Outlook 2007: 3 Tips and Tricks (plus one bonus for the Vista-nated)

Here are 3 tips and tricks for Outlook 2007, plus a bonus tip for those running Outlook 2007 on Vista.

You can enlarge the screenshots by clicking on the images.


#1. Quickly add Calendar and Availability information to an e-mail message.

In conjunction with Exchange 2007, Outlook does an amazing job of helping selectively share calendar information within an organization. 

But have you ever found yourself answering someone's "when are you free this week?" to someone external by laboriously scrolling through your calendar?

Choose the "Insert" tab on the e-mail Ribbon, and select "Calendar."

As you can see, Outlook 2007 will insert upcoming calendar information into your e-mail, including whatever level of detail you'd prefer - from "Availability Only" all the way down to the gory details.


#2. Create Outlook Tasks from OneNote.

OneNote is another application in the 2007 Office System that is really useful for taking, organizing and searching your notes. 

If (like me) you use OneNote to take meeting notes, you can create Outlook tasks out of bullet points on your OneNote page. 

Just highlight the items you would like turned into tasks, and choose "Task" from the menu bar.  As you can see, you can specify when the tasks are due as you create them.

The Task that is created is synchronized: When you mark it as "complete" in Outlook, the Task flag in your OneNote note will also be automatically updated as completed.


#3. Use Quick Parts for boilerplate e-mail text

Do you frequently insert a chunk of boilerplate text into e-mails?  Create a Quick Part to simplify the process.

To create a Quick Part: Add the content you will re-use to the e-mail.  Then, select "Quick Parts" Under the Insert, Text tab of the Ribbon, and save the selection to the Quick Parts Gallery.

To use a Quick Part: Select "Quick Parts" from the Ribbon again, but this time, select the instant preview of the content you previously saved.


#4: Bonus -- Vista Sidebar Gadgets for Tasks and Appointments

If you're running Windows Vista, here are two useful Outlook 2007 Sidebar Gadgets, which can give you quick visibility on upcoming tasks and appointments, even if Outlook isn't open.

The Outlook Tasks Gadget lets you view and edit your Outlook tasks list in the Vista Sidebar.  You can sort the tasks by date, category or priority, and you can include or exclude groups that you don’t want see.  Download it here.

The Outlook Upcoming Appointments Gadget shows you your next three to five upcoming appointments from your Outlook 2007 calendar in the Vista Sidebar, just as they appear in the Outlook 2007 To-Do Bar. You can double click on appointments to open them in Outlook.   Download it here.


I hope these help!  Even though my blog may has a developer focus, we all benefit from things that make it easier to communicate, collaborate and plan our time.

This post was inspired by Mark Alexieff's TechReady session on "10 things you haven't seen in Office 2007," and I have a few more in the pipe I'll be sure to share soon, including one really cool Access 2007 trick (would you believe!).

Comments (4)

  1. Rob Atkinson says:


    Nice one. Had seen most of those but not the Quick Part – takes graphics tool, v-cool. Those Outllook gadgets are limited in scope and need improving. See the comments up on Live

    Maybe you could develop some cool gadgets for us. Why don’t you create a gadget for your cool WPF zoom tool for example?



  2. RobBurke says:

    Cheers Rob, glad it was helpful!  Thank you for pointing out the caveat on the sidebar Gadgets as well.  They both work fine on my PC, but I am using a cocktail of Irish and Canadian regional settings, so I’m not sure if I just got lucky.

    It’s funny you should mention creating a gadget for NLarge.  Part of its utility is that you can access it from a keystroke without interrupting whatever you’re doing, but maybe there could be a useful way to integrate it with the Sidebar.

  3. Office2007launched says:

    I have been using Quick Parts for responses to an advertising campaign for a week-or-so now.  

    Unfortunately, I notice that, after setting-up about 10 of them, whenever I overwrite one (the only way I found is to save a new one under the same name as an existing one) a couple more disappear.  

    I had to constantly go into old e-mails and click ‘reply’ and then recreate the missing Quick Part(s) from the text until I realized what was causing the issue.  

    This got very frustrating.  

  4. chaise says:

    how do i add background music to the email just like i was able to add in outlook 2002?

    and the emails customized with outlook 2007 isint completely shown in normal windows mail.

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