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Outlook isn't the most intuitive program to use, even for people who've used it before. This book aims to change that or at least help you understand how Outlook works. It'll show you where to find things so that you don't feel lost and wish you had your old email client back.

If you're new to Outlook, you'll learn about all the features it offers, not only for email, but also for personal information management, which includes the Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks folders.

Outlook also has many hidden features that are hard to discover on your own. By the time you reach the end of the book, you'll be more organized then ever and be on the road to Outlook expert.

If you're upgrading from an older version of Outlook, you'll learn about the new features in Outlook 2003, as well as discover some new tricks.

There's so much to learn about Outlook that reading about using Outlook and trying it for yourself isn't enough to remember how to use all the features. After you've read through this book once, you'll want to keep it handy to use as a reference guide.

You'll quickly be well on your to way to power user status, learning many of the tricks discovered by other power users. By the time you're finished, you won't be asking whether you can do something in Outlook or how to use it—you'll be looking for more ways to put Outlook's power to use. You might even be showing friends and co-workers how to get the most out of Outlook. As fun as it is to be the resident guru, I'd like you to suggest they buy their own copy of this book.

Although this book is geared toward the new Outlook user, anyone upgrading to Outlook 2003 will learn many new things from reading this book. Filled with many tips and tricks familiar to Outlook power users, this book will put you well on the way to becoming a power user yourself.

What's in This Book

Beginning with an introduction to Outlook, you'll discover the features new to Outlook 2003, including the Navigation Pane, the Reading Pane, Search Folders, and Quick Flags. You'll learn the best way to set up your accounts and customize Outlook. Views comprise one of the best power user features in Outlook, I'll show you how to use the views that Outlook includes and help you create your own custom views. Managing your email is easier when you use Quick Flags, Search Folders, and rules.

Outlook is first and foremost an email client. It's very powerful when you know how to harness its power. Outlook is unlike any other email program. It supports a wide range of email protocols, from corporate email hosted on Exchange Server to free Hotmail accounts.

Although Outlook has its own email editor, you can work faster when you compose your messages in a familiar editor: Microsoft Word. You'll learn how to use stationery to send prettier messages and learn when it's better not to use formatted messages. You'll discover other features in Outlook that make it the most powerful messaging client available, including voting and delayed send.

Security is important in any email client—Microsoft made security its number one priority. Outlook protects you from snooping spammers who include Web beacons in HTML messages to track who reads the message. I'll show you how to make the most of Outlook's security, giving you the greatest level of protection with the fewest hassles.

Outlook automatically removes much of the spam you receive from your Inbox as it's downloaded, thanks to the new Junk E-mail filter. The accuracy rate is very high, eliminating much of the spam that fills your Inbox. The Junk E-mail filter even works on all accounts, including Hotmail.

Although Outlook is “just an email program” to many users, it's also a feature-filled personal information manager (PIM). You'll learn how to use these features to their fullest. Learn how to customize your contact forms, use categories to organize your contacts and calendar, and use your contacts in a mail merge.

No PIM is complete without a journal to record your activities. Use Outlook's journal to automatically record phone calls and email sent to your contacts and create journal entries for many activities.

After you get a handle on Outlook's basic features, you can move on to the advanced features, including designing custom forms, working with VBA, and creating custom toolbars. You'll learn what files Outlook uses and which ones to back up on a regular basis.

Integration with other Office programs and online services is important to many users. Use Outlook with MSN and SharePoint Services or use Outlook's contacts as a data source in Word. It's all covered in this book.

Conventions Used in This Book

This book uses several conventions to help you prioritize and reference the information it contains.

Tips highlight information that can make your Outlook use more effective.

Cautions focus your attention on problems or side effects that can occur in specific situations.

Notes provide useful sidebar information that you can read immediately or circle back to without losing the flow of the topic at hand.

In addition, this book uses various typefaces to help you distinguish code from regular English. Code is presented in a monospace font. Placeholders—words or characters used temporarily to represent the real words or characters you would type in code—are typeset in italic monospace.

Some code statements presented in this book are too long to appear on a single line. In these cases, a line-continuation character () is used to indicate that the following line is a continuation of the current statement.

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