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8 Outlook Hints Everyone Should Know

8 Outlook Hints Everyone Should Know

Outlook hints

While studying and teaching productivity habits, I’ve noticed that many people use Microsoft Outlook for their e-mail and calendar, but have no idea that this tool has many useful features built in. Here’s five hints that could improve your productivity when using Outlook.

1. Public Holidays

If you don’t want to miss public holidays, Outlook can automatically add them to your calendar and it has nearly 100 different locations to choose from!

You will not forget that October 2nd is Gandhi Jayanti in India while November 11th is Veteran’s Day in United States and Independence Day in Poland.

Outlook - Public Holidays

    To enable this, simply go to: Options (File – Options) – Calendar – Add Holidays, and choose the countries that you are working with.

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    Outlook - Public Holidays set

      They are added as All Day Events, so you can freely set reminders, apply colors and mark yourself as, Out of Office.

      2. Two Time Zones

      When you are working across multiple time zones, before you schedule any meeting it’s important to know the time on the other side to avoid setting up a meeting that might be too early or too late. Instead of fumbling around Google trying to figure it out, Outlook can help you by showing two time zones at the same time.

      Outlook - Two time zones

        To enable it, simply go to: Options – Calendar – Time zones – Show a second time zone.

        Outlook - Two time zones set

          3. Automatic Colors

          Your email and calendar can automatically apply colors to your emails and meetings based on pre-defined rules. For example, emails sent to you, when you are the only person on the “To” line, can be colored red. To do that, simply choose: View – View Settings – Conditional Formatting (or Automatic Formatting), and you can add a simple rule as shown below:

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          Outlook - Automatic Colors

            Your calendar and email have separate set of rules, but they are accessed the same way.

            4. Search Function

            A lot of people have used the search mechanism that’s available in Outlook but many people do not know how to use it effectively.

            Outlook - search

              There is a quick introduction how you could do this. It is a powerful mechanism that can save you hours and it’s definitely worth learning!

              5. Desktop Alert

              Your brain is unable to do two things at the same time effectively and every context switch costly. However, I still see many people using Desktop Alert, a distracting function that alerts you every time you receive a new email. This alert can make it hard to focus on your tasks and prevent you from working efficiently. I strongly suggest switching this off and reading more about the Pomodoro Technique.

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              To disable Desktop Alert in Outlook, simply go to: Options – Mail – disable “Display a Desktop Alert” option.

              Outlook - Disable Desktop Alert

                6. Manual Mark as Read

                By default, Outlook marks items as read when your selection changes. Often times, you can get lost in what you did or did not read which can be really annoying, because you want to keep track of the things you’ve already processed. I strongly recommend disabling that feature by going to: Options – Mail – Reading Pane – disable “Mark item as read when selection changes”.

                When you are done and want to manually mark the item as read, use Ctrl+Q.

                Outlook - Auto mark as read

                  7. Sharing Calendars

                  When you are working in a team, especially when you are not sitting close to each other, scheduling a meeting can be hard. When choosing a time, you can only see if someone is busy or not, but you will not see any meeting details. This can be solved by sharing your Outlook calendar. You may ask the whole team to do this.

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                  Outlook - Share calendar

                    After your calendar was shared, everyone will be able to access all the meetings details you have in it. If you want to prevent it for showing certain meetings and events, simply use “Private” flag and only you will be able to access it.

                    Outlook - Private Meeting combined

                      8. Keeping a Declined Meeting

                      Sometimes you want to “decline” a meeting, but still have it in your calendar. To quickly solve this problem, you may copy&paste this meeting (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V), decline the original meeting and keep the copy.

                      Summary

                      When used effectively, Microsoft Outlook many useful features that will enable you to do your work seamlessly and as efficiently as possible.

                      What are your best hints and tricks when using Outlook? – share them with me!

                      More by this author

                      Piotr Nabielec

                      Author, CEO, Consultant

                      How to Really Achieve Goals 8 Outlook Hints Everyone Should Know 7 Things Smart Learners Do Differently 10 Ways To Have Quality Sleep That You Probably Don’t Know 9 Things You Can Do To Completely Unleash Your Potentials

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                      Published on January 18, 2019

                      Best 5 Language Learning Apps to Easily Master a New Language

                      Best 5 Language Learning Apps to Easily Master a New Language

                      Learning a new language is no easy feat. While a language instructor is irreplaceable, language learning apps have come to revolutionize a lot of things and it has made language learning much easier. Compared to language learning websites, apps offer a more interactive experience to learn a new language.

                      The following language learning apps are the top recommended apps for your language learning needs:

                      1. Duolingo

                        Duolingo is a very successful app that merged gamification and language learning. According to Expanded Ramblings, the app now counts with 300 million users.

                        Duolingo offers a unique concept, an easy-to-use app and is a great app to accompany your language acquisition journey. The courses are created by native speakers, so this is not data or algorithm-based.

                        The app is free and has the upgrade options with Duolingo Plus for $9.99, which are add free lessons. The mobile app offers 25 languages and is popular for English-speaking learners learning other languages.

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                        Download the app

                        2. HelloTalk

                          HelloTalk aims to facilitate speaking practice and eliminate the stresses of a real-time and life conversation. The app allows users to connect to native speakers and has a WhatsApp like chat that imitates its interface.

                          There is a perk to this app. The same native speakers available also want to make an even exchange and learn your target language, so engagement is the name of the game.

                          What’s more, the app has integrated translation function that bypasses the difficulties of sending a message with a missing word and instead fills in the gap.

                          Download the app

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                          3. Mindsnacks

                            Remember that Duolingo has integrated gamification in language learning? Well, Mindsnacks takes the concept to another level. There is an extensive list of languages available within the app comes with eight to nine games designed to learn grammar, vocabulary listening.

                            You will also be able to visualize your progress since the app integrates monitoring capabilities. The layout and interface is nothing short of enjoyable, cheerful and charming.

                            Download the app

                            4. Busuu

                              Bussu is a social language learning app. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS. It currently supports 12 languages and is free.

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                              The functionality allows users to learn words, simple dialogues and questions related to the conversations. In addition, the dialogues are recorded by native speakers, which brings you close to the language learning experience.

                              When you upgrade, you unlock important features including course materials. The subscription is $17 a month.

                              Download the app

                              5. Babbel

                                Babbel is a subscription-based service founded in 2008. According to LinguaLift, it is a paid cousing of Duolingo. The free version comes with 40 classes, and does not require you to invest any money.

                                Each of the classes starts with with a sequential teaching of vocabulary with the help of pictures. The courses are tailor made and adapted to the students’ level, allowing the learning to be adjusted accordingly.

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                                If you started learning a language and stopped, Babbel will help you pick up where you started.

                                Download the app

                                Takeaways

                                All the apps recommended are tailored for different needs, whether you’re beginning to learn a language or trying to pick back up one. All of them are designed by real-life native speakers and so provide you with a more concrete learning experience.

                                Since these apps are designed to adapt to different kinds of learning styles, do check out which one is the most suitable for you.

                                Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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