Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Essential(?) Update for Outlook

On February 24th 2009, Microsoft released an update for Microsoft Outlook 2007. General reports indicate that this update is solving a lot of problems for users experiencing instability and speed issues with Outlook 2007.

But… this update is NOT carried out automatically if you are using Windows Updates and it is even not available for download. Instead you need to request the download from Microsoft using a form on their website.

Although I have not tested the update myself (my Outlook has been behaving very well recently), here are the most important links that I could find on this topic.

Microsoft Articles
Request and Download Outlook Update: Use links on this page to request Microsoft for the download link.

Whitepaper: Additional information for Network Administrators.

Articles on the Microsoft Outlook Team Blog
February Cumulative Update Announcement: Initial announcement

Frequently Asked Questions: Top questions, comments and concerns regarding the update

WARNING: Make sure you don't need to use Outlook immediately after installing the update. Your Outlook data files will be converted the first time you open Outlook. This may take a few hours if you have a lot of data.

Did the update work for you?
If you download and install the update, please let us know of its effects by leaving a comment on the blog.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Marking Outlook Appointments as Complete

A reader asked me if there was anyway in Outlook to mark appointments as complete... this is available for Tasks so it should be fairly safe to assume that there must be an easy way to do the same for appointments/calendar items. It turns out there is no built-in way to do this but here's a work-around you can use instead.

There is an easy way to change the color of individual appointment items in Outlook. I use this trick to make my completed appointment Red (you can use any color you want).

Here's how you can do the same...

If you are using Outlook 2007 (scroll down for earlier versions of Outlook)....

The color of appointment items in Outlook 2007 is controlled using categories.

First... let's create a category to mean Complete.

Go to your Calendar.
Right-Click over any existing appointment.
Click Categorize and then click All Categories.
Click the New button.
Enter a name for the category (I used the word Complete), choose a Color and click OK.
Click OK again to return to the Calendar screen.

The appointment you had right-clicked over should now be colored. If this appointment is actually not completed, you can clear the color by...

Right-click over the calendar item.
Click Categorize and click on the Complete category again (or click on Clear All Categories).

To mark another appointment on your calendar as complete.

Right-click over the calendar item.
Click Category and select the category of your choice (the Complete category).

If you are using Outlook 2003 or earlier....

The color of appointment items in Outlook 2003 (or earlier) is controlled with labels. Outlook comes with a default set of 10 labels (each of a different color) and you can also create your own.

First... let's change one of the labels to mean Complete.

Go to the Calendar folder.
On the menu at the top, click Edit-Label
Edit the label text as needed (I have changed my Red label to Complete)

Now... to mark an appointment on your calendar as complete..

Right-click over the calendar item.
Click Label and select the label of your choice.


This little technique makes it simple to see which appointments have been completed and which ones still need your attention. You can also use the same technique to color code different types of appointments for quick visual reference.

Did you like this article? Do you have suggestions to improve this technique?... Please leave a comment on the blog.

Related Articles
Color Coded Emails In Your Inbox
Let Outlook Highlight Important Emails

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Do you have folders with huge lists of emails in them? Here is a quick easy way to find particular emails by sorting your emails anyway you want.

This tip is particularly useful if (like my mum) you keep all your emails in your Inbox and Sent Items folders and you suddenly find that your emails are not being displayed in the order you are used to.

This tip is super easy… all you need to know how to do is click with the mouse.
Go to your Inbox (or any other email folder that you wish to sort). Do you see a list of column titles at the top (with labels like From, Subject, Received)

To sort by the Received date, click on the Received column title (as shown above).

You will notice a little arrow next to the Received column title in the screen above. This indicates that the email list is sorted by the Received column.

The arrow pointing downward means that the list is sort in descending order i.e. the newest emails are at the top of the list and the oldest are at the bottom (for other fields it means that it will sort from Z to A).

The arrow pointing upward means that the list is sort in ascending order i.e. the oldest emails are at the top of the list and the newest are at the bottom (for other fields it means that it will sort from A to Z).

To make a list sort by a different column, simply click on the title of the column you wish to sort by.

To change the way a list is sorted (i.e. change from ascending to descending), click on the title of the column again.

In summary… to sort, click on the column title!

If you find this post useful, please leave a comment on the blog.

Other Articles of Interest: