Outlook 2011

By Chris Dillon. Version 2, 5 March, 2011. Latest version at: www.quickanddirty.org.uk

  • Outlook is a personal information manager (PIM). The Information refers to e-mail, tasks, appointments, notes, calendars etc.
  • This guide presumes that you are using Outlook 2011 on the Live@UCL service. However, most of it is the same for Outlook 2010 running in other environments.
  • This guide emphasises keyboard shortcuts. Many involve the Command key, marked with an apple on Mac keyboards and the Windows logo on PC keyboards. There are also buttons for most functions.

Start Outlook by double-clicking the Outlook 2011 icon in your Dock or Applications folder.

Note: If your mouse does not have a right-click button, replace right-Click in the below with Ctrl+click (i.e. hold the Ctrl key down and click).

1. Interface

Outlook 2011 has a radically different interface from previous Microsoft software for the Mac, such as Office 2004 and 2008. For example, in addition to menus, you will also find the ribbon, which is divided into the Home, Organize and Tools tabs. In fact, Outlook did not exist in Office 2004 and 2008; the nearest programs were Entourage 2004 and 2008.

2. Reading e-mail

The Navigation Pane is the column on the left with folders and buttons such as Mail, Calendar and Contacts. Make sure it is visible, as this is the easiest way to move around in Outlook. If it isn’t, click on the View menu and click Navigation Pane.

  • To read a message, click on it and it will display in the preview pane (called Reading Pane in Outlook).
  • To open a message, double-click on it.
  • To move to the next message, press Ctrl+].
  • If you want to mark an unread message as read, press Command+T.
  • To mark a read message as unread, press Command+Shift+T.

View settings

  • Switch the Reading Pane on and off by going to the View menu and clicking Reading Pane and then Right, Below or Hidden.

3. Sending an e-mail

  • To send an e-mail, click on Mail in the Outlook left column, if it isn’t already highlighted and press Command+N. An empty message appears.
  • Fill in the To and Subject fields, type your message and send it by pressing Command+Enter.

4. Replying to an e-mail

  • To reply to an e-mail, select it and press Command+R. This may be done either with the message open or displayed in message list view.
  • To reply to all the original recipients of the message, press Command+Shift+R.

5. Forwarding an e-mail

To forward an e-mail you have received to someone else, press Command+J. This may be done either with the message displayed or in message list view.

6. Deleting an e-mail

Press Backspace (or the Delete key if you have one on your keyboard) in message list view.

If the message is displayed, press Command+Backspace.

7. Creating folders

  • Ctrl+click or right-click the element (Ucl by default) immediately above the Inbox in the Navigation Pane and select New Folder. Make sure you are creating the folder in the correct part of the hierarchy of folders.
  • Type over the suggested name (Untitled Folder), give the folder a name and press Enter.

Note: On the Live@UCL service folders may contain both messages and other folders.

8. Moving messages

  • To move a message to another folder, Ctrl+click or right-click the message and select Move and then the folder if it is listed or select Choose Folder and type a few character of the folder name to locate it. The shortcut key is Command+Shift+M.

9. Selecting more than one message

It is possible to select several messages before giving the e.g. move or delete commands:

  • Hold down the Command key before you click messages to select them.
  • You may also hold down Shift before clicking the first and last messages in a range of messages you want to select.
  • To select all the messages in a folder, press Command+A.

10. Sending an e-mail

  • To compose a new e-mail, whilst in any e-mail folder, press Command+N.
  • Enter e-mail addresses in the To and, if necessary, Cc fields (the latter is for recipients to which copies of the e-mail are being sent). To display the Bcc field (for addresses which you do not want to be displayed in the e-mail), click on the Options tab in the message and select Bcc to display the row.
  • If you are adding more than one address, put a semicolon and a space between them.
  • Press Command+Enter to send the message.

11. Attachments

  • To add an attachment to an e-mail you are composing, click on the Attach button or press Command+E. Navigate to the file, click it and click Choose.

Note: You may also drag files from your Desktop and other folders into the message.

  • To open an attachment, double-click its icon in the header of the message.
  • If you want to keep an e-mail but not its attachment, right-click the attachment and select Remove. There is no way of restoring it!

Note: You may also attach other Outlook items e.g. contacts and tasks by dragging them onto the message.

12. Contacts (an address book)

Contacts, near the bottom of the panel on the left, is the name of one of the Outlook address books. You should keep all of your e-mail addresses in here to avoid the typos which inevitably occur when one types e-mail addresses in the To, Cc and Bcc fields.

  • To create a new contact, whilst in Contacts press Command+N.
  • Fill in the name and E-mail fields and click Save & Close top left.
  • Call up your contacts when writing an e-mail by clicking the book to the right of the To etc. buttons and typing part of the name concerned and then the To, Cc or Bcc button.

Importing an address book from another e-mail program (e.g. Entourage)

  • Make sure that your Outlook 2011 Contacts contain at least one contact.
  • Export your contact(s) by clicking on Contacts in the right pane, (selecting them first if you have more than one set of contacts) and going to the File menu and clicking Export.
  • Select Contacts to a list (tab-delimited text). This creates a .txt file.
  • Open the .txt file in Excel. Make sure the Delimited option is selected.
  • Set Start import at row to 2 and click next.
  • Select Tab and then click Next and then Finish.
  • Open your old e-mail program’s address book and select the export command. Select the comma separated values option. (If there isn’t one, it probably won’t be easy to import this program’s address book.) That creates a second Excel file.
  • Copy the relevant columns of data from the second Excel file to the first one.
  • Import the first Excel file into Outlook 2011 by going to the File tab in Outlook and clicking Import.
  • Select Contacts or messages from a text file and click the right arrow.
  • Select Import contacts from a tab- or comma-delimited text file and click the right arrow.
  • Select the .txt file and click Import.

13. Contact groups (mailing or distribution lists)

  • To create a contact group, click on Contacts in the left-hand panel and click Contact Group on the Home tab of the ribbon.
  • Give the group a name and click Add. Locate your contact by typing the first few letters of the first name.
  • Click Save & Close when you are done.

The group behaves like a contact when sending to it on the To line etc.

14. Flags

You can flag items e.g. e-mails for follow up.

  • Click the flag to the right of the message in message list view.
  • To set the date by which it needs to be done, click the little arrow to the right of the Follow Up button on the Home tab. Flags get darker red as the due date approaches.
  • To mark the task as complete, click the flag.

Items flagged in this way are displayed as tasks (click the Tasks button bottom left to see them).

15. Categories

Categories allow you to assign colours to e-mails. For example, you could mark urgent messages as red or information about meetings as orange.

  • To assign an e-mail to a category, click the e-mail and click Categorize (the button has four coloured squares) in the Tags group on the Home tab. You can create new categories by selecting Add New and modify existing ones by selecting Edit Categories.
  • You may assign more than one category to an e-mail.

16. Finding an e-mail

  • Click in the Search this folder box top right in message list view.
  • If that does not find what you are looking for, click Subfolders. There are other useful search criteria on the ribbon.

If you want to bring all e-mail matching certain criteria together, go to the Search tab and select Advanced. Set up the search and click Save. Outlook displays a folder in the left column at the bottom of your e-mail folders containing e-mail matching the critieria.

17. Allowing other people to do things to your e-mail (“delegate access”)

Allowing someone else to read your e-mail

  • Right-click the element above Inbox (Ucl by default) in the Outlook left column.
  • Select Sharing Permissions.
  • Click the Add User button and search for the person who you want to be able to see your e-mail.
  • Select the person and click OK.
  • Select the person and in the Permission level box, select Reviewer.
  • Click OK.
  • Then for each folder to which you want to give access, right-click on it, select Sharing Permissions, and give Editor access.
  • Click on the Outlook menu. Select Preferences and then Accounts.
  • Select your e-mail settings and click the Advanced button.
  • Select the Delegates tab. Click the + button under Delegates who can act on my behalf, search for the person to whom you wish to give access in the box, select the person, give Reviewer access to your Inbox and click OK.
  • Ask the other person to click on their Outlook menu. Ask them to select Preferences and then Accounts. Then to select their e-mail settings and click the Advanced button.
  • Then to select the Delegates tab and to click the + button under People I am a delegate for, search for you and click OK.

Allowing someone else to send on behalf of you

  • This is the same procedure as Allowing someone else to read your e-mail above, but select Editor instead of Reviewer in the Inbox drop-down box.
  • The person may now send e-mails on your behalf by clicking the drop-down arrow to the right of the From field label in a new e-mail and selecting the relevant e-mail address.

Changing which columns are displayed at the top of folders

  • By default you will see columns such as From and Subject above the messages in your folders. If you want to add some useful additional columns, go to View | Columns and select them there. They are sometimes greyed out for no apparently good reason!

Arrange by

Arrange By on the View menu allows you to group message by date etc.


The Conversations button on the Organize tab groups messages by thread (but note that Outlook does not always put the right messages in the thread!).

Setting your signature

A signature is a short piece of text e.g. an address which is to appear at the bottom of each

e-mail you send.

  • Click on the Outlook menu, then Preferences and click Signatures.
  • Click + and name and add a signature. Remember to add == or some line at the top; otherwise it’s not clear where the message ends and the signature starts.
  • Click on Default Signatures, select your e-mail account and pick the signature in the drop-down box on the right. Click OK.

E-mail in plain text

By default Outlook sends e-mails in HTML, which allows you to format messages.

Plain text e-mails do not allow formatting, but are smaller and easier to archive.

  • If you want to send e-mail in plain text, go to Preferences on the Apple menu and select Composing.
  • Select the HTML tab and switch off Compose messages in HTML by default.

Setting up a spam filter

80% of spam coming into UCL is labelled {spam?} in the Subj. line. If you don’t receive much spam, you may find it automatically ends up in Outlook’s Junk E-Mail folder and you don’t need to set up a spam filter.

Go through the following steps to set up a rule which automatically moves such messages into a folder called _Spam which can then be checked occasionally for the odd message which has been labelled {spam?} by accident:

  • Create a folder called _Spam (the underscore at the beginning means it will not file with the rest of your folders).
  • Click on the Organize tab and click on Rules.
  • Click on Edit Rules and select your account.
  • Click +.
  • Name the rule Spam filter in the Rule Name box.
  • In the drop-down box under Add Action, select Move message.
  • Select the _Spam folder in the drop-down box on the right.

Note: A similar procedure can also be used, for example, for automatically directing e-mails from mailing lists to folders, as messages from mailing lists almost always have a keyword in the Subj. line which can be used to create a similar rule.

Help with finding addresses

It is worth setting up Outlook so that it searches the UCL directory.

  • Go to the Apple menu, select Preferences and then Accounts.
  • Click + bottom left.
  • Select Directory Service and type ldap-server.ucl.ac.uk in the LDAP server box and LDAP in the Account description box.


18. Viewing your own UCL calendar

Click Calendar in the pane on the right to see your UCL calendar.

You may need to check that there is a tick in the Calendar box at the top.

19. Day, week or month views

Click the relevant button on the ribbon in the Home tab.

Month view tends to be the most useful one to print.

20. Viewing someone else’s calendar

  • Click Open Calendar to the right of the ribbon on the Home tab.
  • Search for the person and click Select.
  • Put a tick in the relevant box under Shared Columns on the right.

It is possible to display more than one calendar at the same time.

21. Accepting an invitation

If someone puts a meeting in your calendar, right-click it and click Accept or Decline. You can choose to send the default response to the invitation, send an edited version of the response or accept the invitation without sending a response. If the meeting is part of a series, there are options for the individual occurrence of the meeting and for the series of meetings as a whole (quicker than making individual responses).

22. Creating a new appointment

  • In your calendar, double-click the first half hour of the appointment and give it a subject.
  • You may also add details including the location (central resources may be selected by clicking the drop-down on the right of the Location field) and notes. You can also adjust the start and end times here.
  • To add people or a group of people to your appointment, which then becomes a “meeting”, click Invite and type the first few letters of the first name. This searches Contacts and Recent Addresses, and, at the bottom, the UCL Directory.
  • Some groups are created centrally. You may also create your own groups by clicking New and then Contact Group on the Home tab in Contacts.
  • To attach a file for use at the meeting, go to the Meetings menu and select Attachments and then Add or press Command+E.
  • If you want to make the appointment private, click the padlock button on the right of the ribbon.
  • Once you’ve added all the details, click Send.

Note: If you move a meeting, Outlook will automatically send e-mails to the attendees.


By default a pop-up reminder window appears 15 minutes before a meeting starts, but this may be changed by adjusting the minutes to the right of the clock icon on the ribbon.

Repeating appointments

Click the Recurrence button as you are adding details to your appointment and set when the appointment should repeat.

23. Events

When you are in Day view or one of the Week views, there is an area above each day (marked all day in a column on the left) that can be used to indicate Events. Events are also frequently used for notes about the day(s) in question or for allocating duties on a rota.

  • Double-click in this area above the day.
  • Fill in the Subject and Location fields as you would with an appointment.
  • Remove the tick from the All day event box, unless you want to block out the whole day for the event.
  • If you want colleagues to put the event in their calendars, click on the Invite button and select them, as when setting up a meeting.
  • If the event e.g. annual leave occurs over several days, click the Recurrence button and click Custom. Select Daily in the Repeats box and set the End date.
  • Click Save & Close.

24. Who’s free?

You can see who is free whilst setting up a meeting by clicking on the Scheduling button and adding people by clicking Add New in the right column.

25. Letting someone else add to and edit your Calendar (“delegate access”)

You may want to do this, if, for example, you are a departmental head and you want to let your PA edit your calendar.

  • Click on the Outlook menu. Select Preferences and then Accounts.
  • Select your e-mail settings and click the Advanced button.
  • Select the Delegates tab. Click the + button, search for the person to whom you wish to give access to your calendar in the box and select the person.
  • Select the rights for your calendar. These include Editor (can read, create, and modify items), Reviewer (can read items) and None (which gives only whether you are free or busy at that time).
  • Ask the other person to click on their Outlook menu. Ask them to select Preferences and then Accounts. Then to select their e-mail settings and click the Advanced button.
  • Then to select the Delegates tab and to click the + button under People I am a delegate for, search for you and click OK.

26. Known issues with Outlook 2011

Unlike Outlook 2010 for PC, Outlook 2011 has no recall-message or direct-replies-to functions.

27. Keyboard shortcuts

Command+Backspace delete an e-mail

Command+F forward an e-mail

Command+N new e-mail, contact etc. depending where you are in Outlook

Command+R reply to an e-mail

Command+Shift+R reply to all

Command+T mark an e-mail as read

Command+Shift+T mark an e-mail as unread

Command+Enter send an e-mail

Command+E add an attachment

Command+1 display inbox

Command+2 display calendar

Command+3 display contacts

Command+Shift+M move to folder

Command+W close a window e.g. message

Command+Q quit Outlook

28. Web access

You may access Outlook over the Web by going to www.outlook.com in your browser and logging in with your main UCL user id and password. For best results, use a recent version of Firefox.

29. Further information about Outlook 2011

Note the Outlook Help and Get Started with Outlook options on the Help menu.