Category Archives: Outlook

Three Time Zones in Outlook

Simple but useful stuff. Now, Outlook supports Three Time Zones in the Calendar. To set the time zones, right click on the time display in Calendar and choose Change Time Zone… or go to File – Options – Calendar – Time Zones.  If you work with customers or your own teams globally, this can be a very useful feature.

Set three time zones

How to select Three Time Zones in Outlook

One time zone is always shown by default – that is the current time zone – as per Windows regional settings. You can choose two more time zones. Remember to specify labels which are short and clear. If you use wrong labels, you will end up confusing yourself.

Three Time Zones were added in May 2018. Since many years, Outlook supported only two time zones.

The time zones are visible in the Day, Week and Work Week view. In the month view, there is no place to show the time portion.

Time showing Australia, Hong Kong and India time

Suppose, I have three time zones set – India, Hong Kong and Australia. What to do when I am actually visiting HK? Simple. Click the Swap Time Zones button. This cycles the time zones. Choose the first time zone to be the place where you are. That’s it.
Remember to reset it to your home time zone when you return to your base location.

Choose the desired time slot display

By default, Outlook shows one-hour time slots. Depending upon your work profile, you can make it more detailed. You can go down to 5 minute granularity. This is useful if you are using Calendar for managing lots of related activities like organizing an event calendar or a training program schedule.

Change time scale menu

There is a special 6 minute time slot display – for legal and other consultants who are billed by the hour. For them, dividing the hour into 10 slots of 6 minutes each is easier for calculating their charges rather than dividing it into 12 slots of 5 minutes each!

Arrange a meeting based upon customer convenience

In another related feature, while creating a new appointment, you can see other time zones. Click the Time Zone button in the New Appointment window.

Select the customer time zone and schedule the appointment as per their convenience. When you save the Appointment, it is translated automatically into your base time zone.

Unfortunately, WHILE you are editing the appointment, you can only see the time in the target time zone. But it is still better than manually calculating time zone offsets.

Events from email in Outlook

This is a very convenient feature available in Outlook. You may be using it even without knowing about it. Outlook can analyze your incoming emails and create calendar entries (events) based upon them. Four categories are understood as of now, flight bookings, hotel reservations, car bookings and package delivery.

This is based upon machine learning algorithms – no human is looking at your emails. Once a mail is detected as an event, a calendar entry is created automatically. Here is an example of a travel booking.

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This mail was automatically processed by Outlook and the following calendar event was created:

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Check-in reminder

In addition, it created a reminder 3 hours before the departure time. That’s nice but there is more. Exactly 24 hours before the flight departure, I received an email reminder for checking-in. This reminder did not originate in my calendar. It came from a generic reminder service.

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Customize automatic processing

To change these settings, go to Outlook web access – Options (the gears wheel) – Automatic processing. Notice that the Package Delivery option is not selected by default.

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Although it sounds fairly simple, the internal working of this feature is quite complex. Why? Because there are thousands of different formats for hotel and flight booking mails. It has to understand the relevant fields and create the calendar events. This is where machine learning is helping us – behind the scenes.

Airplane

Outlook Conversational View

If you have the latest version of Office Pro Plus, a great new feature is now available. It is called Outlook Conversational View – (not to be confused with “Show as Conversation” setting). Check the View tab in Outlook. Conversational view is useful for managing long mail trails.

Outlook Conversational View

When you click on this button, the menu options reduce and the Reading Pane is automatically activated. Don’t worry. If you do not like it, just click on Classic button.

Continue reading Outlook Conversational View

Resize Email Images in Outlook

Outlook now has a new feature to compress ALL attached images in one go. Use Insert – Attachments option to add images. BEFORE sending the mail, open the File menu. You will see the new option. Choose the Resize large images when I send this mail option. Now all images will be compressed by reducing their size to 1024X768 or smaller. Aspect ratio will not be disturbed.

DO NOT use this option if you want to retain original resolution. If the mail bounces because the other person(s) cannot receive such large emails, put the files on some cloud storage (OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) and send a link.

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This feature was released in May 2017. Depending upon the configuration decided by your Office 365 Administrator, you may receive this feature much later. You will get it instantly if you are on the Office Insider – Fast branch.

Outlook Attachments Usage Guide

Attachments is the most popular and misused Outlook feature. If you are DELIVERING a file – use attachments. If you are Sharing a file – it is best to share the file. Sending CCs is the most important reason why “Teamwork” is inefficient. Here is a practical guide about how you should use Outlook Attachments with Office 365.

Outlook Attachments - Poster

Continue reading Outlook Attachments Usage Guide

See all attachments sent by someone: People Pane in Outlook

There are many available options. The simplest way to see all attachments sent by someone is to use the People Pane in Outlook. Just go to View tab and activate the People Pane. The most convenient option is Minimized.

Enable People Pane in Outlook

Whenever you open any mail, Minimized People pane is appears at the bottom of the message. You will see a visual list of all the people addressed in that mail – sender, To and CCs. If available, their photo will also be shown. The tooltip which appears on mouse hover shows the name of the person.

Outlook People Pane

How to see all attachments sent by someone

Just click on the name in People Pane. The pane opens up and shows many things – mails from, attachments sent by and meetings with the selected person.

How to see all attachments sent by someone in Outlook People Pane

That’s it. If you have activated the Social Connector, you can even see their Facebook and LinkedIn feed.  Enjoy.