How to Use Outlook: 23 Time-Saving Tips

Save time in Outlook every day

If you spend much of your day handling email, there are plenty of ways to use Outlook more efficiently. Change defaults to match the way you work. Make use of a keyboard shortcut or two. Set up filters to automate tasks. And, make sure Outlook runs at maximum speed. Check out the following tips and secrets, and you'll reclaim a little time.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook for Microsoft 365.

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File Messages With One Click

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Do faster what you do so often. Set up one-click actions to manage emails with ease.

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Streamline Conversations

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Don't litter your email folders with messages that are quoted elsewhere. Find out how to use Outlook to clean up emails automatically. Outlook will move or delete those redundant emails for you.

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Resend Emails

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Resend an email in Outlook to reuse its content, subject, or recipients instead of starting with a blank message.

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Keep Outlook Files Small and Snappy

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If you want Outlook to be fast, keep your main PST file size small. The PST file is where Outlook stores emails, contacts, calendars, and more. One way to keep the PST file small is to move old mail to a separate archive file, for example.

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Set Up an Out-of-Office or Vacation Auto-Reply

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Have Outlook reply on your behalf when you're away and won't be able to respond to your email. This saves you time not only when you are catching up after vacations but every single workday as well.

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If you didn't set up one-click filing for a folder, Outlook has another way to move emails to folders fast. You can transfer messages using the keyboard, for example, or a handy button on the ribbon.

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Screenshot of Save as Template in Outlook

When you compose similar messages to different recipients, save one of these emails as a template in Outlook for future use. You'll send the same email, or a similar one, repeatedly with enviable speed.

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Change the Default Outlook Font Face and Size

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If you think the font that Outlook uses when you compose a message or read an email is too wide, tall, small, tiny, big, or blue, change it. Find out how to set the precise font, font style, and color to use by default for emails in Outlook.

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Delete and Mute a Conversation

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When you find yourself wading through emails and conversations that are totally irrelevant, Outlook can help. Find out how to use Outlook to delete an entire conversation and have Outlook remove future emails in the same thread automatically.

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Filter One Sender's Mail to a Specific Folder Automatically

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Start with any email to set up an Outlook filter that moves all future messages from the same sender to a specific folder automatically.

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In Outlook, finding all related messages is easy. Just search for a contact name or for words in the subject line. Outlook lists every message that matches your search terms.

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Make sure new messages you compose start with the most likely From email address selected in Outlook.

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Search Inside a Message

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Want to find something in a long email? Find out how to use Outlook to search the text inside an email message.

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Schedule Emails to Be Delivered Later

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You can instruct Outlook to send a message only on or after a certain date. This is handy for regularly occurring events, such as a weekly meeting announcement.

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Undelete a Message Quickly

Did you just delete an email in Outlook that was not ready to head to the Deleted Items folder? Here is a simple way to get that email back in an instant.

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Set Up Distribution Lists

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Create your own mailing lists in Outlook and send messages to groups of people easily without having to type all the email addresses.

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Delete Attachments From Messages

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Keep the message; lose its big size. Find out how to use Outlook to remove attached files (after you save them elsewhere) from email messages. You can trim your mailbox size considerably.

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Find All Mail From a Sender Quickly

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Outlook locates all the messages from a particular sender and shows them to you quickly with this tip.

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Set Up an 'All Mail' Folder

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See all sent, received, archived, and filed emails for an account in one place in Outlook.

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Have Outlook Highlight Mail Sent to You Only

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When you are the sole email recipient, the message is typically more important than if you're one of a dozen people. Find out how Outlook can highlight messages that have only you in the To line.

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Instead of forwarding emails to yourself or making a note elsewhere in Outlook or possibly outside it, you can edit any received email and add your own text.

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Automatically Cc: All Mail You Send

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Outlook can send a copy of every message you compose to another email address.

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Expand Outlook With Time-Saving Add-Ins

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Add-Ins such as ClearContext, Nelson Email Organizer, Xobni, Lookeen, and Auto-Mate can improve your Outlook workflow by putting the right information near your fingertips, filtering intelligently, and automating repetitive tasks.

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