Microsoft Outlook Features You Didn’t Know Exist

Microsoft Outlook is the most popular personal information and email management system. The platform serves upwards of 400 million users. However, only a fraction of this user base optimizes the software’s features.

The numerous tabs and buttons on the Outlook interface sometimes turn users off. But despite the seemingly complex and confusing design, the tool is quite brilliant. 

This comprehensive guide overviews Microsoft Outlook and illuminates the platform’s lesser-known features and capabilities.

A Quick Overview of Microsoft Outlook’s Features

Microsoft Outlook is a popular email and data management software. Its main role is to manage email communication, but it has numerous additional capabilities to help you organize tasks, time, and contacts. 

The program launched in 1996 and was originally called Hotmail. However, it has undergone multiple rebrands to become one of the most popular email providers. In addition to basic email, the product’s additional capabilities include color coding and flagging. Users also have access to about 99 GB of storage. 

Outlook is available as a standalone Windows and macOS desktop application. You can also access it within the Microsoft Office suite. However, most users are accustomed to its web-based versions ( and mobile apps.

The Least Commonly Used Features of Microsoft Outlook

Besides the above capabilities, Microsoft Outlook offers a range of unique features you (probably) never knew existed. Top examples include:

Doubled Time Zones

One of the biggest setbacks to remote partnerships is the confusion of collaborating across different time zones. But Outlook can help you avoid the setback with its option of setting multiple time zones. 

So, if you’re in Oregon and your “do my paper” expert is based in California, you’ll have two clocks from the different time zones displayed on the timeline. This will keep your emails on one page, and you’ll always keep time in meetings. 

The configuration is simple. Just open the software’s Calendar menu and then click File. Afterward, you’ll hit the Options bar and open Calendar. A Time Zones section will appear, with a check box to toggle the feature’s activation or deactivation and a box to set the second or subsequent time zone you want to display. 

Sharing Calendars

Collaborating effectively with team members requires seamless coordination of duties, schedules, and appointments. For instance, planning a meeting that aligns with your colleagues’ availability becomes challenging when you need more visibility into their rosters. Fortunately, sharing your Calendar serves as the initial stride towards a more coordinated team. 

Simply initiate this process by right-clicking on My Calendars and selecting Share Calendar.  

Create and Manage Rules

Many people find adhering to Outlook’s guidelines difficult, but these regulations can be highly beneficial. Their most outstanding feature is automating specific actions based on unfolding triggers. 

For instance, you can create a rule to automatically move messages with particular keywords in their subject lines or from specific addresses to a designated folder while simultaneously marking them as read. The rule will execute all of these tasks automatically as messages drip in.

Automatic Colors

Outlook does a great job with interface personalization, though only a few users know about the capability. The software lets users set pre-established rules that colorize appointments and messages automatically. 

For instance, some users assign a specific color to emails from their seniors at work, while those from family have their own hues. This personalization option helps sort the messages for faster identification. 

It might seem complicated, but creating this rule is easy—just open View, View Settings, and then Conditional Formatting. Once done, you’ll include simple directives to declutter your mailbox and keep matching items in one section. 

Categorize Emails Using Labels

In addition to colors, you can also categorize your emails using labels. This lesser-known feature enables hassle-free searches by providing a glimpse into senders’ email addresses. Users then decide the respective messages’ priority level.

This feature has a science to it, and you can maximize its use by keeping it simple. There’s no need to come up with numerous labels. Instead, focus on the three most relevant of them all.

Creating a category label is simple. You’ll select the caret next to Categorize and then select New. A new window will pop up, prompting you to name the section, choose your preferred color, and save the changes. You’re in a position to automate this entire process if you already know how to write directives.

Manually Mark as Read

Microsoft Outlook automatically designates email messages as “read” immediately after you open one. You don’t even have to read it. This mechanic sometimes leads to important messages being overlooked before you’ve had the opportunity to review them.

Fortunately, the platform has an equally effective method of countering this. You can deactivate this function by clicking Options>Mail>Reading Pane.

When you open the message next time, it won’t be marked as read. You’ll have to do this manually by clicking Ctrl+Q. This way, you cannot miss important emails, like the highly anticipated update you’re expecting from the expert you pay for essay assistance. 

Adjust Message Preview Lines 

Outlook provides a glimpse of each email within your message list. You can view details like the email’s sender and subject line in the first line, followed by a snippet from the email message body. But this design isn’t fixed; you can adjust it to your liking. Typically, you can change it to your preferred lines.

The changes are accessible on the View tab. Once here, you’ll hit Message Preview, where you’ll choose the number of lines and then specify whether this setting should apply to the specific folder or the entire mailbox. Some users prefer not to display any message content. If you feel the same, you’ll select Off.

Your selected lines don’t include the subject line and the sender’s email address.

Get the Most From Your Outlook Account

Microsoft Outlook offers numerous features that aid email and personal information management. But you can only maximize your usage if you know its major capabilities. Hopefully, the above insights have expanded your comprehension of this vital tool.

Microsoft Outlook Features You Didn’t Know Exist was last updated October 30th, 2023 by Brad Peterson