Big Ideas for Small Business
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By Wayne Tow

I.T. Results will be closed for Thanksgiving on November 25th and 26th.  We will be providing emergency support on these days.

By Wayne Tow

At first glance Outlook 2010 looks fairly alien when you have been using the prior versions of Outlook.  On closer inspection, you will find that the old capabilities and tools are still there, they just have been moved around.

The old menu is now a series of selectable tabs that bring up different ribbon options.  There is also a “Quick Access” tool bar that is closer in use and function to the old menu structure.  You will want to get all of the features and options on a single page so that you can work efficiently.  Since everyone has their own way of doing thing, there is not a single list of configurations that will fit everyone.  You must create your own list.

Once you have a list of things that you regularly use in outlook, lets divide them into two groups.  Group “A” is things that you perform on the home view of outlook, and Group “B” are actions and features that you use when you have an email open.  Depending on your sophistication you may also have other groups but as you go through the customization you will quickly see how to fit these choices in.

First let’s briefly customize the “Quick Access Toolbar”.  We may set it to display either above or below the ribbon.  

                If, you don’t see the Outlook Icon in the very top left portion of the window, then:

·         Right click in an unused portion of the Ribbon and select “Show Quick Access Bar above ribbon” You should not see the icon.

Let’s temporarily get rid of the Ribbon:

·         Right click in an open area on the Ribbon, select Minimize Ribbon

·         Now at the top of the window, we should have the Quick access toolbar, and the menu line

We will now add two features to the quick access toolbar, and following this example you will be able to add all of the customization that you might wish.

·         Place the cursor over the toolbar in the top left of the window, right click and pick customize quick access toolbar

·         In the choose commands from: Pick Popular Commands  (you may also use any of the other categories)

·         Highlight  “close all item” and click the add >> button

·         Highlight “new email” and click the add>> button

·         Click OK (the window closes) and note that you now have two additional icons in the quick access area.

When using Outlook in windows 7 you can find that you have many outlook windows open.  Clicking the close all items icon will close all of the extra windows leaving only the main Outlook window open.  This is a quick way to clean up your email windows.

Using the Ribbon – Quick Review

The ribbon is context sensitive; it changes depending on what you have been doing.

Turn the ribbon back on

·         Right click over the quick access toolbar, and uncheck minimize the ribbon

Click on the Home tab then click on the folder tab.  Note that the contents of the ribbon changes

Double click on an email and a new window opens and the message tab is selected; a new ribbon also is shown. Close the email and return to the original Outlook window.

Customize the Ribbon

Right click over the quick access toolbar and select customize the ribbon

In the Right most column, note that there are entries under the main tabs, expand the Home (Mail) tab.  You will see that the Home (Mail) tab corresponds to the ribbon when you have selected Mail on the main screen, and that the Home tab is selected.  Note that each of the entries below Home (Mail) corresponds to a group name in the ribbon such as new, delete, etc.  In addition if you expand one of these entries such as “New” you will see entries within the new group on the ribbon New Email, and New Items.

Each of the other entries is also a ribbon for the specific tab in the specific context.  Some tabs are not context sensitive such as View, but always have the same contents for that tab regardless of the window in which it appears.

Note the up/down arrows on the extreme right of the column.  These can be used to rearrange the sequence of the groups in the ribbon.  Highlight the group name, and use up/down arrow to rearrange the groups.  For example note that in the ribbon, the Find group is to the right of the Tags group. 

·         Highlight Tags in the list

·         Use the arrow key to move it below the Find group. 

·         Select ok.

Note that the Ribbon has changed and Tags is now to the right of Find

Go back into customize the ribbon and repeat the procedure to put the sequence back.


o   We can change the order of the groups in each ribbon bar by using the up/down arrow buttons

o   We can uncheck a group to cause it to be removed

o   We cannot modify the pre-defined groups

Adding customized entries

·         We can create additional groups and place our own customized contents within it.

Let’s create a print option on the home mail tab that will allow us to highlight an email in the inbox and print it without having to open the email.

·         Highlight Home (Mail)

·         Click New Group button at the bottom of the list

·         We see a New Group (Custom) has been added to the hierarchy

·         Highlight this new group, select Rename

·         Change the name to Special

·         Keeping it highlighted, use the arrow buttons to move it to the top of the home (Mail) tab

·         With it still highlighted, select print from the left column and click Add >> button

·         Click ok

Note that the Ribbon has changed.


Use the techniques to customize the ribbon command to readily present the options that you normally use in each of the different contexts.         
Windows 7 was designed with one business in mind – yours. Experience the powerful combination of innovation, performance, and productivity. Now you can be more productive at work, at home, or on the road, and keep your business up and running.

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