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Chapter 3. Using Outlook's Tools > Using the Outlook Bar

Using the Outlook Bar

Each Outlook organizational tool has its own folder. You have a folder for e-mail (Inbox), a folder for the calendar (Calendar), and so on. The Outlook bar is a tool you can use to quickly change folders in Outlook. The icons in the Outlook bar represent all the folders available to you and provide shortcuts to getting to the contents of those folders. Figure 3.1 shows the Outlook bar and other areas of the Outlook window.

Three shortcut groups are located within the Outlook bar: Outlook Shortcuts, My Shortcuts, and Other Shortcuts. Each group contains related folders in which you can work.

  • Outlook Shortcuts— This group contains folders for working with the different organizational tools in Outlook, such as Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, and so on.

  • My Shortcuts— This group contains folders for organizing and managing e-mail you compose and send, such as the Outbox and the Sent Items folder. This group also provides access to the Journal (which keeps track of Office documents that you open and e-mail that you send) and an icon that takes you online to the Outlook Update Web page.

  • Other Shortcuts— This group contains folders on your computer, such as My Computer, My Documents, and Favorites, which is a list of your favorite Web sites. You can use each of these folders to work with files and folders outside Outlook.

To switch from one group to another, click the Outlook Shortcuts, My Shortcuts, or Other Shortcuts button on the Outlook bar. The Outlook shortcuts group is displayed by default, providing you with quick access to tools such as your Inbox, Calendar, and Contacts list.

Figure 3.1. Use the Outlook bar to view various items in your work.

The Outlook Shortcuts Folders

The Outlook Shortcuts group's folder icons in the Outlook bar enable you to access your work in Outlook. That includes your e-mail messages, appointments, contact list, and so on. Table 3.1 describes each of the folders within the Outlook Shortcuts group.

Table 3.1. Outlook Shortcuts Group Folders
Folder Description
Outlook Today Although not really a folder, the Outlook Today icon on the Outlook bar provides a summary of Calendar events, tasks, and new messages for the current day (today).
Inbox Includes messages you've sent and received by e-mail and fax.
Calendar Contains your appointments, events, scheduled meetings, and so on.
Contacts Lists names and addresses of the people with whom you communicate.
Tasks Includes any tasks you have on your to-do list.
Notes Lists notes you write to yourself or others.
Deleted Items Includes any items you've deleted from other folders.

The My Shortcuts Folders

The My Shortcuts group folders provide a method of organizing your incoming and outgoing e-mail messages (see Figure 3.2). Table 3.2 describes each folder in the Mail group.

Table 3.2. My Shortcuts Folders
Folder Description
Draft Contains messages you have started but not sent.
Sent Items Stores all messages you've sent.
Outbox Contains messages to be sent.
Journal Keeps track of your activities in Outlook, such as the logging of e-mail sent to specific contacts. The Journal also can keep track of your activities in other Office applications, such as Word or Excel.

Figure 3.2. The My Shortcuts folder icons give you access to your e-mail and fax messages that have been saved as drafts, that have been sent, or that are waiting to be sent.


I See Other Folders in My Groups You can add additional folders and folder icons very easily to Outlook. If you find folders other than the ones described here, folders have probably been added to your particular installation of Outlook.

The Other Shortcuts Folders

The Other Shortcuts group contains folders that are on your computer but not within Outlook: My Computer, My Documents, and Favorites. You can access a document or information in any of those areas so that you can attach it to a message, add notes to it, or otherwise use it in Outlook.

For example, with My Computer, you can view the contents of both hard and floppy disks, CD-ROM drives, and so on (see Figure 3.3). Double-click a drive in the window to view its folders and files. Double-click a folder to view its contents as well. Then, you can attach files to messages or otherwise use the files on your hard drive with the Outlook features.

Figure 3.3. View your entire system through the My Computer folder in Outlook.


Moving Up a Level Use the Back button on the Advanced toolbar (right-click the Outlook toolbar and select Advanced on the shortcut menu) to return to a folder or drive after you've double-clicked to expand it and view its contents.

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