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In Outlook for Mac 2011 Essential Training, author Alicia Katz Pollock provides a comprehensive overview of the full-featured email, calendar, and scheduling application from Microsoft. The course covers the key fundamentals of the program, including sending and receiving email, creating and managing contacts, and scheduling tasks and appointments. It also covers Outlook 2011 organizational features such as the Media Browser, Conversation view, My Day, the Scrapbook, and more.
One of the most powerful elements of Outlook is your ability to customize the arrangement of your Inbox. It's even easy to reorganize it on the fly, as you need to. The arrangement tools actually vary, depending on how you have your Inbox setup. Let's go to the Organize Ribbon and to then to the Reading Pane button. If you're Reading pane is below your messages you have a detailed set of column headers. If it's to the right you can read your entire message at once and you have a whole other set of options.
Let's take a look at both. Let's start by putting the contents to the right of the window. At the top of the list of messages the column header says the words Arranged By. Drop this down and take a look at all the options. You can also rearrange your messages by clicking on the Organize Ribbon and going to this Arranged By button. When I drop it down you'll see all the same choices. For this demonstration I'll start with Date Received. This groups your messages by the date and time that they arrived. Right next to the Arranged By header is Newest on Top and my messages are sorted by the date from newest to oldest.
If I click on Newest on Top, it will change to Oldest on Top and the messages will now be listed by oldest to newest for each of my email accounts. I personally find sorting them with Newest on Top the most convenient, so I can easily tell when new messages come in. Also notice that my messages are grouped by time period, Today, Yesterday, the day before, 2 weeks ago, 3 weeks ago, Last Month and earlier this year. When I click on the little triangles, I can collapse those entire sections, making my list much shorter and more manageable.
If I go up to the View menu and highlight Arranged By, there's also a commands down at the bottom for expanding all groups and collapsing all groups. View > Arranged by > Collapse. Now I can just open up the one that I want to see. If I go up to the View menu at the top of the screen and drop it down again, I can hold my cursor over Arranged By, and at the bottom there is a checkmark in front of Show in Groups. If I click on it, it toggles that checkmark off and all of those groups disappear. My messages are now in one long list with no breaks in between them.
Now that we've seen arranged by and grouping at work let's go take a look at our other Reading pane option, Below. Click on Reading Pane, select Below. In this view, you gain the ability to specify which columns you want to see for each message. By default you have Message Status, Priority, Attachments, From, Subject, Date Received, Categories and Flags, but if you go up to the View menu and hold your cursor over Columns you can see the same list of headers that we saw in Arranged By.
The ones with checkmark are the ones that you can see now. To turn the column off click that item again and the checkmark will disappear. To add a column, go back up to View > Columns and put the checkmark back. You can also do the exact same thing by right clicking on the Headers bar. You can resize your headers by carefully holding your cursor over the line between them, and when you get the double-headed arrow click and drag and you can even reorder the headers. For example, I can click on Flag and drag it to the very beginning.
These headers also work as Sort controls. Click on any header to sort ascending or descending. By arranging your Inbox you organize your messages into columns, sorts and groups that make the most sense for your particular workflow.
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