Do you use Outlook mainly for email and keeping your calendar, and that’s it? If so, you’re missing lots of other productivity gems inside the app that can help you with several other work tasks.
The most competitive companies are the ones that take full advantage of their digital tools to improve workflows and streamline their software. Why use more tools than you need to, when one can do multiple things?
That’s one of the things we do when providing managed services to our clients, we look for ways they can better deploy tools like Microsoft 365 and Outlook to reduce their dependency on other apps and manual processes.
We’ve put together several helpful tips below for using Outlook for things other than just sending email.
How Else Can You Use Outlook at Your Business?
Too many companies leave features on the table in their cloud services. Get the full use out of your Microsoft 365 subscription by diving deeper into what Outlook can do for you.
Move from Paper to Digital Sticky Notes
We all know those colleagues that have sticky notes stuck to the side of their monitor. It’s just “their process.” But it’s inefficient, unsecure, and can be done much more easily in Outlook.
You can create, organize, and search digital sticky notes in Outlook, eliminating those inefficient paper notes, but keeping a process that works for you and is much more secure.
- Click the three dots at the bottom of the left-side mail folder panel in Outlook.
- Choose “Notes.”
- This will take you to the digital sticky note area of Outlook
Use Outlook for Meeting Room & Equipment Reservations
Trying to keep a spreadsheet or paper sign-out form for meeting room or equipment reservations is time consuming. Someone has to go back and manually enter information each time an asset is reserved as well as check availability whenever an employee wants to reserve a projector or book a conference room.
There’s a much better and more automated way to do this in Outlook. Once, you set up this process, Outlook’s Scheduling Assistant keeps track of these shareable assets for you and employees can check availability on their own.
- In the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, Resources area, set up Room and Equipment Mailboxes for your shareable assets.
- To reserve, users will schedule a meeting in Outlook
- Add the asset you want to reserve as you would any other meeting attendee
- Click “Scheduling Assistant” to check asset availability
- When ready, click “send” on your meeting to save and book the asset
Make Task Management Easier
When you receive an email from a client or supervisor with a “To Do” item, do you then copy and paste that into your task management software? Why not keep it in Outlook and skip the copy/paste?
Using Outlook for your task management allows you to easily bring emails into the task area of the application without any data needing to be transferred to another app. Plus, you can easily forward a task, add a task to a meeting agenda, and share and organize your tasks in multiple ways.
- Click on the Outlook email that has the information for your task.
- Drag the email down to the Task icon at the bottom of the mail folders panel.
- This opens a new task window with the email text included and allows you to add due date, importance flag, and other details.
Use Read Aloud as a “Personal Assistant”
Do you wish you could have someone read an email for you while you do something else away from your computer? You can use Outlook as your “personal assistant” using the Read Aloud feature.
Using this can allow you to hear your emails read to you and can also be a great way to proof important emails before you send them out.
- Make sure your sound is up.
- Highlight the email text that you want to have read.
- Click “Read Aloud” in the Speech area of the Home menu
Connect Outlook and OneNote to Stay Organized
OneNote is a powerful way to organize notes, websites, audio recordings, images, and more.
You can connect OneNote and Outlook to help you stay organized and clean messages out of your inbox. For instance, if you have several emails relating to a project, rather than having to search for them in your email, you can offload them to a OneNote project-related notebook where they’ll reside along with all your other project notes.
- Check that OneNote is connected by going to File > Options > Advanced
- Under the “Other” heading, make sure there is a check in the box next to “Use Send to OneNote with OneNote for Windows 10, if available”
- In Outlook, double click the message (or meeting) you want to send to OneNote
- On the top ribbon click “Send to OneNote”
- Chose the desired notebook, and click “Save”
Are You Fully Utilizing Your Cloud Applications?
Using software “out of the box” without fully exploring or customizing it, means you’re not getting your full money’s worth. We can take your cloud application use to a whole other level!
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