While Outlook might not have the reputation of being the trendiest piece of software, it is still used widely in businesses across the globe. That being said, if you know how to use Outlook there are a few really handy tips and features that can make Outlook just a little better. Here at Underctrl we provide it managed services and so we often get questions about outlook tips. We look at a few common shortcuts, as well as ways to filter your outlook emails by Rules and show you how to turn off annoying notifications, while still notifying you when important emails, such as sales queries or emails form your boss come through.

Outlook Shortcuts for Email

When you’re working in the Email window you can use these shortcuts to perform certain functions.

Press To Do
Ctrl + N New Email
Ctrl+Shift+M New Email while in any Outlook view
Ctrl + R Reply
Ctrl + F Forward
Alt + S Send
F9 Send/Receive


Outlook Shortcuts for the Calendar

When you’re working in the Calendar window you can use these shortcuts to perform certain functions.

Press To Do
Ctrl + N New Appointment
Ctrl+Shift+A New Appointment while in any Outlook View
Ctrl+Shift+Q Create a New Meeting Request
Ctrl+G Go to a Date
Ctrl+Right Arrow Go to Next Day
Alt+Down Arrow Go to Next Week
Alt+Page Down Go to Next Month


These are a fraction of the number of shortcuts available in Outlook. There are dozens that can be used throughout the program and if you want to see them you can check them out here at Office.

There are also a number of really great ways to use outlook, to save you time and be a bit more organised. Check out the following tips.

Outlook Tips for Automatically Filtering your email

You may want to filter your emails, so that they automatically go into a folder, based on what they are. For example, you might want to filter your Invoices or Tax receipts, so that they go into a folder called Invoices or Taxes. Because these items don’t necessarily need to be actioned immediately, but they will be needed by someone when they do the accounts, it can be beneficial to separate these into a specific folder.


  • In Outlook go to File > Manage Rules and Alerts

Outlook Rules & Filters


  • Click on New Rule

Outlook Add New Rule

  • Select the template you want to apply. For example – you may want to move messages based on a keyword, who it is sent from or the action that is required. You can read more about Stay Organized, Stay Up to Date and Blank Rules at Microsoft Office .


  • Once you have chosen the rule to apply you need to select who to apply it to and where to send the email. These variables will change slightly, based on the template you select.Outlook Rules Wizard


  • You then select the conditions you want to check. Again these conditions are based upon what you are trying to achieve. If you’re aiming to filter your emails (like in this scenario) you can filter by people or group. You may wish to filter by specific word in the subject also. This might be useful if you have an inquiry form on your website and you have automated the Subject along the lines of Online Inquiry


Outlook Conditions

  • You then need to select any exceptions to the rule. In this case it might be that all emails marked as Sensitive are withheld from the particular folder.


  • Finally, you save your new filter and click Finish. Your new Rule is visible in Rules and Notifications. Apply


Have automated filtering using rules is a great way to manage an email inbox. It allows you to maintain a level of order in your inbox and help you identify emails that are important to you. Another great way to manage your time, is by turning off notifications for all but the most important emails. We look at this below.


Outlook Tips for Managing Notifications

There is no doubt that notifications and email can be an almighty chore that can consume your day if they are not managed properly. Previously the best option was to turn off your email (and risk missing those important emails, like sales inquiries). Now it is possible to limit the notifications you receive and ensure you only receive notifications for time critical/important emails.

  • In Outlook go to File > Manage Rules and Alerts and Click on New Rule (as Above).
  • Select Display Mail from Someone in the New Item Alert Window

Display new Item window


  • In Step 2 select the person or email address you wish to receive notifications for and then enter a specific message when this email comes through.

Outlook Alert Message Notification


  • Complete any Exceptions, then Click through to the end and click Finish. Your new Rule should be visible in Rules and Alerts.
  • You now need to turn off Notifications. This will turn off all notifications, except for those with specific rules, as created above. Go to File >Options > Mail. Turn off Play Sound and Display Desktop Alert. This will stop notifications from popping up or making a sounds when an email arrives. 

Turn off notifications


  • However, because you have a rule in place, when you receive an email from a particular sender, you will receive a Notification, such as this;

Website Enquiry


The great thing about setting rules for notifications is that you are able to reduce the number of distracting emails you receive and ensure the important time critical emails are the only ones you receive notifications for. This can be a real time saver if you receive a lot of emails in your job.


Combined with email filtering and notification Outlook can be a real time saver, if you know what you are doing. If you have any questions about email or more outlook tips questions, feel free to get in touch.


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