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Outlook is such a fixture of office and computer life, its potential as a central life-organizing inbox is easily taken for granted. Empower your Outlook with these add-ons, link-ups, and data management techniques.
10. Never forget attachments
9. Pin a transparent calendar to the desktop
8. Use Quick Parts for automatic text/image entry
7. Tweak it to be quickly, regularly emptied
6. Kill your duplicate contacts
5. Marry Gmail and Outlook the proper way
4. Defer your email sending (for many good reasons)
Maybe you’ve finally finished your magnum opus message, but you don’t want to send it out at 2:13 a.m. and have your recipients wonder about your sanity. Perhaps you want to be out of the office when your message about the new coffee pricing hits inboxes. In those and many other situations, delaying your email sending can be a great idea. You can change the options on each individual message to delay a sending, as we’ve explained, but the How-To Geek (this guy really knows his Outlook, eh?) offers a compelling argument for delaying all Outlook messages by something like five minutes. That way, you’ve always got at least a few deep breaths’ time to go back and fix Exactly What You Think About Steve and similar messages.
3. Team up with OneNote for universal capture greatness
2. Add all kinds of greatness with Xobni
In the realm of Can’t Believe They Haven’t Been Bought Yet, free Outlook helper app Xobni rates pretty high (they’ve even got a Bill Gates statement on their home page!). One download gives you a look at all your email in/out data, fuller contact cards, speedy indexed search that also remembers corporate hierarchy (so you can find, for instance your contact’s secretary), Gmail-like conversation threads, and a lot more, as demonstrated in this video:
1. Sync Outlook to Nearly Any App/Device/Calendar
No matter where you go or what you have to type on, Outlook’s calendar can be available for your appointment-checking acccess. The best ways to get your Outlook data into the cloud is one of two steps (or both):
Google Calendar (and then out from there): Google Calendar Sync – The background desktop app quietly syncs your Outlook happenings to Google Calendar, though only your primary calendar at the moment. In turn, having a Google Calendar copy of everything gives you all kinds of access, since GCal uses the iCal standard to share calendars, and offers lots of other connectivity options—Collaboration for iCal, gCalSync for tons of supported phones, Google Sync specifically for Blackberry phones, and many more apps. We’ve also featured CalGoo and KiGoo as workable Outlook-to-GCal-and-back solutions.
Phones, Macs, Highrise, etc.: Soocial – This free (at least while in public beta) app suite promises to keep lots of your data buckets in sync across multiple lines. Outlook, Gmail, Blackberries, Mac Contacts, regular phones—they’re all covered, although some of them will require a download or plug-in. Basically, wherever an Outlook-to-Google solution doesn’t work, Soocial might fit the bill.
We’ve covered a lot of Outlook jujitsu techniques over the years, and we’re sure our readers have adapted their own higher-level workflows with the corporate staple. How do you get things done inside Outlook? What tools are indispensible for managing the Office tool? Tell us everything in the comments.