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Today, as we continue creating our "Demystifying Chain," we move on to Outlook.
Ah, Outlook. Good old Outlook. We use it every day, all day, and still…some of its terminology vexes us. Let's see if I can't assuage some of that pain today so that we can get you to understand your right-hand program a bit better.
A rule is simply something you set up within Outlook that performs certain actions on a message—whether it's being sent or is arriving. It's a way to manage your messages automatically, and there are organization rules and notification rules. The article Manage e-mail messages with rules gives really good explanations and examples about rules and how to use them.
The Outlook Team Blog has a few posts about rules; they're the experts and I strongly suggest you check them out:
I also wrote a post about how to create custom rules.
Psst…I have a secret: A .pst file isn't as complicated as you might think. It's really simple, and I'm going to make this short and sweet: A .pst stands for Personal Folders file (why it isn't .pff, I have no idea; I just write the blog, folks, I don't name the features).
We can't talk about the .pst without talking about her uncle, the .ost.
Here is what I like about .pst files: They can be password protected; you can save everything you've ever sent or received forever and ever (or until your computer crashes and you didn't have the wherewithal to back up your information, not that I didn't warn you many times to do so).
To wrap up: A .pst is a way to archive your mail (and other Outlook stuff such as Calendar items and Contacts) on your own computer. And of course, different versions of Outlook can allow you (or prevent you) from doing different things with .pst files. Take a look at some of these .pst articles on Office.com to learn more.
You can "flag" a message by clicking the little grayed-out flag that appears to the right of the message. Applying a flag to a message or a contact adds a visual reminder to help you remember to follow up (meaning don't just ignore it) on an item in some way. In Outlook 2003, you could choose different colors for flags, but in Outlook 2010 and 2007, you can assign color categories to flagged items and associate the items with other related items across Outlook. Flags can give you pop-up reminders and they also appear in the To-Do Bar, where you can easily see what actions you need to take each day.
(Note that I find Quick Steps a bit more useful and flexible than simple flagging, but note that they're NOT the same things. Sometimes flagging is the fastest way to accomplish what you're attempting to do. And of course I wrote a post about Quick Steps.
You know how you like to write something personal—or, at work, informational— at the end of an email?
In Outlook, instead of having to type out "Love, Crabby" or "May the Crabby force be with you" (with all my contact information and favorite quote), I've set it up so that a signature is automatically inserted into every email I compose. I've also created one signature for new, outgoing messages, and a different one for responses.
For example, If I send a message to Ellen DeGeneres and my signature has my name, e-mail address, home phone number, and my YouTube links that highlight my special talents, when she writes back to me (and oh, she will), and asks me to respond to her indicating when a good time would be to come and be on the show, my reply shouldn't have the same signature because Ellen has already filed (and probably memorized) that info. So I can just create a different one, maybe something like "Love ya, El."
Here is the signature I use at work (regular work; not Crabby mail to my readers)
Read more about how to create and implement email signatures in Outlook:
Check out our very own Office Casual blogger, Doug Thomas, as he explains, via video, switching email signatures in Outlook.
<Phew.> Any more terms you need demystifying? Let me know via comments below and if I can't answer your queries, I always know someone who can...
Not finding the help you need from the various channels you've tried? Microsoft Answers is where you're most likely to solve your nagging problem. I explain all about it here, & I strongly suggest—yes, my finger pointed right at YOU—that you consider heading over there.
crabby-i am probably going to use some politically incorrect language-and if you must...hold your ears!
i am a hotmail gal! there ! take that!
do i have to have outlook? when i want to send an email on the web-it wants to send it through outlook,andwhen i try-it tells me
"there's no way you're gettin through on outlook...."...i want to send it through my hotmail account...problems?
Crabby Mom: I use Hotmail and my personal live.com mail...through the browser @ http://www..hotmail.com. You just sign in, put in your password, and there you are. Click INBOX and... and...I don't see the problem.
I've actually never seen that message.
Have you tried Microsoft Answers? answers.microsoft.com/.../default.aspx
Very informative post. You have nicely explained some Outlook terms including the .pst and .ost files.
But I think managing .PST files is not an easy task as these can be corrupted easily. Few weeks ago, my Outlook .pst file get corrupted and I was not able to recover my important Outlook items even through Scanpst.exe and PST2GB tools. I got several recommendations to use Stellar Outlook PST Repair Tool. I used it and it worked for me. Now my Outlook is working absolutely fine.
Now i will always remember to take backup of the file before to get stuck in such situation.
Hi Jane -- THanks for writing in. I feel your pain about the pst file -- they CAN be corrupted easily. I'm VERY glad you got some sort of software to recover what you needed and that yeah, no you kow you must back up your stuff! That's a good reminder for us all (um...be included). Thanks.
Hi -- I use Outlook 2003. Recently I needed to get a new Hard Drive. I save my e-mail in in the program in a series of folders. I had backed up my data in 3 ways.
1 - I copied and pasted the data folder (using explore) to an external HD.
2 - the "shop" backed up my entire c: drive.
3 - Norton 360 auto back-up, which I don't underestand at all - to me it's a series of gobbldegook numbers that are meaningless - sigh.
Now I don't know how to get me data back. I have tried all I know how to do (limited knowledge, certainly).
I can find what appears to be my file on the external HD. Used copy and paste to move it back on my computer.
But it does not "appear" a file folders. In fact, in the program, it does not appear at all, although in explore, its little squiggly icon does appear. It asks what program I should use to open it. Outlook is not mentioned. somehow, I did add Outlook, but when I try to choose it, nothing happens.
Can someone please tell me how to get my e-mail back.
Why PST/OST ?
PST - Personal Storage
OST - Offline Storage