applied tips : january 2007

microsoft outlook : get organized

Most of us use e-mail on a regular basis and, as a result, are constantly being bombarded with information from clients and coworkers. Meeting requests, appointment reminders, tasks that need to be completed—your Inbox can quickly become a jumbled mess. How can you keep track of it all?

Folders are a good beginning, but there are two other steps you can take to keep all of your contact information in order. This article will show you how to link items to a contact and how to view related items using the Activities tab (not available in Outlook 98).

Linking contacts and items

Did you know that you can use hyperlinks in Microsoft Outlook to keep track of items related to a contact? You can link any type of Outlook item or even link a document or file stored on your computer to a contact.

To link a new item to a contact:

First, create the item. If it’s a message, click the Options button on the toolbar and click the Contacts button in the dialog box. For any other item, click the Contacts button in the dialog box.

Navigate to the Contacts folder in the “Look in” pane. Then select the contact you want to link the item to in the bottom pane. Click OK when you’re finished.

You can also link an item to several contacts at the same time. To select several adjacent contacts, select the first contact, press and hold down the <Shift> key, and click the last contact. To select several non-adjacent contacts, select the first contact, press and hold down the <Ctrl> key, and select each successive contact.

To link an existing item to a contact:

Open the Contacts folder and open the contact to which you want to link items. Select Actions > Link > Items from the menu.

In the “Look in” pane, navigate to the folder in which the items you want to link are located. Then select the item(s) you want to link to the contact in the bottom pane. Click OK when you’re finished.

To link a document to a contact:

When you link a document to a contact, you are really creating a new journal entry.

Open the Contacts folder and open the contact to which you want to link a document. Select Actions > Link > File from the menu.

The Choose a File dialog box appears. Navigate to the file you want to link to, select the file, and click Insert. A Journal entry dialog box appears. Click the Save and Close button to save and close the journal entry window.

To view the document linked to a contact, open the Journal folder. A list of all journal entries and their related contacts appears. Just click the Contact column heading to sort all the entries into contact groups.

To view links:

Linking all these items together isn’t helpful unless you know how to view the contacts and their related items. Here’s how to view a contact linked to an item:

Open the item and double-click the contact’s name in the Contacts box. To view the linked contact for an e-mail item, select View > Options from the menu and then double-click the contact’s name in the Contacts box.

You can also view a contact’s linked items, alongside other related items, using the Activities tab.

Note: the Activities tab is not available in Outlook 98.

Using the Activities tab

If you do a lot of e-mail correspondence, you know it’s easy to lose track of a series of related messages from a contact. It can also be difficult to get a comprehensive view of a contact’s activities in other folders, such as the Calendar or Task list.

Fortunately, Outlook’s Activities tab keeps track of all the items and activities with which a contact is involved. This includes messages in the Deleted Items folder, and messages in which the contact was included in a group of recipients.

The Activities tab also keeps track of all other related items, such as tasks that have been assigned or sent by the selected contact, items that have been linked to the contact, and appointments they are required to attend.

To view the Activities tab:

Double-click a contact to open it. Click the Activities tab in the dialog box. A list of all the items to which the contact is related is shown.

To filter which items are displayed, click the Show list arrow and select the type of item you wish to view.

To sort the list differently, click the Sort by: Icon, Subject, or In Folder column heading. Double-click an item to open it, or right-click the item for more options.

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