Sunday, February 24, 2008

Time Saving Outlook Shortcuts

In last week's tech tip we covered how to layout the Windows taskbar to make better use of the quick launch bar. (Click here to read last week's post.) This week we will begin discussing some cool things we can do with the new found space we created for the quick launch bar.

Quick note: For those of you who are submitting questions for me to address in future tech tips, I am receiving the questions and will try to address some next week.

In this week's tech tip we are going to cover Outlook shortcuts. Now I know many of you are thinking, "I already have an Outlook shortcut." You may well indeed but these are no ordinary shortcuts I am referring to. The Outlook shortcuts I am referring to will reduce dreaded mouse clicks! Let's get started.

If you read last week's tech tip, you probably noticed some of the shortcuts that I have on my quick launch bar and wondered what they were for. OK, maybe not, but none-the-less I am going to show you what three of my quick launch icons do. Three of the shortcuts on my quick launch bar link directly to functionality within Outlook. In other words, instead of launching Outlook the program, they launch components within Outlook like a new email, task or calendar entry for instance.
Click here for an example image.

The easiest way to create these shortcuts is to find a preexisting shortcut to MS Outlook on your desktop, then right click on it and select copy.
Click here for an example image.

Then right click on the desktop and select paste from the context menu.
Click here for an example image.

This should create a duplicate Outlook shortcut that we can modify without affecting the original.
Click here for an example image.

Now, right click on the duplicate shortcut and select properties.
Click here for an example image.

Now comes the fun part. (Try to contain yourselves.) We can add what is called a "switch" to the end of the command line and get some pretty cool functionality. The valid switches are:
/c ipm.activity to create a journal entry
/c ipm.appointment to create an appointment
/c ipm.contact to create a contact
/c ipm.note to create an e-mail message
/c ipm.stickynote to create a note
/c ipm.task to create a task
NOTE: There IS a space between the /c and the ipm.
Click here for an example image. and another Click here for an example image.

Using this method you can create several shortcuts to launch each of the Outlook components directly without having to first launch Outlook.

Now we need to change the icon for the shortcut so we can visually see which shortcut to click in order to launch the respective Outlook components. To do this, click on the change icon button on the shortcut properties window and select an appropriate icon.
Click here for an example image.

Next, right click on the icons and click Rename. Rename the shortcuts to represent what each will do. When you are finished you should have something that looks like this, depending on which shortcuts you created.
Click here for an example image.

Double click on each of the shortcuts to make sure they launch the intended Outlook component.
Click here for an example image.

Lastly, you can click, drag and drop these new Outlook shortcuts to your newly expanded quick launch bar. With these new icons on your quick launch bar you will be teching like a pro and saving up to 4 clicks each time you want to create a new email, task, appointment, etc.
Click here for an example image.

Happy Teching,

Ryan Williams

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2 comments:

James Newton said...

Great. Thanks!
Any idea on how to create a link on the desktop to a note that is already in the notes module of MS Outlook?

Ryan Williams said...

Sorry. I don't know of any way to do this. I'm look though. If I find a way, I'll post it.