use What You’ve Got – It’s Likely All You Will Need”.

If you’ve been reading along, I hope you are convinced that, often, we have the tools we need already but we just don’t realize the options available in the programs.  Why?  Because we’ve been using them for so long for one purpose that, when we need to do something new, we naturally will look elsewhere.

For personal and small business use, Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office Professional is all anyone really needs for basic operations.

From this series:

  • you know you can list a bunch of “to dos” on the Task list and that you can incorporate those tasks into your calendar by dragging and dropping the tasks into your calendar.  Create a task, put a date on it and drop it into your calendar – that simple!
  • recurring event reminders can be put into your calendar so you never forget a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion again or even regular meetings you attend in business or as a volunteer
  • you can drag and drop your incoming emails into your calendar to retain the information in the email and set up the appointment in your calendar
  • the contacts section of Outlook can easily serve as a contact management system where you can record all kinds of interesting information about people, connect files to those contacts or other contacts and put contacts into categories for easy access as a group; and, of course, you can group people from the contact list too for fast email
  • print out the calendar in the various formats if you wish or sync it with your PDA or cell phone for easy access to all the information

The two I touched on but didn’t expand upon are the journal and notes.  Instead of using the comment box in your contacts, you can connect a journal to that contact and list any information you wish to record for that particular contact – very handy for projects where you can record email meesages, meeting cancellations, meeting requests, meeting response, task requests, task responses or even documents such as Access, Excel, Powerpoint and Word documents – check it out it might have something for you.  It’s not perfect but it can be helpful for small scale applications.

Notes come in handy everywhere – especially for directions to get somewhere which is tricky or for instructions you want to keep about how to do something on your computer you only do once in a while or keep information about some topics – often we don’t want to keep an entire email but we might want to start notes on a topic – resource and quote.  There are so many applications for this and they are available everywhere.  By category, they can be quite helpful.

As you can see, there are  many possibilities for using Outlook personally or professionally.  What parts you use and how you use them is quite individual. Now that you are aware of some of the more “obscure” options on Outlook, I hope you will save yourself  time, money and energy by looking for the options available to solve your need.

At the very least, use Tasks and Calendar together as well as incoming email with the Calendar to drag and drop the email into the Calendar.  This latter one is really important – we don’t always remember why we set an apppointment or all the details we wanted to discuss.

If you have a small business, the contacts section is indispensable for recording phone calls, attaching related files and accessing all the documents pertaining to an individual through the search feature can save you a lot of time.  Complete the contact details – you’ll be glad you did because you can access those details before or during networking events and wow people with what they think you can “remember” about them!  Very impressive!

And do look at the other programs in Microsoft Office to create the documents you need – the possibilities are enormous, more than one person can ever know.  Microsoft site itself is a great resource as are YouTube, Google Videos and just general search on Google – you’ll be amazed at what you find!

Lorraine Arams
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