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10 Ways To Save Time In Microsoft Outlook

Finding new ways to save time is so important if you are feeling busy and overwhelmed. Cutting back on the time it takes to do small tasks can create more space in your schedule, allowing you to do more things you enjoy. In this video, we discuss ten tips and tricks for saving time in Microsoft Outlook.

Below are the ten best ways to save time and improve productivity when using Microsoft Outlook.


With rules, you can use Outlook as a personal assistant. Rules can be created to automate manual actions that would usually take up time. When creating a rule, you give instructions to Outlook so that it can process messages in a predetermined way. With rules you can send messages to folders, assign categories, and delete or forward them.

To create a rule, right-click your example message, hover over “rules”, select “create a rule”, choose your criteria, rename the rule, and hit “finish”. The “create a rule” button is also under the home tab. To limit the criteria further, use advanced options. If you need to change a rule after its been made, go to “rules” and select “manage rules”. Already existing messages can have rules applied to them as well.

Favorite Folders

The favorite folders function separates high priority folders from less used ones. These folders are stored above navigation, so that you can easily find them. To make a folder a favorite, drag it to the favorites area or right-click on the folder. Favorite folders can be rearranged or removed at any time by right-clicking on them. If you drag a message to a favorite folder, it will be moved there.

Convert Email To A Task

Converting emails into tasks makes scheduling quicker and easier. To do this, right-click the flag next to the message, set the time you want to do the task (custom times are available), and add a reminder. You can also open the message, click the “follow up” drop-down, set the time, and add the reminder. Additionally, you can drag the message to the task area to convert it. Moving the message to another folder once you have done this can be helpful.

Convert Email To An Appointment

Converting an email to an appointment is a great trick for scheduling. To do this, hold down the right-click on the mouse while hovering over the message, drag to your calendar, and select the appointment type. If other people also need to attend the appointment, make it into a meeting.

Read Aloud

Read aloud reads messages to you, allowing you to multitask. Read aloud is called immersive reader in Outlook for the web. To enable read aloud, go to “file”, click “options”, select “ease of access” and then “show read aloud”. To use this feature, select “read aloud” in the message tab. After you do this, a toolbar will appear. This toolbar can play or pause the audio. You can also change the speed of read aloud or the voice used at any time. To hear a message from a specific point, double click the point and hit play.


Dictation works in the same way as speech to text on a cell phone. With it, you can verbally say what you would like to send, and Outlook will write the message for you. It is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers with the Outlook desktop app.

Dictation is located under the message tab, within the dictate dropdown. Always say which punctuation you would like to use (“question mark” for ?) when dictating. After you are finished, make any edits you need. Dictation can be used in the subject line of your message or the body.

Delay Delivery

When working on weekends or late at night, delay delivery may be useful to you. With this feature, you can write a message at any time, but send it to the recipient later. For example, you could write a message to Mike at 10:00 pm am on Tuesday and have it delayed until 8:00 am Wednesday morning. To write a delayed delivery message, create or reply to an email, click “options”, select “delay delivery”, choose “options”, and send the message.

Quick Steps

With quick steps, you can apply multiple actions to a message with just one click of a button. For example, you could have a message from Oliver sent to your Finance folder and forwarded to Melissa all at once. Quick steps can be found on the home tab of your ribbon. Please note that these functions are not always active, they are only used when you initiate them. Quick steps can be created or deleted at any time.

To make a quick step, go to “quick steps” under the home tab, click “create new”, name the quick step, choose the actions that it will complete, add actions as needed to get the desired effect, and “finish”. During this process, you can also make a shortcut. This is helpful if you plan to use the quick step often. Additionally, you can change the order of your quick steps, edit a quick step, and duplicate or delete one by going to “manage quick steps”.

Quick Parts

Quick parts act as templates for content you send regularly. To create a quick part, start a new message, type and edit the message, highlight the section you would like to make into a quick part, select “insert”, and go to “quick parts”. Then, click “save section to quick part gallery”, give it a name, pick the category it will go in, add a description, and choose your options.

To use a quick part, have your cursor in the body of the message, go to “insert”, then “quick parts”, pick the one you would like to use, and edit as needed. To replace a quick part, repeat the above steps and select “replace quick part” when prompted by Outlook. Hover over the existing quick part, right-click, and select “organize and delete” to replace one as well. You can always use more than one quick part in a message.

Quick Access Toolbar

The quick access toolbar combines multiple actions into one button. The toolbar is found above the ribbon, but can also be moved to below the ribbon by selecting the drop-down and clicking “show below the ribbon”. The toolbar is very customizable, in that each area of Outlook has its own version of the toolbar.

To customize the toolbar, click the drop-down next to the undo button and choose which features you would like to show on it. There are many options to select from, and you can even include some features mentioned prior, like delayed delivery or quick parts. To change the order of features shown or which ones are available, select the drop-down and go to “more commands”. You can also right-click on the toolbar and choose “customize quick access toolbar”.

How Much Time Will You Save In Outlook?

Are you ready to save time and be more productive? These tips and tricks are guaranteed to help you use your workday more wisely, and make all those small tasks quicker to do. If you have questions or would like to learn more about using Microsoft Outlook, reach out to us. At On Time Tech, we want to help you be more efficient when using technology. Our IT professionals can help you with just that while finding the best solutions for you.

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