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Outlook 2010: Suggested Changes to Outlook’s Default Settings January 11, 2012

Posted by computertrainer in Office 2010 Tips, Outlook Tips.
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Applies to Outlook 2010 (This post is an update from one for Outlook 2003 & 2007 – the only changes are where to find the options.  I hope it helps you.)

When Outlook is installed there are several defaults that I suggest that you change:

1.       When starting Outlook, do not start in the Inbox, start in Outlook Today

  • First, you will need to get to Outlook Today so you can customize its components. 
  • If you have Exchange, then you have “Mailbox – your name” at the top of the folder list in the mail group on the left of the screen.   Click “Mailbox – your name” and Outlook Today appears.
    If you do not have Exchange, then you have your e-mail address at the top of the list.  Click that and Outlook Today appears.
  • On the right side of the Outlook Today bar, click Customize Outlook Today.
  • The first items is a check box – put the check in the box:  When starting, go directly to Outlook Today
  • Show this number of days in my calendar   I suggest changing the default from 5 to “7″ … on Wednesday you would get a quick view of the appointments you have at the first of the week.
  • In my task list show me All Tasks (this is the default … do not change it to Today’s Tasks)
  • Sort by Importance (Descending) then by Due Date (Ascending).  The most important tasks will appear at the top of the list with the most current Due at the top and those Due in the future below.
  • Click Save Changes – the upper right on the Customize Outlook Today bar.

2.       Save replies with the original message   Click on the Files tab, then Options, then Mail.  Scroll down on the right to the Save messages section.  If you have rules that move mail to specific folders when the mail arrived, then you will want to check the box  When replying to a message that is not in the Inbox, save replies in the same folder.  Using this feature means that the mail in the folder will have the incoming mail and your replies to that e-mail.  Click OK

3.       File Contacts by Company the Last and First Name   Click on the Files tab, then Options, then Contacts.  Int the Names and filing section change the Default “File As” order: from Last name, first name  Company (Last, First).  Then click OK.

4.       Change the default font for messages and replies   Are you frequently changing the font of a new message?  Instead of changing each message, let’s change the default font for new messages and for replies/forwards:

  • Click on the Files tab, then Options, then Mail.  On the right side in the Compose messages section click on Stationery and Fonts … .
  • Do nothing at the Theme… no ivy, no dark background color … just leave it a plain old white sheet.
  • Select the font you want for New Messages, then for Replying or Forwarding.  You can also change the font for composing and reading plain text messages … it does not have to be Courier New if your prefer Arial!
  • When you are satisfied with your selections, click OK twice.

5.       Add a signature for inside the company and one for outside   Click on the Files tab, then Options, then Mail.  On the right side in the Compose messages section click on the Signatures … and add the following signatures (at a minimum):

  • signature for a new e-mail going outside your company (more formal with more information)
  • signature for a new e-mail going inside your company
  • signature for replies and forwards

6.       Spell check every message automatically when you send it   Click on the Files tab, then Options, then Mail.  On the right side in the Compose messages section by the “spell check” icon click Always check spelling before sending. 

  • Then click on Spelling and Autocorrect…
  • I suggest you remove the check in Ignore words in UPPERCASE and Ignore words that contain numbers.
  • Click OK twice.

7.       Empty you “trash” at the end of the day   Click on the Files tab, then Options, then Advanced.  In the Outlook start and exit section click to add a check mark in Empty the Deleted Items folder when exiting Outlook.  The Deleted Items folder should not be a HOLD folder.  You can create a folder to HOLD things in and then when you delete an item, you mean for it to be deleted.

8.       Using Reading Pane?  Keep envelopes from opening without reading the message   Click on the Files tab, then Options, then Advanced.  In the Outlook panes section, click Reading Pane…

  • Notice that the default is to Mark item as read with selection changes.  This means that when you leave one e-mail message and simply click on another – perhaps to view it in the reading pane – then the last message is marked as having been opened and read (the closed envelope icon changes to an opened envelope).
  • Remove the check mark in this item.

9.       Use Archive so YOU know when you store the archive files!   Click on the Files tab, then Options, then Advanced.  In the AutoArchive section, click AutoArchive Settings… and remove the check mark in Run AutoArchive every xx days.

  • Using the Manual Archive, you are in control of what you are archiving and where you are archiving the files.  Contact me if you need help.  I will send instructions or talk you through it.

It does not matter if you are new to Outlook or have been using it for a while, these changes will make Outlook easier to work with!

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