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Getting the Most Out of Microsoft Office 2007: Outlook

02 Nov 2009 8:26 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

You are probably familiar with Microsoft Office, the uber-popular productivity suite in use by many of today’s businesses.  What you may not know, though, is how effective the program is when put to full use, and how it can impact you and your business specifically.

MS Office is sold in four different “flavors,” but the most basic Standard version comes with Outlook (for e-mail), Excel (for spreadsheets), PowerPoint (for presentations), and Word (for documents).  The Microsoft Website offers a convenient comparison page so you can analyze the different versions, including features and cost.

Each of the different modules offered within the Office suite deserves an entire blog in and of itself, but today we’ll focus on just the basics of Outlook, which happens to be my personal favorite.

The Outlook website states:  Office Outlook 2007 provides an integrated solution to help you better manage your time and information. What does that mean for you, exactly?  It means that Outlook provides you, the time-starved-multi-hat-wearing-woman the tools necessary to manage your e-mail, calendars, notes, contacts, tasks and more in one convenient location.  One location, that is, unless you are interested in mobile access.  Yes, you can take it with you!  For example, I use the calendar feature of Outlook to track both of my kids school activities/days off, after school events, holidays, work commitments, jewelry parties, bill paying, doctor appointments, and even gratitude e-mail reminders.

I classify each event within its appropriate category and then assign it a specific color so that I can see how my month (or day, or week) looks at a glance.  I can also create multiple calendars and overlay them, one on top of the other, in order to keep separate calendars but see all events in a given time-period.  I can then set up my iTouch to synch with Outlook (including contacts, mail, etc) in order to have my calendar with me at all times.

As if the basics of Outlook weren’t exciting enough on their own, if you take into consideration the various add-ins available, a whole new world of improved organization opens up to you.  Two add-ins that I regularly use include Evernote and MAPILab’s Attachments Processor.  Evernote is a free add-in which among other things allows you to take any bit of information found in an e-mail, or on a calendar item, and organize it effortlessly.  The Attachments Processor is a handy add-in for those who get many (or very large) attachments, and are concerned about mail files growing too large too quickly.  There are add-ins compatible with Outlook for just about anything that you could imagine having a need for, and many are available to download for free.

What we’ve covered today doesn’t even begin to do justice to the tools available just within Outlook itself, but it may whet your whistle a bit.  If you’re interested in more information regarding Outlook specifically or Office in general, the Microsoft Office website is a great place to start researching.  Have fun with it, productivity tools don’t have to be boring!

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