Customize Outlook to Suit your liking and Working Style

By: standss , Sep 19th, 2012

For those who are using Outlook for years now, you probably already have Outlook customized the way that best suits your working style. 

But if you are new to Outlook or still have not figured out how to customize features in Outlook, here are just some things which you can easily customize to get things done faster (saving you some additional clicks): 

Change the default Outlook Start-up folder 

By default, Outlook is setup to open the Outlook Today screen which gives you a quick overview of your upcoming tasks, appointments and number of emails in the Inbox etc BUT you can easily change this to open a folder of your choice like your Inbox, Calendar or even Tasks folder. Here’s how: 

In Outlook 2010

  • Click the File tab > Options > click Advanced on the left column
  • Under Outlook start and exit, click Browse and then choose what folder you want Outlook to show you first: Calendar, Contacts, Tasks or any of your other folders

In Outlook 2007 & 2003

  • Click the Tools menu > Options
    Click the Other tab, and then click Advanced Options.
  • Under General Settings, next to the Startup in this folder box, click Browse and then choose what folder you want Outlook to show you first: Calendar, Contacts, Tasks or any of your other folders.

Now when you start Outlook, it will display the folder that you have selected above. 

Change the default Message format type 

For those who are not aware, Outlook supports 3 message format types: 

  • Plain Text – this creates messages in Text only with no formatting whatsoever.
  • HTML – messages with formatting (bold, italics etc), supports images, clickable links etc
  • Rich text – only allows simple text formatting specific to Outlook

To set the format you want to use by default: 

  • In Outlook 2010, click File tab > Options
  • Click Mail on the left pane
  • Under Compose messages, for “Compose messages in this format:”, select the format of your choice
  • Click OK
  • In Outlook 2007/2003, click Tools > Options
  • Click on the Mail Format tab
  • For “Compose in this message format:” select the format of your choice
  • Click OK

Your default message format will now always be what you select above however you can also change the format when composing your emails (from the toolbar or ribbon) 

Change the default Appointment Reminder time 

Appointment Reminders by default are set to appear 15 minutes before but if you often find yourself changing this to a different time, say 30 minutes, it would save you time to change this by default to 30 minutes so you don’t have to change it each time.

To change the default Reminder time:

  • In Outlook 2010, click the File tab > Options
  • Click Calendar on the Left pane
  • Under Calendar Options, for Default reminders:, select the reminder time of your choice
  • Click OK
  • In Outlook 2007/2003, click Tools > Options
  • Under the Preference tab in the Calendar section, for Default reminder:, select the reminder time of your choice
  • Click OK

This should now set the default reminder time to what you selected above saving you that one additional click.

This are just few of the many customizations you can do in Outlook. What other things do you customize in YOUR Outlook?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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