Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Enter natural language dates, part of Outlook 2016: Tips and Tricks.
- [Narrator] This next feature has been with us since the second version of Outlook, Outlook 98. And yet I find that a lot of users never really notice that this feature existed. So if you aren't used to natural language dates I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised. I'm in the calendar and I'm going to create a new calendar appointment. Quickly the short cut key for that if I'm already here is Ctrl-n for New and I will get a new appointment form then. If I already have a date selected that appointment form will open for that date as this just did.
I had October 2nd selected and it opened a form with this date. And I can fill in subject and location information but what I'd really like to do is get to anyone of the date fields and show you how I can work with this. If I wanted to hold a meeting next Friday or have an appointment next Friday I could look up what day that is but I don't really need to because Outlook knows what day next Friday is. All I have to do is type next Friday. Let me show you that again. How about this Friday. Simply tab out of the field. Outlook knows what day this Friday is.
It also knows two weeks from today. It knows tomorrow. And it knows yesterday. So it knows yesterday, today and tomorrow. And then all these relative or fixed dates. Relative dates being two weeks from today, three weeks from today, one week from tomorrow. Or I can use the abbreviation. So I could say next Monday. Next M-O-N, right? Or I could type Christmas.
I could type New Year's. Check it out. It's amazing. Now it doesn't know the dates that everybody else doesn't know. The dates that are tied to the lunar calendar or the dates that move. So it's no good asking for example when Thanksgiving is. It doesn't know when Thanksgiving is. However, if you happen to know that Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November every year and has been since Franklin Roosevelt was president then you could say that what you're looking for is the fourth Thursday in November and that's the 24th.
Also dates that don't change like the 4th of July you probably know when that one is. And Cinco de Mayo. Always on the 5th of May. That's what Cinco de Mayo means. But for dates that are fixed dates like May 5th or January 1st or dates that you know when they are. The first Monday in September always Labor Day. In the same way that I can enter natural language dates I can also enter times in a more compact format than you might be used to.
Now this is something that works here on the desktop that won't work in every web version of Outlook or every mobile version. But if I want 8am I can simple type "8a". And I can type "830 a" leave out the colon, leave out the uppercase and it's going to be just fine. It will manage for me. The same thing's true with pm so if I have a flight that is leaving at 8:12 at night "812 p" will get me exactly there. Again, no colons needed. I don't even have to type the "M" and it will work just fine.
If I change the duration between the start and end to an hour. Then every time I change my start time my end time will maintain that same duration length. 9PM becomes 10PM and so on. If you're used to looking up dates to enter them in your calendar appointments please stop. Microsoft Exchange and Outlook are a date rich environment and you can use natural language dates to save time and correctly enter information about your intentions for your calendar appointments and meetings.
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