Keyboard Shortcuts

How many Outlook keyboard shortcuts do you know? Outlook might not have a customizable keyboard layout as Microsoft Word does, but it certainly has a few shortcuts worth memorizing. In addition to the standard shortcuts such as Ctrl+P to print, Ctrl+S to save, and Ctrl+Z to undo, Outlook has many shortcuts for creating new Outlook items and launching frequently used features.

Some familiar shortcuts take on new meaning in Outlook. For example, Ctrl+N (new) is context sensitive. If you press Ctrl+N while in the Inbox, a new message appears. If you press Ctrl+N while in Contacts, a new contact appears.

I'm sure you know that Ctrl+V pastes text from the Windows clipboard into the currently open Outlook item. But have you ever tried Ctrl+V in an Outlook folder view? Copy some text from a Word document or other source, then switch to your Inbox in Outlook and press Ctrl+V. (You might need to click a message first to move the focus out of the preview pane and into the items list.) A new message containing your copied text appears. This trick works in any Outlook folder, creating the appropriate type of item with the clipboard text pasted in it. This shortcut can save you a lot of time.

Each Outlook item type also has an Outlook-specific keyboard shortcut, so you can easily create a new message, for example, whether you're viewing your Inbox or the Calendar folder. These shortcuts are more or less mnemonic. Press Ctrl+Shift+M for a new message, Ctrl+Shift+A for an appointment, Ctrl+Shift+C for a contact, Ctrl+Shift+L for a distribution list, Ctrl+Shift+J for a journal entry, Ctrl+Shift+N for a sticky note, and Ctrl+Shift+K for a task.

You can press Ctrl+Shift+Q to create a meeting request, Ctrl+Shift+U for a task request, or Ctrl+Shift+H for an Office document. To create a new folder, press Ctrl+Shift+E. To close any open Outlook item, just press Esc.

Common features get their own shortcuts, too. Press Ctrl+Shift+B to display the address book, Ctrl+Shift+F to use Advanced Find, Ctrl+Shift+G to display the Flag for Follow Up dialog box, Ctrl+Shift+V to move an item to another folder, or Ctrl+Shift+X to go to a contact's Web page.

The essential shortcuts for working with messages are Ctrl+R to reply, Ctrl+Shift+R to reply to all, Ctrl+F to forward, and Ctrl+Q or Ctrl+Enter to mark a message as read. Yes, I know that Ctrl+F launches Find in other Office programs, but Microsoft email programs going back to Microsoft Mail have always used Ctrl+F for Forward. The shortcut for Find is Ctrl+E.

When viewing a calendar or other folder displayed with the Day/Week/Month view, press Ctrl+G to display the Go to Date dialog box. But if you have an appointment or task open, Ctrl+G displays the Recurrence dialog box.

To run a macro you've written in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), press Alt+F8. If you need to write the macro first, press Alt+F11 to enter the VBA programming environment.

To send and receive messages, press F9. If you're viewing an IMAP folder but aren't currently connected to that account, press Shift+F9 to download items for that folder.

To get to your Inbox quickly, press Ctrl+Shift+I. To check your Outbox, press Ctrl+Shift+O. Alas, the other default Outlook folders don't have shortcuts of this type. However, you can create toolbar buttons for those folders and assign each toolbar button a unique accelerator key. I'll give you the details, plus some other tips for customizing the toolbar, in next week's UPDATE.

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