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Summer vacation is over here in the South. Most public school students in our area started back to class last Monday, and the colleges start either this week or next. However, summer weather is not yet behind us and we are still looking for ways to keep cool, so I am continuing the "cool" theme this month with Cool MS Outlook tips.
 
Many of our students are going back to campus with wireless laptops. They will study and access the Internet in unsecured hotspots. Read the tips column this month for information to give your student to ensure that he protects his data from hackers.

I hope that you have found lots of other ways to stay cool this season...enjoy the final weeks of summer!!
RoadMap: "Cool" MS Outlook Tips and Tricks
Roadmap
 
1-Create and use an email template
Creating an email template is a real time saver when you suspect that you will send a similar message in the future. Follow these steps to create your template:
  • Create a new message and enter the desired template Subject: and content
  • Select File | Save As from the menu
  • Select Outlook Template under Save as type
  • Type the desired template name (if different from the email subject) in the file name box
  • Click Save
To compose a message using the new template:
  • In the Outlook Inbox, select Tools | Forms | Choose Form... from the menu
  • Select User Templates in the File System under Look In:
  • Double-click the desired message template
  • Address, make changes and send the email
2. New Contacts from Incoming E-mail
Adding people to your Address book is a piece of cake if the person has either sent an email to you or is included as a recipient in any e-mail you get. The name can be in either the From, To or the CC field. To add a contact record from an e-mail, right click the name you want to add to the contact list. Click on Add to Contacts in the context menu and a new entry for the contact will open with the name and e-mail address already filled in. Fill you other details if required and save the contact.

3. Customize Your Startup
If you always want to see the Calendar or the Inbox folder as soon as you start Outlook, then make it your default folder. You can choose Today, Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, Task, Journal or Notes as your start up folder when you run Outlook. Click on Tools > Options > Other. Click Advanced Options and select the folder that you want to start with in the Startup in this folder dropdown list. Click OK to apply the changes.

4. Send a message to multiple people without revealing other recipients' identities 
To send a message to someone without other recipients of the message knowing, use the Bcc line in the message. Bcc stands for blind carbon copy. If you add someone's name to the Bcc line, a copy of the message is sent to that person, but his or her name is not visible to other recipients. You must have a valid email address in the To: field, so if you do not have at least one address in the To: field, add your own email address there.

5. Streamline with Categories
Outlook distribution lists are handy for sending to a group of people fast. But, they are impossible to search and hard to administer. Fortunately, Outlook also lets you assign any number of categories to your contacts. You can then sort your address book by category  to create a new elegant, versatile and stable distribution list.

You can also use categories to help you organize active messages in your Inbox. To group related messages with categories:
Just right-click on any message, left-click on Categories...
Assign a category by checking one or more of the choices in your list. Click OK to apply. Groups of messages can be more quickly categorized by sorting and selecting first, and then by following the steps above.

To compose a new message or meeting request to all members of the category-run distribution list:
  • Go to Contacts in Outlook
  • Select View | Current View | By Category from the menu
  • Click the desired list category's heading
  • Select Actions | Create | New Message to Contact or Actions | Create | New Meeting Request to Contact from the menu
  • Click OK if Outlook notifies you that your action will apply to all items in the group
Outlook puts all address in the To: field. To send a message to a long list of recipients, it is usually better to have all addressees in the the Bcc: field to avoid revealing addresses. Move the addresses to the appropriate field. For contacts with multiple email addresses, Outlook inserts each. It is best to delete the unneeded addresses.

Compose the message or meeting request and send.

6. Managing the Outlook Auto-Complete List
To remove a name or email address from Outlook's auto-complete list:
  • Create a new email message in Outlook
  • Start typing the name or address you want to remove
  • Use the down arrow key to highlight the desired (undesired) entry
  • Press Delete

7. Save attachments to create a leaner mailbox
Attachments can be the most important part of incoming emails, but they are also frequently what makes your email archive grow big quickly. While a typical email message is 10 to 20 KB, attached files are often in the MB range. Saving the attachments to a folder and removing them from the emails can make things cleaner, clearer and speedier. Once the attached files are saved, you can remove them from the messages in Outlook.

To delete attachments from messages in Outlook:
  • Double-click on the desired message to open it in its own window
  • Click on the attachment you want to remove with the right mouse button
  • Select Remove from the menu
  • Close the message window
  • Click OK in the Do you want to save changes? dialog
Of course, once you have saved the attachment to your hard disk, you can often just delete the entire message.
 
8. Create a shortcut for repetitive email
Do you send a daily report to your boss via email? If so, you may want to create a shortcut to a pre-written email with fixed recipient and CC email addresses. NOTE: This function is limited because the Windows command line cannot be longer than 255 characters. Nevertheless, you'll have plenty of space to write a nice standard e-mail.

First, create the shortcut and place it on your desktop:
  • Right click on your desktop
  • Select New
  • Select Shortcut from the menu, a wizard will appear to help you create your shortcut
  • In the location box, type mailto:recipient@domain.com (using your recipients email address)
  • Click Next and enter a name for the shortcut
  • Click Finish
You have created the shortcut, now it's time to create the standard email.
  • First right click on the shortcut icon you created
  • Select properties
  • Then Type "mailto:recipient@domain.com?subject=today's_report&cc=anotherrecipient@domain2.com&body=Hi Boss, here is today's report." 
When you are ready to send the report to your boss, click on the shortcut on your desktop, attach the report and send it off to your boss.
 
The symbols used in this tip mean:
  • & - Marks the end of a field
  • ; - Is used between multiple e-mail addresses
  • ? - Is needed to separate the e-mail address from the "CC" and "subject" field.
9. Displaying your mailbox items in the way that you prefer.
Outlook has two options for displaying mailbox items, in blue "()" and in green "[]". The Blue parenthesis "()" are for displaying the number of unread messages. And the green brackets "[]" are for displaying the total number of messages in your inbox. 

Follow these steps to change the display property for your Outlook mail folders:
  • Select the mail folder
  • Right Click
  • Select properties
  • Select the general tab
  • Now select which value you want to have displayed: "show number of unread items" or "show total number of items".
  • And click on apply and OK 
10.Quick Spelling Check
To quickly check the spelling in a message, press [F7].

These MS Outlook Tips and Tricks were tested in Outlook 2003. If you find these "cool" tips useful and would like more information about using MS Outlook more effectively, SmartSite Technology can provide training documents or a live class for your employees. For additional information, contact us.
SmartSite Technology serves as a virtual IT Department for small and medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations.  We provide all of the information technology services that a business needs to compete in today's marketplace.
 
Our goal at SmartSite Technology is to help each of our clients to be a success!! We know that technology is not a core competency for many small business owners and non-profit professionals. We believe that every organization benefits when they automate their business processes. We work closely with all of our clients, even those who are uncomfortable with computers and technology, to help them introduce automated processes into their operations. 
 
Contact us today to discuss your technology needs.
Sincerely,
 
Dixie Groutt
SmartSite Technology
 
Copyright 2009 SmartSite Technology. All rights reserved.
August 2009
In This Issue
RoadMap: "Cool" MS Excel Tips and Tricks
Your Tech Tutor Says...
 
Securing Data When Using Unsecured
Hotspots
tutor pic number 1
 
Your student is going back to high school or college with a new notebook or laptop with a wireless Internet connection. Most likely, his school has supplied him with rules about wireless access and security that are specific to their network. He understands that if he follows the rules, his data is safe.

However, your student is likely to study and use his notebook in coffee shops or cafes, which have wireless access that is uncontrolled and unsecured. That means that someone intent on stealing information can easily hack into his wireless transmissions if he does not take appropriate precautions.

Here are a few tips to pass on to your student about using hotspots that will help foil hackers and keep his data safe:
  • Use an anti-virus program and update it regularly so that the program knows about all of the current viruses. Not only will this keep his computer safe, but it will prevent spreading viruses to his friends.
  • Use a spyware removal program to get rid of malicious software that has been downloaded onto his machine. This will also prevent future intrusions.
  • Make sure that he knows how to password protect his files and folders and turn off sharing and auto-connect options. Make sure that he sets up his machine to use a password to log in, to access hotspots and to access programs and data.
  • When he does not need wireless access, turn it off. Not only does this keep hackers out of his machine, it extends his notebook battery life.
  • Make sure that he always uses a firewall to prevent unauthorized access from Internet intruders. He needs to know how to activate the firewall and keep it enabled at all times.
  • Make sure that he uses strong passwords that can't be easily cracked. The most effective passwords do not use dictionary words and contain a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Passwords should be changed often and never shared!!
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