E-Mails And Diary Planning
Having run workshops and courses for women returners and administrative staff over the past 8 years Jackie Sherman is very much in touch with the concerns women have about working with computers. She is well aware of the fears female learners and work returners have of being out of date. If you are one of these, there is no other book that specifically covers the issues that concern you.
Many organisations have adopted Outlook as their e-mail and diary management system, but you may come across alternatives such as First Class or Eudora that work in a similar way. Although there are many sophisticated tasks that can be performed, here are the major functions you will need to master:
- 4Maintaining the Calendar of appointments and meetings
- 4Setting up to-do lists using Tasks
- Writing yourself Notes – an electronic version of post-its
- Keeping an address list of Contacts including group mailing lists
- Sending and receiving e-mails
- Working with attachments
- Managing your messages
When you open Outlook, you have a choice of screen display: the Outlook Bar offers large icons and the Folder List has a simpler display. Retain at least one of these panes – available from the View menu – to allow you to move around easily as you just click any folder to reveal its contents in the main window.
Whichever folder is selected, the New button will create a relevant object e.g. with the Inbox selected you open a new e-mail message window but with the Calendar selected you can create a new appointment.
To amend the general settings within Outlook e.g. deciding the times when the Calendar day starts or finishes, what colour your notes will be, or how e-mails should be formatted, open the Tools menu, click Options and change the relevant settings from the Preferences tab.
If you have a full diary and will be juggling appointments, tasks and e-mails, it can be a good idea to start Outlook with the Outlook Today folder open. This offers a summary of the week. However, if you mainly work with messages, start up with the Inbox open to display your e-mails. Change which folder opens when you start up Outlook by selecting the Other tab and then clicking the Advanced Options button.
You will find that the objects within Outlook are interchangeable, so that if you want to remind yourself of a task, for example, you can drag it to the Inbox to create a new e-mail message or turn e-mails into tasks by dragging them in the opposite direction. You can also drag messages to the notes folder to create a ‘post-it’ reminder. People can be invited to meetings by e-mail at the same time as you are setting up the meeting details, and information in an e-mail can be turned into an appointment if the message is dragged to the Calendar folder.
Each type of object will have many unique features in the creating window, but you can usually change any display via the View menu and carry out a range of activities via the Actions menu.
Display one day, week or month at a time by selecting your preferred view from the toolbar. (Right-click the toolbar if any button is not visible, click Customize and drag up the button with your mouse.)
The Calendar objects you can create are Appointments (where actual times can be set); Meetings (to which you can invite attendees); and Events (all day appointments with no time slots). They are all based on the same template and can be created by double-clicking the appropriate day in the main window, or clicking the New button.
In the window that opens, change from Event to Appointment by clicking off the tick in the All day event box. Time slots will appear and you can set the date, time and subject of your appointment by completing the boxes, as well as add any extra information you want to note. The ‘busy’ box will be selected by default so that others with access to your diary know when you are unavailable.
To hear an alarm or see an on-screen reminder near the time of the appointment – if you will be sitting at your computer – click in the Reminder box. A bell symbol will show next to the appointment details when you return to the Calendar. Save the appointment by clicking the Save and Close button.
To amend the appointment, double-click it in the Calendar to re-open the window.
Sometimes you will want to create details of regular appointments. Do this by clicking the Recurrence button and selecting the appropriate options. An end-date after 10 appointments will be set automatically but you can change this if you want them in the Calendar for a longer period. The symbol will be visible next to the appointment details.
If one of a regular series of appointments needs to be changed, double-click it in the Calendar window and open and amend the single occurrence.
When planning a meeting, click the Invite Attendees button to open an extra To: window. Here you can enter the e-mail addresses of everyone being invited and can send them invitations automatically by clicking the Send button.
For anyone with access to colleagues’ diaries, and only if they always keep these updated, you can also click the Scheduling tab to check if everyone is free for the proposed meeting. Drag the boundaries of the meeting to change start or end times if some people are busy.
To produce a hard copy of your Calendar, select the style of printout from File – Page Setup and then amend the items to print or formats showing in the dialog box. Click the Header/Footer tab to add an entry at the top or bottom of the page and always check in Print Preview before printing.
Whenever you have tasks to perform and want to keep track of them, you can use the Tasks part of Outlook. In the 7-day view of the Calendar there is a small Task pad, or you can open the Tasks folder for a larger grid. Create a new task by typing directly into the grid.
To add further details, click the New button or double-click the grid entry. You will open a window similar to the Appointments window but will have different options e.g. you can set a completion date, priority and status for the task and even assign the task to someone else via the Actions menu.
As tasks are completed, they will be shown dim with a line through them in the Task pad whereas overdue tasks are coloured red.
In some systems, you may not be able to see your tasks because they have been filtered out. Turn off the filter by going to View – Current View – Customise Current View, click the Filter button and then click Clear All.
It is now time to remove all those yellow sticky notes from round your computer! Instead, open the Notes folder and type yourself a note in the label that appears. To keep a reminder more accessible, you can even drag the label out of Outlook and onto your desktop.
The Contacts folder is your personal, electronic address book, although your company may also provide access to other address books. As well as keeping e-mail addresses in Contacts, your can also store postal addresses and telephone numbers, and you can recall an e-mail address automatically when creating a new message.
Add an address
To add an e-mail address from someone who has written to you, right-click their name in the From: box and click Add to Contacts. This will open a new Contacts window where you can complete the boxes. Open this box at other times by selecting the Contacts folder and clicking the New button.
You can complete as many boxes as you like, but always include the Full Name to appear in your list of addresses as well as the e-mail address. To re-open the window for editing, simply double-click the name in the main Contacts window.
Group (distribution) mailing lists
If you often send the same message to a number of people, you can group their e-mail addresses together and give the collection a name. Use this name whenever you want to add their details to the To: box in one go.
- 1.Click the Contacts folder and then click the down-facing arrow next to the New button and select Distribution List.
- 2.In the window, give the group a name and then add e-mail addresses from any address books you are able to access by clicking the Select Members button and then selecting the names and clicking Members.
- 3.For addresses not in your Contacts folder or any global address book, click Add New and complete the boxes. Click the Add to Contacts checkbox if you also want their details kept separately in your Address Book.
- 4.When all entries have been added to the group, the name will be displayed in Contacts and you can add it to an e-mail in the same way as a normal address.