Top 50 Most Popular Outlook Tips, Tricks and Tutorials

Review the tips you'd learn in an Outlook 101 class

Microsoft Outlook is a popular desktop email program used by corporations and individuals alike. It's a powerful system, capable of managing many different email accounts, calendars, contact lists, and task lists. Use these tips and tricks to make your email tasks in Outlook more efficient and productive.

Information in this article applies to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook for Mac, and Outlook Online.

of 50

Set up an out of Office Auto-Reply

PC laptop with Outlook Rule Wizard onscreen


While you are away from the computer, Outlook can automatically reply to incoming mail with a message telling senders when you’ll be able to reply individually.

of 50
How to create an email signature in Outlook

Raw Pixel / Pexels

Set up a short piece of text containing essential contact information, a tag line, or maybe an ad or quotation and insert this information in every email you send from Outlook. If you use several email accounts with Outlook, create several email signatures.

of 50
Chart resting on hand with pink studio background
Paper Boat Creative / Getty Images

Create a signature that appends to your outgoing emails in Outlook and makes it a richer experience by adding graphics, animations, and logos.

of 50
People sorted into groups by color represent the statistical technique of cluster analysis.

Magictorch / Getty Images

If you want to send an email to a group of people but keep their email addresses hidden, send it to "Undisclosed recipients" in Outlook.

of 50

Prevent Outlook From Sending Winmail.dat Attachments

An illustration showing winmail.dat files attached to an email.


Winmail.dat is a proprietary Windows format for attachments that leverages the .dat file generic encoding. If your Outlook program sends attachments as Winmail.dat, it could confuse and concern recipients. Configure Outlook to make sure it does not send winmail.dat attachments to mail recipients.

of 50

Insert an Inline Image in an Email

Image inserted to a new message in Outlook on Windows 10


You can include your photos, sketches, or other images in the body of your email messages instead of as attachments. These graphics are called in-line images and automatically display in the body of an email message.

of 50

Access Your or Hotmail Email

Outlook and email icons


Use Microsoft Outlook to fetch and send email messages through your Hotmail or account easily and with all the power and flexibility of a desktop email client.

of 50
PC monitor with Outlook font options on screen

Anthony Boyd

Is the font Outlook uses when you compose a message or read an email too wide, tall, small, big, or blue? Specify the precise font, style, and color to use by default for emails in Outlook.

of 50

Increase the Font Size While Reading Mail in Outlook

Outlook on Windows 10 showing Font size dialog


Is the small font used in emails too difficult for you to read? Increase the size of the text in your email messages in Outlook.

of 50

Add a Background Image to a Message

Young woman using laptop at sidewalk cafe

Chad Springer / Getty Images

Give your emails a colorful and original background in Outlook. Some recipients may not see this background if their email program is configured to not download or display images or special designs from the internet.

of 50

Add Blind Copy (Bcc) Recipients

Bcc field enabled in Outlook on Windows 10 desktop

Blind carbon copies are used to send copies of the message to multiple recipients without disclosing some of those recipients. This technique lets you send emails to many recipients without showing their names or email addresses to everyone else the message is sent to.

of 50

Sync Google and iPhone Calendars With Outlook

Phone app

Mareen Fischinger / Getty Images

Integrate your Google or iPhone Calendar with your Outlook information. Set them up to sync with your Outlook calendar so all of your devices show the same events and appointments.

of 50

Set up a Distribution List in Outlook

Person typing on a laptop with email displayed.

Rawpixel / Pixabay

Create your own mailing lists in Outlook and easily send messages to groups of people. A do-it-yourself list works great for home users who don't have access to a corporate distribution list.

of 50

Backup or Copy Your Outlook Mail, Contacts, and Other Data

A man and woman holding up an oversized envelope.

Aum / Rawpixel

If your email, contacts, and calendars are in Outlook, create a backup of that information to make sure you don't lose it if your hard drive crashes or Outlook stops working. Create backup copies of your Personal Folders (.pst) files — the files where this information is saved. Creating a backup is as easy as copying the file to a second location.

of 50
With her lap top in the kitchen.

Roy JAMES Shakespeare / Getty Images

When you start a new message in Outlook, the default account is the one that automatically determines which settings — the signature and the sending email address, for example — will be used. Set the default account when you have more than one account connected to Outlook.

of 50

Set the Default Message Format

Directly Above Shot Of Default Text Made From Toy Blocks On Table

Roberto Pangiarella / Getty Images

You don't have to choose your favorite message format every time you create a new message. Make your favorite settings your default in Outlook.

of 50

Automatically Cc: All Mail You Send

Computer network database

alexsl / Getty Images

If you have an email account that you use to back up your messages, or if you need to copy someone on every message you send, Outlook can automatically send a carbon copy of every message you compose to another email address.

of 50

Increase the Outlook Attachment Size Limit

Close up of a pile of paperclips on a gray surface.

B_Me / Pixabay

If you send a message with an attachment and Outlook won't let you send it because the attachment exceeds some limit, adjust the Outlook attachment size limit. Set the limit to match that of your email server so emails don't bounce back as undeliverable. Making this change helps avoid unnecessary Outlook errors, too.

of 50

Export Your Outlook Contacts to a CSV File

Computer screen with a CSV file displayed

Devon Pankiw / Pexels

Keep your contacts even if you leave Outlook behind. If you save your Outlook contacts as a CSV file, you can easily import them elsewhere.

of 50

Import Contacts From Excel or a CSV File Into Outlook

chinese girls and communication tools

visionchina / Getty Images

It only takes a few steps to import contacts into Outlook. Then you can use those contacts to build the basis for a mailing list, for example. Outlook supports imports if the underlying file is a supported type, like a CSV document.

of 50

Set up an All Mail Folder

open folder
Molotovcoketail / Getty Images

The search capabilities in Outlook make it easy to find a message when you need it. Creating an All Mail folder for all your messages makes it even easier — it's a great way to create a unified inbox in Outlook.

of 50

Schedule Emails in Outlook

A woman's hands on a laptop with a drink sitting on the table next to it.

linashib / Twenty20 

Tell Outlook to deliver a message on or after a certain date. Delayed sending is great for reminders, birthday wishes, and similar items you plan today but won't send until some future date.

of 50

View the Complete Message Source

New e-mail message on computer screen
Epoxydude / Getty Images

Make Outlook retain the original message source when it retrieves emails from the internet. Full headers are useful when troubleshooting a problem or if you need to prove some fact about the receipt of a message.

of 50

Edit a Received Message in Outlook

How to Edit a Received Email in Outlook

Rawpixe l/ pxhere

Outlook makes editing received emails easy. Use this technique to adjust subject lines and other important information.

of 50
Close-Up Of Empty Paper Hanging On Yellow Background with Paperclip Attachment

Ulf Wittrock / Getty Images

Forward the full email and in the state in which you received it as an EML attachment in Outlook. This preserves all the metadata of the original message, which is useful especially in troubleshooting or legal contexts.

of 50
Zoomed in image of a Chromebook keyboard.

Ian Mildon /

Use commas to separate multiple email recipients in a message. By default, Outlook uses semicolons, but you can change the divider to commas if you wish.

of 50

Quickly Find All Mail From a Specific Sender

Find all mail from a sender quickly in Outlook

Rawpixel / pxhere

Unless you have permanently deleted a message, Outlook retains all the messages from a particular sender in a folder. Use this feature to quickly find them for reference.

of 50

Delete an Address From the Outlook Auto-Complete List

Hands typing on laptop
Sam Edwards / Getty Images

If Outlook remembers an email address you mistyped or if you want to get rid of an outdated name, clear unwanted entries from the auto-complete list that appears when you type an email address in the To field.

of 50

Restore an Outlook PST File for Mail, Contacts, and Data

Detail of a back-up disc and a marker on a laptop

Daniel Diebel / Getty Images

Recover messages, your address book, calendar, and other essential Outlook data from a backup copy. Restore this important email information from a saved version of your PST file.

of 50

Automatically Filter One Sender's Mail to a Specific Folder

Outlook open on Windows 10 laptop

Zlatko Plamenov / Freepik

If you receive emails from a specific sender that you need to file away for future reference, set up Outlook to send those messages to a specific folder as soon as they are received. Start with a message, then set up an Outlook filter to automatically move all of the sender's future emails to a particular folder.

of 50

Permanently Delete a Message

Delete web button for email and mouse arrow on computer screen

stockcam / Getty Images

Do you want to permanently delete a message forever in Outlook but not empty the Deleted Items folder? Learn how to recover deleted Outlook emails.

of 50

Search Inside a Message

Screenshot of the Outlook 2016 Ribbon

Search the text in a message in Outlook to find a specific word or phrase.

of 50

Save Multiple Attachments at Once

An illustration of a person working at a computer opening email with multiple attachments.


If you receive an email with multiple attachments, don't save them individually. Instead, save all files attached to an email to a folder at once.

of 50

Change the Way Unread Messages are Highlighted

social network structure

maxsattana / Getty Images

When you want unread messages to stand out, highlight unread mail in Outlook using special fonts, colors, and more.

of 50

Make Replies to Emails Go to Another Address in Outlook


klenger / Getty Images

Set your default reply-to address for an email account in Outlook. This technique is useful when you receive emails from several email addresses associated with the same account.

of 50

Import Your Outlook Contacts into the Mac OS X Mail Address Book

A woman sitting at a desk using a MacBook laptop.

PeopleImages / Getty Images

The OS X Address Book application imports Outlook contacts for use in Mac OS X Mail.

of 50

Use Contact Categories as Distribution Lists in Outlook

build email list

Baran azdemir / Getty Images

If you categorize your contacts, turn your Outlook contacts into elegant, flexible, and stable mailing lists by using categories instead of distribution lists.

of 50

Attach a File in Outlook

Colourful Paperclips / Getty Images

When you want to send a file along with your email using Microsoft Outlook, attach the file to the email message.

of 50

Purge Deleted Messages


Daniel Sambraus / Getty Images

When you delete an email in Outlook with certain kinds of accounts, the deleted message may appear grayed out with a line through it. To permanently erase it, purge the messages marked for deletion in the IMAP folder.

of 50
Outlook email new message on Windows 10 desktop

To unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists, you may need to send an email with an old email address you stopped using years ago. When you no longer have access to the old email address, send an email from any address in Outlook.

of 50
Businessman pointing at an email.

Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

Use keyboard shortcuts to quickly move emails. It's easy to set up shortcuts to file mail in Outlook.

of 50

Turn off the Outlook Reading Pane

Select the Layout tab and select Hide reading pane under Reading Pane.

Do you prefer not to have messages open automatically? Do you like the flow of a preview pane-free message list? Here are two ways to disable Outlook's reading pane — for all folders, and by default.

of 50

Change the Font Size of the Outlook Message List

Illustration of a person changing font options on a laptop

Lifewire / Ashley Nicole Deleon

Change the font style and size of the list of messages in Outlook to suit your fashion and needs. This tweak helps if you work better with larger type.

of 50
Setting up an email account on an Apple iPad device

CatLane / Getty Images

Use your AOL email accounts with Outlook. Here's how to set up AOL screen name as IMAP email accounts in Outlook.

of 50

Hide Strikethrough Messages Marked for Deletion

Dynamite comes in tiny, adorable packages / Getty Images

If you don't want to constantly purge deleted messages from your IMAP inbox in Outlook and don't want to see messages that should be gone, hide the messages marked for deletion from view.

of 50

See Total Inbox Message Count in Outlook

Green envelope with letter peeking out.

Ovidiu Tepes / Pixabay

Set up Outlook to show you total folder message counts. By default, it gives you an unread message count, but you can make it show you a total message count instead.

of 50
Mail icon

barisonal / Getty Images 

Use Outlook for all your email tasks by configuring Windows to recognize Outlook as your default email program. That way, the next time you click a mail-to link, Outlook opens.

of 50

Always Send Plain Text to Certain Addresses in Outlook

A person's hands on a typewriter with paper showing the word news.

Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

Compose your emails with style and rich formatting in Outlook and make sure that people who prefer or need a plain text version, get it automatically. With so many viruses and malware spread by rich-text or HTML messages, relying on plain text isn't a bad idea for all your outgoing emails.

of 50

How to Forward Multiple Emails Individually in Outlook

How to Forward Multiple Emails Individually in Outlook

Raw Pixel / Pexels

To forward several emails individually and automatically in Outlook, you need a folder and a rule. Follow these instructions to set up the folder and rule to automatically forward multiple emails individually.

of 50

Access Your Free Yahoo Mail With Outlook

Mail from multiple sources being downloaded to a mobile device

tolgart / Getty Images

Your Yahoo Mail account is not made for the web alone. Download mail from a free Yahoo Mail address into Outlook. And send through Yahoo! Mail, too.

Was this page helpful?