Microsoft Outlook

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Microsoft Outlook - Tips and Tricks - Keyword Shortcuts
What is Microsoft Outlook?
Microsoft Outlook is a program that can handle e-mail, contacts, calendars, and tasks, and know more about it saves you takes time and effort.
Export multiple e-mail addresses to Excel

1. Create a new folder to hold the messages
2. Move the desired messages into the new separate folder.
3. To Export the messages to an Excel go to the File menu and select "Import And Export".
4. Use "Export To A File" and click Next.
5. Select Microsoft Excel and click Next.
6. Select the folder with the messages and click Next.
7. Click the Browse button, navigate to where you want to save the exported file, name it, click OK and click Next.
8. Click Finish. The contents of the folder are now into an Excel file, including names and e-mail addresses of the senders.

Outlook's Tasks folder.
You can take full advantage of this feature to be even more productive
Date Completed - Final day of task
Total Work - Total time required to complete the task.
Actual Work - To track of the time actually spent on the task.
Mileage - To track of the number of miles traveled in connection with the task.
Billing Information - General information related to billing
Companies - Names of organizations associated with the task,
Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Outlook
Keystroke = Function
Alt + . (period) = Open the Address Book with the To field selected
Alt + A = Open the Action drop-down menu
Alt + B = Open the Address Book with the BCC field selected
Alt + C = Select message recipients for CC field
Alt + D = Switch to Daily calendar view
Alt + E = Open the Edit drop-down menu
Alt + F = Open the File drop-down menu
Alt + G = Open the Go drop-down menu
Alt + H = Open the Help drop-down menu
Alt + I = Open the Find tool bar - Open the Insert drop-down menu
Alt + J = Move to the Subject field
Alt + K = Check names in the To, CC, or BCC field against the Address Book (cursor must be in the corresponding message header field)
Alt + L = Reply All
Alt + M = Switch to Monthly calendar view
Alt + N = Open the Accounts drop-down menu
Alt + O = Open the Format drop-down menu - Switch to Today calendar view
Alt + P = Open the Message Options dialog box
Alt + R = Reply - Switch to Work Week Calendar view
Alt + S = Send
Alt + T = Open the Tools drop-down menu
Alt + V = Open the View drop-down menu
Alt + W = Forward an item - Switch to Weekly calendar view
Alt + Y = Switch to Daily calendar view
Ctrl + 1 = Go to Mail
Ctrl + 2 = Go to Calendar
Ctrl + 3 = Go to Contacts
Ctrl + 4 = Go to Tasks
Microsoft Outlook Shortcut Keys
Ctrl + Shift + O = Go to the Outbox
Ctrl + Shift + I = Go to the Inbox
F5 or CTRL+M = Check for New Mail
CTRL+SHIFT+M = Start a New E-mail message
CTRL+SHIFT+B = Open the address book
CTRL+SHIFT+A = Start a New appointment
CTRL+SHIFT+C = Start a New contact
CTRL+SHIFT+Q = Start a New meeting request
CTRL+SHIFT+K = Start a New a task
F11 = Make the Find a Contact box active
CTRL+SHIFT+F = Open the Advanced Find dialog box
CTRL+Q = Mark an e-mail message as read
CTRL+D = Delete an e-mail message, contact, calendar item, or task
Microsoft Outlook Keyboard shortcuts
Ctrl + 5 = Go to Notes
Ctrl + 6 = Go to Folder List
Ctrl + 7 = Go to Shortcuts
Ctrl + 8 = Go to Journal
Ctrl + A = Select all
Ctrl + B = Bold when editing a rich text message
Ctrl + C = Copy
Ctrl + D = Delete an item (message, task, contact, etc.)
Ctrl + E = Activate the Find drop-down menu - Center Align when editing a rich text message
Ctrl + F = Forward
Ctrl + J = Open a new Journal Entry from the selected item (message, task, contact, etc.)
Ctrl + K = Check names in the To, CC, or BCC field against the Address Book (cursor must be in the corresponding message header field)
Ctrl + M = Send/Receive all
Ctrl + O = Open
Ctrl + P = Print
Ctrl + Q = Mark the selected message Read
Ctrl + R = Reply
Ctrl + S = Save a draft message
Ctrl + T = Tab
Ctrl + U = Mark the selected message Unread
Ctrl + V = Paste
Ctrl + X = Cut
Ctrl + Y = Go to Folder
Ctrl + Z = Undo
Ctrl + Backspace = Delete the previous word
Ctrl + End = Move to the end
Ctrl + Home = Move to the beginning
Ctrl + Shift + A = Open a new Appointment
Ctrl + Shift + B = Open the Address Book
Ctrl + Shift + C = Create a new Contact
Ctrl + Shift + E = Open a new folder
Ctrl + Shift + F
Ctrl + Shift + G = Flag message for follow up
Ctrl + Shift + J = Open a new Journal Entry
Ctrl + Shift + K = Open a new Task
Ctrl + Shift + L = Open a new Distribution List
Ctrl + Shift + M = Open a new Message
Ctrl + Shift + N = Open a new Note
Ctrl + Shift + O = Go to the Outbox
Ctrl + Shift + I = Go to the Inbox
Ctrl + Shift + P = Open the New Search Folder window
Ctrl + Shift + Q = Open a new Meeting Request
Ctrl + Shift + R = Reply All
Ctrl + Shift + S = Open a new Discussion
Ctrl + Shift + U = Open a new Task Request
Ctrl + Shift + Y = Copy a Folder
Shift + Tab = Select the previous message header button or field
F1 = Open Outlook Help
F3 = Activate the Find toolbar
F4 = Open the Find window
F7 = Spellcheck
F9 = Send and receive all
F10 = Select File from the Outlook toolbar button
F11 = Activate the "Find a contact" dialog box
F12 = Save As
Alt + F4 = Close the active window
Front Page Shortcut Keys
Front Page has quite a few shortcut keys.
Center a paragraph = CTRL+E
Left align a paragraph = CTRL+L
Right align a paragraph = CTRL+R
Display HTML tags = CTRL+ /
Apply the Heading 1 style (ect.) = CTRL+ALT+1
Apply the Normal style = CTRL+SHIFT+ N
Not listed in their help is:
Cycle through Normal / HTML / Preview = Ctrl-PgUp/ Down
If you are at the last row in a table, the TAB key will add a new row below the current one.
Fast Access to the Desktop
To get an Explorer view of the Desktop - Press Ctrl-Esc or click the Start button - Press R to go to Run. Note: If you are using a Win keyboard, you can get to this point by pressing Win+R - Type in a period -
Outlook's Tasks folder. You can take full advantage of this feature to be even more productive
Date Completed — Final day of task
Total Work — Total time required to complete the task.
Actual Work — To track of the time actually spent on the task.
Mileage — To track of the number of miles traveled in connection with the task.
Billing Information — General information related to billing
Companies — Names of organizations associated with the task,
To send a task request to a group of people 1. Create the task request and save it as template using: the "Save As" dialog box, choose "Outlook Template (*.oft)" from drop-down list. Now you can use it to create identical tasks to send to several people. If you send the same task to more than one person, Outlook cannot track you with each person's progress.
COM add-ins. Component Object Model add-ins are programs made to extend the functionality of Outlook for more complex functions. Look in the menu> Tools - Options - Advanced Options
COM add-ins are registered as executable files (.exe) or dynamic link library files (.dll) and all Microsoft Office applications and above can use them. COM add-in can made things like creating new toolbars or performing mass search-and-replace operations on Contacts items.
Make an image of your screen. Open window and sort and filter it the way you want it. Maximize the window and then press the [Print Scrn] button on the keyboard. This copies an image of the current screen to the clipboard, and you can paste it from there into a Word document or an HTML message. [Print Scrn] will grab the entire screen. Advanced Find tool searches for words.
If you type Technology as your search term, Outlook will find all items that contain the phrase "Technology."
If you type Tech, Data as your search term, Outlook will find all items that contain "Tech" or "Data."
You only need to use quotation marks if you're searching for a phrase that includes punctuation, such as "Murder, she wrote."
Outlook will automatically find most plural versions of the words you enter—but it's not always able to find irregular forms. For example, if you enter tooth, it won't find messages that include the word "teeth."
Transfer multiple e-mail addresses to Contacts Add Reincarnated: Creating contacts from exported messages 0. Create a new folder under your Contacts to store these specific addresses. Then: 1. Click on the File menu and choose Import And Export. 2. Choose Import from another program or file and click Next. 3. Choose Microsoft Excel and click Next. 4. Click Browse, navigate to the Excel file, click OK, and click Next. 5. Click on the new Contacts folder you created and click Next. 6. Click Map Custom Fields. 7. Click and drag the FromName field from the From Microsoft Excel box on the left to the Name field in the To Microsoft Outlook box on the right. 8. Click and drag the FromAddress field from the From Microsoft Excel box on the left to the e-mail field in the To Microsoft Outlook box on the right. 9. Click OK and click Finish. 10. Assing the FromName field in the Excel to the Name field in the To Microsoft Outlook area, 11. Send a Blind Copy. Open a new mail message, click the To: button, and choose your Contact List From The: drop-down list. It will be listed below your default Contacts folder. Then click the first name on the list, hold down the Shift key, and click the last name on the list. This should highlight all the names. You can then click the To button to address the message to all the contacts. If you want them all to receive the message, but not be able to view one another's e-mail addresses, click the Bcc button instead to send blind carbon copies.
Outlook Rules Each rule consists of three elements:
Conditions : specify the message that the rule is supposed to apply to.
Actions : specify what should be done with the qualifying messages.
Exceptions : specify which messages won't be affected by the rule. The following is a list of ways to use Rules as suggested by Outlook's help files. When you create Rules, you can specify that Outlook apply them either as messages arrive or when you send a message. You can also have Outlook apply Rules to messages already in your Inbox or other folders. Examples of rules you can create:
Assign categories to messages based on the contents of the messages.
Set up a notification, such as a message or a sound, when important messages arrive.
Move messages to a particular folder based on who sent them.
Delete messages in a conversation.
Flag messages from a particular person.
Assign categories to your sent messages based on the contents of the messages.
Delay delivery of messages by a specified amount of time.
Redirect a message to a person or distribution list.
Ask the server to automatically reply to a certain type of message by using a message you’ve created.
Start an application. Perhaps the easiest way to create a rule is to use a message as a sort of template. You can then create a rule based on the properties of that message by doing the following: 1. Click on a received message in your Inbox (do not open it). 2. Click the Organize button on the Advanced toolbar. 3. Select Using Folders. 4. Verify that the name of the sender's address is correct in the Create A Rule To Move Messages From line. 5. Choose the folder into which you want to move messages from that recipient. 6. Click Create. Create rules using the Rules Wizard You also may create a rule based on a message by using the Rules Wizard. To access the Wizard, you may:
Open the message the rule will be based on.
Click the Actions menu and choose Create Rule.
Follow the instructions in the Rules Wizard, checking all boxes next to the parameters that apply to each question. Be careful not to choose unnecessary or conflicting parameters, as that will cause the rule to fail. A message must meet all the criteria you set for it in order for the rule to work. If you'd like to run the rule on the messages in your Inbox, select the Run This Rule Now On The Messages Already In check box in the last dialog box of the Rules Wizard. Double jeopardy: What rules apply first? If you've created several rules and a particular message meets the criteria for two or more rules, you may wonder which will be applied first. The answer is, "The one that comes first." But which is that? To find out, first click on the Tools menu and choose Rules Wizard. You'll see a list of all the rules you've created. To change the order in which the rules are applied, move them up or down in the list by using the Move Up and Move Down buttons. Rules that are marked Client Only are applied after all other rules (no matter where they are in the list) and are only active when Outlook is running. An example of a Client Only rule is one that plays a particular sound when a message from your boss arrives. Rules at your beck and call From the Rules Wizard, you can also specify whether the rule runs automatically or manually. For the most part, you'll want to run your rules automatically so you won't even have to think about them. But the advantage of running rules manually is that you can apply them to messages already delivered to your Inbox or to another folder. To run rules manually: 1. Click the Inbox icon in the folder list or the Outlook bar. 2. Click the Tools menu and choose Rules Wizard. 3. Click the Run Now button. 4. Select each rule you wish to run now by clicking the check box next to it. 5. Click the Browse button to change the folder you're running the rules on. 6. Check the Include Subfolders box if you want to include folders within your selected folder. 7. Click the Apply Rules To list, and select All, Unread, or Read to indicate the type of messages on which you want to run the rules. 8. Click the Run Now button. No rule is just right: Modifying or deleting rules It's easy to change an existing rule. Simply access the Rules Wizard from the Tools menu or the Rules Wizard button on the Advanced toolbar, click on the rule you want to change, and click Modify. From that point, you can follow the Wizard as you did when you created the rule, changing any part you wish. It's equally easy to delete a rule. Simply reopen the Rules Wizard, select the rule you wish to delete, and click the Delete button. If you don't want to delete a rule, but you want to turn it off for a while, simply clear the check box next to the rule in the Rules Wizard dialog box. It will remain inactive until you replace the check mark. Sharing rules with other Outlook users It is possible to import or export rules just as you would with Outlook's Contacts. This can be useful when helping a new employee or teaching fellow workers about Outlook's features. When you import rules, they are added to the end of the list of rules in the Rules Wizard, where you can modify them if necessary. When you export rules, they are saved with an .rwz file extension. For more information about importing or exporting rules, search Outlook's help files or visit Microsoft's Web site to find out “How to: Export a set of rules to a file in Outlook 2000” (http://support.microsoft.com/support/ServiceWare/Outlook/Out2000/E9ZUM2LFO.ASP) or “How to: Import a set of rules in Outlook 2000” (http://support.microsoft.com/support/ServiceWare/Outlook/Out2000/E9ZUM3243.ASP). Ready for greater challenges? If you've mastered the basics of the Rules Wizard, or you want to create a rule that it simply can't support, read “How to Create a Custom Rule Using Visual Basic for Applications” (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q235/8/52.ASP?LN=EN-US&SD=gn&FR=1) from the Microsoft Web site. The article describes how to get started by setting up a simple rule. If you're using Outlook 98 or an even earlier version, you may also need to use Visual Basic for Applications to create rules whose actions are supported only in Outlook 2000. Those actions include:
Redirecting an e-mail message to a person or a distribution list.
Forwarding the message as an attachment in another message.
Asking the server to reply to a certain type of message by using a message you've created.
Printing a message.
Starting a program.
Deleting items permanently. Setting up multiple user profiles in Outlook 98/2000 May 18, 2000 Bill Detwiler, MCP What's become the biggest reason to install a PC in most organizations? E-mail. A problem with e-mail, however, is that in some instances, more than one user accesses the network using the same PC. This dilemma can be remedied by setting up multiple user profiles within Outlook 98/2000, and with a little planning and preparation, it can be done easier than one, two, three. Before beginning, there is information you will need to know, and this will depend on how your e-mail system works. Because my organization uses Microsoft Exchange servers, I've based the following tips on that system. Your system may require different information, but the basic setup process is the same. To properly configure Outlook profiles, you must know the user's Microsoft Exchange server and the user's mailbox name. With this information in hand, you're ready to go. The wizard knows To begin, open the Microsoft Outlook Setup Wizard by clicking on Start, choose Settings, select Control Panel, and double-click Mail. If you're working on a machine with no current Outlook profile, the setup wizard, shown in Figure A, will appear automatically. If the machine already has Outlook profile(s) set up, you'll need to click Show Profiles and Add from the Properties window that appears. You may bypass these multiple clicks by right-clicking on the Microsoft Outlook desktop icon and clicking Properties. However, this will only work if the desktop icon is not a shortcut. An Outlook icon is usually placed on the desktop during installation, but not always. Figure A: You configure multiple user profiles with Outlook's Setup Wizard. Place a check mark next to Microsoft Exchange Server and click Next. Enter an appropriate Profile Name and click Next again. The Profile Name can be anything the user wants, but I would recommend using a standard format throughout your organization. (We try to make a user's profile name match the mailbox name.) Enter the user's Microsoft Exchange server and Mailbox, as shown in Figure B. When you click Next, the wizard will ask if the user travels with the PC. This option is used for configuring offline access to Outlook. Since most users don't travel with their PCs, we always select No. (Offline access can always be configured later if needed.) Figure B: You'll have to know the names of your Microsoft Exchange server and the user's mailbox. Click Next and then Finish to close the Setup Wizard. You should be returned to the Mail setup window. At this point, highlight the profile name you just created and click Properties. Click Properties again. Click the Advanced tab and look at the Logon Network Security: setting. Change this option to "None," as shown in Figure C. Figure C: Setting Logon Network Security to "None" is an important detail when two or more users share a PC that is rarely powered off. With this change in place, the system will prompt each user for his or her NT logon ID and password when starting Outlook. This detail is important when multiple people share a common PC that is rarely powered off. The PC may have a shared ID or the user wanting to open Outlook may not be logged on to the PC. Click OK, then OK again, and you should be returned to the Mail setup window. Click Close, and you've just finished adding a new Outlook profile. To add more profiles, simply repeat this process for each new user. Finally, you must set up Outlook to prompt for a profile when starting. Open Outlook with the default profile. To find this setting, click Start, select Settings, choose Control Panel, and select Show Profiles under Mail. Once in Outlook with the Inbox open, open the Tools menu, choose Options, and then select the Mail Services tab. You'll see the Startup Settings shown in Figure D. On my machine, I activate the Always Use This Profile option because no one else uses my PC. For your machines that will be used by two or more people, make sure Prompt For A Profile To Be Used is selected and click OK. Exit Outlook, and the next time the application is launched, the user will be prompted to choose a profile. Multiple users can now work from a single PC on your network. Figure D: Under Startup Settings, be sure to select the Prompt For A Profile To Be Used option. 0. Configured Outlook to automatically insert my basic signature when I create new messages. Creating a new signature 1. In Outlook, open the Tools menu and choose Options. 2. When the Options dialog box appears, click the Mail Format tab. 3. Click Signature Picker as shown in Figure E. 4. When the Signature Picker dialog box appears, click New. 5. When the Create New Signature dialog box appears, enter a name for the signature. For instance, as Figure F shows, I named my standard reply "SincerelyJeff." Click Next to continue. 6. The next step is to enter and format the text for your signature. Start by entering the basic text, as shown in Figure G. You can use the Edit Signature dialog box's Font button to create a fancy, multicolor, multifont e-mail signature. Click Finish to save this signature. 7. When the Signature Picker dialog box appears again, you'll see the icon for the signature you just created, as shown in Figure H. Click OK to close this dialog box. Figure E: In the Mail Format tab, click Signature Picker to get started. Figure F: You can create and store multiple signatures, so you'll need to give each signature a meaningful name. Figure G: You can enter plain text or use the Font button (or an external editor) to customize your signature with special colors or fonts. Figure H: Once you've formatted the signature, you can use this dialog box to edit it, remove it, or add a new signature. Automating the signature You can decide whether Outlook automatically inserts one of your signatures. Just select Options from Outlook's Tools menu, click the Mail Format tab, and pick one of the options in the Use This Signature By Default drop-down list. Figure I shows the options on my system after I created a second signature, SupportReply. If you select the option, you'll have to insert your signatures manually. Figure J shows what a new message looks like when Outlook inserts a signature automatically. Figure I: If you want to insert a signature automatically when you create a new message, choose it from the Signature list. Otherwise, select . (The Don't Use When Replying Or Forwarding check box lets you decide whether Outlook inserts the signature when you reply to a message or forward it.) Figure J: Here's what a new message looks like when you've configured Outlook to insert a signature by default. Manually inserting a signature If you decide you don't want to automatically insert a signature under any circumstance, you can still save keystrokes by inserting a signature on an as-needed basis. To do so, just open the Insert menu and choose the Signature option. When you do, you'll see a list of existing signatures like the one shown in Figure K. Figure K: The Insert menu's Signature option lets you add one of your predefined signatures on a case-by-case basis. Save time by converting an Outlook note to a task request Oct. 20, 1999 Jeff Davis Do you and your users keep Outlook running throughout your work day? If so, you probably use the handy Notes feature to write reminders to yourself or to document the telephone calls you receive. But suppose that, as you're typing the note to yourself, you decide you really need to convert the note to a task request. In those cases, you'll want to use this tip to save valuable time. Drop the note onto Tasks This tip is straightforward. To convert any note to a task request, just drag the note onto the Tasks icon. Outlook will copy the first line of the note into the Subject field of the task request. Here's how it works. Figure L shows a sample message I created to document a telephone call from my manager. (To create a note, press [Ctrl][Shift]N, or open the Notes folder and click the New icon, or open Outlook's File menu, select New, and then choose Note.) Figure M shows what the note looks like after I closed it. Using the Notes feature to keep a record of conversations is one thing, but I like putting my action items in task requests. Assuming you've activated Outlook's Folders view, you convert a note to a task request by dragging it onto the Tasks folder. Figure N shows the task request that Outlook automatically generated. The nice thing about creating a task request in this manner is that you don't have to retype any of the text—it flows directly from the note into the task request. All you have to do is fill in the other important details about the task request, such as date and time due, priority, and so on. Figure L: Here's a typical note I wrote to remind myself of a phone conversation. Figure M: The closed note looks like this in the Notes folder's small icon view. Figure N: When you drop a note onto the Tasks folder, Outlook converts the first line of the note to the subject for the new task request. The quick and easy way to save Outlook messages in a file Feb. 28, 2000 Jeff Davis You have 22 e-mail messages from customers and your manager wants you to assemble those messages in a single document. What do you do? Open each message individually and copy and paste the text? Nope. Fire up the Import/Export Wizard? Think again. Here's a quick and easy tip for putting those messages directly into a text file. It's Save As to the rescue I'll demonstrate this tip using Outlook 98. Here's how it works. Pick any folder and start selecting the messages you want to save in a file. If all of the messages are in a row, you can hold down the [Shift] key while you press [Down Arrow] to select the messages. If the messages aren't all in a row, hold down the [Ctrl] key while you click on the messages you want to process. When you've selected your messages, your Outlook folder will look like the one in Figure O. Figure O: The first step is to select the messages you want to save in a file. Next, open the File menu and choose the Save As option. When you do, the Save As dialog box will open and prompt you to enter a filename. There's only one option for the file type (.txt). Click Save, and Outlook saves the messages you'd selected in a text file. Use Word (or any other text editor) to open that file, and you'll see results like those shown in Figure P. Figure P: Here's what the messages look like when you open the text file. Solving the mystery of disappearing messages in Outlook 98/2000 under Exchange Server Jan. 27, 2000 Bill Detwiler, MCP If you've experienced disappearing e-mail in Outlook 98/2000, you are not alone. Recently, several users in my organization noticed they were losing e-mail messages from their Outlook Inboxes. At first, I thought this problem was an Exchange Server issue, but after careful scrutiny, the Exchange administrators could find nothing unusual. I was tempted to conclude that this problem was just another mysterious Outlook 98/2000 "feature." Once I took a closer look at what these worried users had in common, however, another explanation emerged. It's all in the profile The users who were losing messages had one thing in common: Each had just created a new Outlook profile on a secondary PC. These profiles would be used to remotely access their Outlook accounts and had been configured while these secondary computers were not connected to the LAN. This scenario caused Outlook to configure the Delivery Location for new messages to the default Private Folders option, as shown in Figure Q. (To get to this dialog box with Outlook 98 running, open the Tools menu and choose Services.) Figure Q: If the delivery option is set to Private Folders, some remote users may wind up missing some of their messages. To properly receive mail, the Delivery Location should have been configured for the user's Exchange mailbox. When a user opens an Exchange mailbox with the Private Folders delivery location enabled, all Inbox mail located on the server is transferred to the PC's hard drive. That configuration causes the mail to disappear from the user's Inbox when the user logs on from his or her primary PC—even though that system is configured correctly. Change the profile before launching Outlook The remedy for this problem was pretty straightforward. The users accessed the network from their secondary PCs and then—before starting Outlook—changed the Delivery Location to use their Exchange mailbox. But how do you change your mail settings without launching Outlook? There are two ways:
Right-click on the Outlook desktop icon (not a shortcut to Outlook, but the program's icon itself). Choose Properties from the context menu.
Open the Control Panel and select Mail. Each option displays the Mailbox Properties dialog box, like the one shown in Figure R. After my users specified their personal folders as the delivery location, they were then able to open their Outlook Inboxes both locally and remotely with no problems. Figure R: Users must change the delivery location for new mail before they launch Outlook. Three ways to count specific messages in an Outlook Inbox Oct. 13, 1999 Jeff Davis Do your users submit requests by e-mail for nonemergency tech support needs? If so, you probably maintain a single Inbox for all those requests. Keeping all those messages is a great way to document the activities of the tech support staff. That Inbox contains information such as which users are making the most requests and which problems are reported the most often—but how do you get that information out? Here at Technology, I'm responsible for replying to messages sent to support@Technology.com. The majority of those messages come from people submitting their solutions to our weekly Pop Quiz. Recently, my manager asked me which quiz topic has generated the most messages. I came up with a few ways to generate those numbers. However, if you know of a better way, please e-mail me and tell me all about it. Consistent subjects make it easy to count messages It's easy to count the messages in an Inbox from a particular sender because you can sort the messages by the From column. However, sorting and counting messages by subject is a little trickier because it requires consistent entries in the Subject field. When our customers click the Submit Your Solution link in our Pop Quiz articles, we embed in the e-mail message a subject that identifies that particular quiz, which makes it easy to find and count those messages later. (To embed a subject in a mailto link, use the format: mailto:recipient@address.com?subject=Embedded%20subject. Most e-mail programs will recognize the ?subject= code and create a new message with "Embedded subject" in the subject field. The code %20 returns a space.) One way to make your tech support e-mail requests easier to manage is to instruct your clients to enter subjects from a specific list, such as Software, Monitor, CPU, Keyboard, Mouse, E-mail, or Other. Then, you can count the number of times your users requested help with a particular component. The sort-and-count approach The first approach I tried was to sort the messages in the Support Inbox by the Subject field and count them manually on-screen. For instance, I wanted to know how many messages contained the subject "Disk drive quiz," so I sorted the messages on the Subject field as shown in Figure S. Then, I started counting and pressing [Down] until I got to the last message whose subject was "Disk drive quiz." That's an admittedly very low-tech way to do it. But it gave me the number I needed and it didn't take forever. Figure S: One way to determine specific records is to sort them and count them manually. The sort-and-copy-to-a-new-folder approach If you don't like the idea of manually counting records, you can always copy certain records into a new "dummy" or work folder. When you select that folder, the number of items it contains will appear in Outlook's status bar. It's easy to create a new dummy folder. Just right-click on any folder and choose New. Then, name the new folder "Dummy" or "Work." Next, sort the records in the source folder by the From or Subject field. Click once on the first message you want to copy, scroll down to the last message you want to copy, and hold down the [Shift] key while you click on that message. Outlook will select all the messages in between. Press [Ctrl]C to copy those messages, then open the dummy folder and press [Ctrl]V to paste those messages into that folder. At that point, the number of items in that folder will appear in the Outlook status bar. This low-tech approach only lets you count one batch of messages at a time. However, sometimes you'll want to store a batch of messages in a separate public folder to allow others in your organization to find them.
The export-to-an-Excel-sheet approach Here's the approach I like best. I use Outlook's Export feature to create an Excel file that contains the fields from the messages in the Inbox. Then, I use spreadsheet tools to analyze the data. Here's how it works:
In Outlook, open the File menu and select Import And Export to launch the Import And Export Wizard.
Select Export To A File and click Next.
Choose Microsoft Excel (or whatever data format you want to use) and click Next.
Navigate to the Outlook folder that contains the messages you want to export.
Accept and note the default name for the output file or specify a new name, then click Next.
When the final screen appears, click Finish to complete the export process. At this point, open the spreadsheet and delete any columns that you don't care about. In this case, I deleted all the columns except Subject. To generate subtotals by subject, start by sorting the Subject column alphabetically. Next, copy the value 1 into each cell in the adjacent column, as shown in Figure T. Figure T: Once you've exported your messages into a format such as Microsoft Excel, you're free to delete any columns you don't need and add new ones. With this setup, I opened the Data menu, selected Subtotals, and subtotaled the Counts column—the column that contains the 1s—based on the entries in the Subject column. As Figure U shows, you can tell at a glance how many messages we've received for a given quiz topic. Figure U: The Data menu's Subtotals feature makes it easy to subtotal messages by subject.
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