Let's face it, most of us are using Outlook for our business e-mail and calendar sharing, however very few people understand its true potential. In order to save time on support and get the most out of this program, TechCrunch shared “10 most important things to teach your Outlook users”. These key concepts will make anyone a power-user in no time.   

Outlook comes in various configurations and flavors

Outlook is a very different animal from Outlook Web Access – both at home and off-site. Outlook express is only a mail client – this isn’t breaking news but is still very important to understand.

It’s all too easy to make embarrassing mistakes.

How many times have you replied to a person in an e-mail thread and accidently click “reply all”? I know I’m guilty of doing this at least a few times. Proper training is important to make sure users are comfortable with the program, just as creating a policy regarding corporate e-mail clears the air of confusion around what employees can or cannot send.  

It’s essential to protect against viruses, phishing, malware, etc.

This is really a job for IT personnel; however a well-informed user is still your best defense. Training in these fields will cut down on user-support time. Many of us know not to open e-mail or attachments from unknown sources, but many phishing scams are so good at seeming authentic that a lot of people still fall victim to their tricks. Never turn off your virus protection software and always keep your software updated.

The interface can be customized.

Not everyone is going to use the task applications or make folders for e-mails – why not customize Outlook to hide these? Again, this falls under the IT personnel umbrella, but every user’s needs are unique. This is why a crash course in customizable interface is essential to utilizing your time.

Email is stored locally.

Users must be aware that when you download e-mail messages, they are saved on that machine only. Forwarding messages to a work account is the easiest way to get around this common problem.

Data files can “blow up.”

The data files in Outlook have a limit of 2 GB. These .pst files are easily exploited when they grow too big.  Delete unwanted mail and archive old messages to stay ahead of the size limit. Many of us cannot achieve the coveted “zero-inbox” trophy, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.

Data files can also be repaired.

What happens when your data files become corrupt? Users can run Inbox Repair Tool to fix these files. If that doesn’t work, they can also run the Crop Tool. Cropping reduces the size of the data file. Some data loss may happen, but Outlook functionality will be restored.

Data files should be backed up.

When you back up your data files, you are essentially creating an Outlook restore point. These backups don’t have to be done every day, but a schedule should be followed.  When all files are backed up (including calendar, contacts, journal, and tasks), users won’t have to worry about data loss. Administrators should be able to help with this one.

Archiving is a good practice.

Thankfully, this can be done automatically. Users can determine when archiving takes place, however knowing where and how to recover it is very important.

There are ways to avoid spam filters.

While there are dos and don’ts, it is ultimately up to the users to determine what parameters they want to set up to block spam. For keywords, users can do a Google search of “spam keywords” and use those results.


By following these steps, you'll be using Outlook like a pro in no time.

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