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Rediscover the robust task management features in Microsoft Outlook 2010. Author Gini Courter explains the difference between Outlook tasks and To-Do Lists, and shows how to use Outlook 2010 to handle both business and personal schedules, from making appointments, to creating and completing tasks, to color-coding calendars and tasks for at-a-glance review.
As with most of the Microsoft products, Microsoft Outlook has options that you can set to customize how Microsoft Outlook is going to work best for you. So let's take a look at the different options that you can set for the Calendar. First, you'll find the Options in Outlook 2010, not on the tools menu because there isn't one, but by clicking File and choosing Options here in Microsoft Outlook backstage. These have all been rearranged and this is a blessing actually.
It used to be that in Outlook, you almost had to guess where some of these options were being hidden because they could be in so many different places. But it's really nice to know that most of your options you are going to find either here on the General tab or in the very specific place that you're looking for. So you'll find your email options under Mail, your Calendar options under Calendar, Contacts under Contacts and so on. So let's take a look at the Calendar options that are available to us. First, by default you are seeing that the workday starts at 8 and ends at 5 o'clock, if you have a different workday then you'll want to change these times because when you switch to your Calendar and you switch for example to a Day view, the start of the day 8:00 AM is right here.
So if you would like your day to run from 10 until 7 at night, then if you change that, you won't be scrolling at the start of every single day. So a simple swap here that says no actually I work starting at 10 o'clock in the morning and then I work until 7 o'clock in the evening will have that Calendar open differently for you. So if I switch back to Mail and then go back to my Calendar, notice that what I am seeing at the top now is 10:00 AM, rather than 8:00 AM, so very helpful to have the earliest reasonable appointment that you would have, sitting here at the top of your Calendar rather than scrolling all the time.
Let's go back to File backstage and back to the Options and choose Calendar again. I'm going to return these to my original times from 8:00 to 5:00. When I choose Work week in the Day, Week, Month view, what days do I want to show? By default Monday through Friday, but if for example I work Sunday through Thursday, then that's all it takes to change the week, so that I'll see Sunday through Thursday.
What's the first day of the week? Right now the Calendar is set that the first day of the week is Sunday. If you prefer a calendar that has both weekend days together at the end, then simply say no, I'd like to start my work week on a Monday and then Monday will be the first day, Sunday will follow Saturday. And what's the First week of the year when you are looking at the Week view or at the Month view, you'll want to know where is the start of my year. So if your organization that has a different start to the fiscal year and you'd like to follow that with your Calendar, feel free.
When you create a new appointment there is a default reminder that's set. If you don't want to have any reminder at all, then you simply say 0 minutes and it won't set one. A 15 minute reminder for me is just long enough to let me know that I have no possible chance of making it to my meeting on time, most of them are in another building or another location, I actually need 30 minutes. So what you want to do is set this Default, so that most of the time you're getting a reminder on a timely basis occasionally you might still want to move one, but if you're moving them all the time, then you need to come change the default.
Or again if you don't want any reminder at all, turn it off, you won't be bothered with them, but this can be a good thing. I'd rather have a reminder all the time and have want to say oh! I didn't need it than not to be reminded of things. When you're proposing a new meeting time for somebody, the question is how are you marking your Calendar and by default when you say well, I'm going to have a new meeting time still the meeting that's sitting on your calendar is set as tentative, you can always change your mind on a meeting-by-meeting basis.
The next button allows you to add all the holidays to your calendar. You only will need to do this once. You click the Add Holidays button and you find the holidays that you want to add. I want to tell you that this is a batch process, so what it does is when you add the holidays, Microsoft Outlook simply puts them on your calendar. They're not in relation to each other. So if you decide that you want to add holidays and then remove them, you'll have to remove them individually. So you will have to categorize based on holiday.
So this is really not a good way to find out for example what holidays do they celebrate in the Czech Republic? Because after they have been placed in your calendar it's a manual job of removing them. However, it is nice to be able to add the holidays fairly easily so you will find for example that all of the Islamic and Jewish religious holidays are here as well as the Christian holidays. So you can put holidays on, so that you can be reflecting the holidays that are celebrated in your workplace or celebrated by clients or by folks that you work with.
There some other options that you might wish to engage in. If you find that the Default color of the calendar, the background is not a color that is helpful or useful for you, you might consider particularly switching to this yellow. I am just going to show you what that looks like because this is a combination that's actually very good for many people. If you don't like it, don't do it, but it's actually nice because black print against yellow is actually the easiest print for most people to read.
So feel free to do that if you are finding that the calendar seems like jammed up visually, well, loosen it up a bit by choosing a different Default calendar color. If you say, Use this color on all calendars, it will be on every single calendar even when you display five or six of them. Usually not something you want to do, but you could if you wish to. Normally folks like to see each calendar that they are displaying in a different color. Some other things that might be useful on your work setting, you can choose to Show week numbers in month view and in the Date Navigator that's displayed here.
So for example if I show week numbers and say OK, you'll actually see the week number of the year out here at the end and in Month view, you will see them displayed at the left end of each week. There are some industries for example, the hospitality industry where that's a real plus, the ability to see what week number of the year you happen to be in. If you spend a great deal of time showing multiple calendars, you might be interested in the ability to automatically switch from a vertical layout to a schedule view when you show more than X number of calendars.
So you're actually telling Outlook that if you are in schedule view that you want to switch back to a vertical layout as soon as you go down to one calendar or you want to be able to switch to Schedule View from vertical when you're showing say for example two or more. So I am going to knock this down to 2, so you can actually see how this functionality works because it is helpful. When I show a second calendar, notice that because I have two calendars, it automatically switched to Schedule View which shows the calendars here one on top of each other.
When I turn Greg's calendar back off, it switches back to the vertical view of the calendar. So if you want to be able to show multiple calendars say 5, 6, 7, 8 calendars, but maintain this vertical view of them, so that you could for example overly the calendars, then this is where you would make that change to say no, I actually need to show multiple calendars more than just a few and I want to be able to stack them up and maintain them in a vertical layout, so that I can overlay them.
We talked earlier about how you can change your time zones and just to reminder that that functionality is here and finally that the Calendar details and other items that you use in the Scheduling assistant when establishing meetings are here as an option for the Scheduling assistant. So a whole raft of different options that you can set so that your Outlook Calendar reflects the actual times and days of the week that you work reminds you on a timely basis about different appointments that you have, allows you to easily see what holidays are being celebrated that might involve time off of work for you or colleagues or customers that allow you to create different views and particularly the switching functionality to a scheduling view when the number of calendars you are displaying exceeds this limit and then switching back again when we are all done.
If you haven't spent any time at all here looking at the Calendar options, I encourage you to give a thoughtful 10 minutes sometime to how these items could be working for you, look at your Calendar, make sure that its layout is meeting your needs, think about how you'd like to be able to use reminders and make sure that you've set times here that are useful for you and so on. That 10 minutes well spent will save you time in the long run because you will be able to set defaults that ensure that you will spend less time changing settings for each individual meeting or calendar appointment.
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