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Chapter 3. Using Outlook's Tools > Using the Navigation Pane

Using the Navigation Pane

Microsoft Outlook 2003 has greatly enhanced the user environment in the Outlook workspace. The new Navigation pane replaces the Outlook bar and serves as the main navigational tool when you are working in Outlook. You will find that the Navigation pane has a button for each of the Outlook folders. 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.

To use the Navigation pane to switch to a different folder, select the appropriate button. Figure 3.1 shows the Navigation pane and some of the other areas of the Outlook window.

Figure 3.1. Use the Navigation pane to view your e-mail, appointments, and so on.

As already mentioned, the different Outlook folder buttons on the Navigation pane enable you to access your work in Outlook. This includes your e-mail messages, appointments, contact list, and so on. Table 3.1 describes each of the folders provided on the Navigation pane.

Table 3.1. Outlook Folders
MailIncludes messages you've sent and received by e-mail and fax.
CalendarContains your appointments, events, scheduled meetings, and so on.
ContactsLists names and addresses of the people with whom you communicate.
TasksIncludes any tasks you have on your to-do list.
NotesLists notes you write to yourself or others.

The Outlook 2003 Navigation pane also provides shortcuts that help you access the information in a particular folder. For example, when you access a Mail folder, you are also provided with two areas on the pane: Favorite Folders and All Mail Folders. These lists can be used to quickly access different mail-related folders found in Outlook.

The Navigation pane also allows you to control how the information is actually viewed in the Details pane of a particular folder. For example, you can choose from a number of current views to browse the records in your Contacts folder as shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2. Different views can be quickly accessed from the Navigation pane.

The Navigation pane also makes it easy for you to quickly access the Folder list, custom shortcuts, and tools that allow you to configure the overall “feel” of the Navigation pane. Four buttons are provided along the bottom of the Navigation pane (see Figure 3.2) that allow you to access these features:

  • Notes— This button opens the Notes pane and allows you to create reminder notes. See Lesson 16, “Using Outlook Notes,” for more information.

  • Folder list— This button opens the Folder list in the Navigation pane (it is open by default when you start Outlook). The Folder list is used to view all your Outlook Personal folders.

  • Shortcuts— This button allows you to access special shortcut icons such as those for Outlook Today (which provides an overview of current Calendar, mail, and tasks) and Outlook Update (which connects you to Microsoft and allows you to quickly update the Outlook software). You can also add custom shortcuts to the Shortcuts list by adding groups using the Add New Group link.

  • Configure Buttons— This button opens a shortcut menu that allows you to change the size of the buttons on the Navigation pane, and change the order of the buttons that appear on the bar. You can also even add or remove buttons if you want to customize your Navigation pane further.

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