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Tricks & Tips

5 Ways to Customize Outlook

January 22nd, 2009
  1. Hide MS Outlook in the tray: If you run MS Outlook all day like I do, it sits on your start bar, just taking up real estate:

    photoYou can force Outlook to hide in the system tray when minimized to keep your area clean.  Simply right click on the existing Outlook tray icon and check “Hide When Minimized”:


  2. Turn off desktop notifications when new email arrives (New mail arrived from: Friend’s Name):  While on that same right click menu from above, uncheck “Show New Mail Desktop Alert”.
  3. Turn of sounds when new mail arrives:
    1. In Outlook, click on the Tools menu and choose Options.
    2. Click on the Preferences tab
    3. Click E-mail Options
    4. Click Advanced E-mail Options
    5. Uncheck the box “Play a sound”,  under “When new items arrive in my Inbox…”
    6. Hit OK, and OK to save
  4. Show the total number of messages, not just unread item count besides the mailbox:  By default, the number besides your mail box (  Inbox (21)  ), is displaying how many messages you haven’t read.  To show the total number of messages instead:
    1. Right click on that folder and choose Properties.
    2. Dot, “Show total number of items”
    3. Hit OK
  5. Sync your Outlook calendar with Google Calendar: You might wonder why this is so great, unless you just need mobile access to your calendar.  However, after syncing you could also share your calendar with family or friends to stay on the same page.   Use Google’s free download to start your sync:  Google Calendar Sync.

The instructions above are for Outlook 2007.  They may vary slightly for earlier versions.

Don’t use Outlook? If you don’t use Outlook, I highly recommend a GMail email address.  It’s a smarter choice for email as it’s free, includes the best spam filters, and always available no matter where you are.  Create an account at www.gmail.com.   Outlook is good application if you need task or contact management and/or sync with a PDA Cell (Blackberry, Treo, etc).  Otherwise, shoot for GMail!