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Tip o’ the Week #227 – Moving around Outlook

clip_image001What’s the most-used application on your PC? Maybe it’s your web browser (IE, of course), but if you’re a corporate email slave like many of us, then it’s quite likely to be Outlook. As you spend so much time in the application, it’s worth getting to know how to move around it a little more efficiently, and that could save you, oh, whole minutes every day.

ToW’s passim have covered the subject in part; see way back to #10 in #119. In summary, there are shortcut keys that everyone should know – CTRL+SHIFT+I will always jump to your Inbox, CTRL+1 will take you to “mail” (whatever folder you were viewing last) , CTRL+2 jumps to your calendar, CTRL+3 to Contacts, CTRL+4 to Tasks, etc.

There are a few other tricks you can deploy to help getting about in Outlook with more vim. As well as using the keyboard to jump around, move up and get down, there’s always the bottom of the WunderBar (seriously, it is called the WunderBar – and not just in Outlook) . If you click on the ellipsis in the shortcut bar then choose Navigation Options, you can change the order of the items in the bar – so if you like to click on the shortcuts and you use Tasks a clip_image003lot, then you could move that folder up clip_image005the chain so the icon will always be available.

clip_image006(The “Compact Navigation” option hides the text description and replaces the words with a simple icon, and is on by default).

If you remember that you can always get Mail by pressing CTRL+1, then you could ditch the icon from the WunderBar and get it to focus on the other folders you use a little less frequently.

Another trick is that you can fire up Outlook with the view already in a specific folder – as well as right-clicking on a folder and choosing Open in New Window, you can get Outlook to do the sameif  you press the Windows Key + R keys and enter outlook /select outlook:foldername where foldername is inbox, calendar, tasks and more. If you put a path to a folder in there – e.g. “outlook:inbox/my subfolder in my inbox”, etc – then it will bring up a new window with the focus in that folder.

Try this:

  • Launch Notepad (press start, type Notepad, enter)
  • Paste the following into the notepad app:

cd C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\
outlook /select outlook:inbox
outlook /select outlook:inbox/Not direct to me
clip_image008outlook /select outlook:calendar
outlook /select outlook:tasks

If you think Outlook is installed in a different place, try launching Task Manager (CTRL+SHIFT+ESC) and look for Outlook in the list, then right-click and choose Properties to see the location. Edit the first line of the above list to point to the right place…

The second /select above is to a custom folder that you probably won’t have – try either setting it to another folder you want to jump to, or just remove it altogether.

  • Save the file to the default location (should be your “Documents” folder) ,  by selecting the Save as Type option to All Files (*.*) then call your file olk.cmd.

Now, if you press Start, type olk and press Enter,  you’ll get a bunch of new windows each pointing to a useful place in your mailbox.