4 Ways to Automate Microsoft Outlook to Boost Office Productivity

Microsoft Outlook Training



The Microsoft Office 365 suite of software is the most-used productivity software by far, with more than 180 million active users according to recent figures. What’s more interesting is that Microsoft is adding more than 4 million users each month, many of these individuals transferring from the more traditional on-premise software model or perpetual licensing. Even with a platform that is nearly 10 years old, Office 365 continues to gain significant momentum due to the ease of use, new features that are rolled out on a regular basis and the exceptional value that is gained from the core system in terms of staff productivity. Outlook has been synonymous with corporate email for decades, but office professionals rarely take advantage of the full range of automation options that are available at their fingertips. Here are four of the most common — and most useful — Outlook automation tips.

1. Create Templates With Common Responses

Do you ever find yourself getting tired of responding to customers with the same language, only changing a few words each time? Retyping this message repeatedly not only gets boring, but it pulls you away from more important tasks that you could focus on instead. Microsoft Outlook allows you to create templates for common responses that you send, and launch these templates with only a few clicks. Start by launching a new message within Outlook or respond to a message that you’ve received. Within the “Message” tab in the ribbon choose “View Templates”, which will pull up a quick sidebar where you’ll see a range of pre-built templates. Edit the templates right within the page, or add a new one that you can quickly select and deploy the next time you need it.

2. Define Separate Signatures for Various Personas

It’s not unusual to wear a variety of hats in business or have a situation where you need to represent a different brand. Creating a professional sign-off for each of your different personas would take time and effort away from your day, so why not make a reusable signature? You can quickly add signatures that include everything from links to your website, your title and your business logo. From within an open message, select “Signature” to view the current options in Outlook or manage your signatures by clicking “Signatures” from the initial menu. You can also reach your signatures by starting with the “File” tab, where you’ll select “Options”, “Mail” and then “Signatures”.

3. Utilize Quick Parts to Speed Up Repetitive Tasks

Are there boilerplate responses that you need to mix and match quickly? Instead of using templates to pull together a more complex message, consider utilizing Quick Parts. This time-saving option is great for repetitive content, and you can start by pulling up the information that you want to store within a message that you’ve already created. Highlight all of the information that you want to store, click on the “Insert” tab, and then select “Quick Parts”. You’ll see a dynamic drop-down menu that shows you any Quick Parts that you have already stored, and also offers the option to create a new “AutoText” or “Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery”. You can assign a name to the new building block, define which gallery you want to store the information in and determine whether you’re going to insert only the text or if you also want to include the formatting from your current selection. Another quick tip you might find interesting is that you can also insert Quick Parts into a task or calendar entry for repetitive events.

4. Use Automatic Replies to Quickly Route Communication

Are you headed out of the office on vacation or for a business trip, or perhaps need to share availability with everyone sending you an email on a regular basis? Automatic replies provide the ideal way to quickly route the communication to the correct person for action. Set up your automatic replies by clicking on the “File” tab and then selecting “Automatic Replies (Out of Office)”. From here, you can swiftly define messages that are sent within your organization and a different message to external recipients as well as create a timeframe during which to send your automatic replies.

Adding automation to Outlook is a great start to boost productivity for your staff, but are you taking advantage of all the technical tools at your disposal? Contact the professionals at Vision Computer Solutions today at 248-215-2431 or via email to info@vcsolutions.comto schedule your free initial consultation. Our team will work with you to determine if there are savings opportunities for your business, ways to improve your cybersecurity posture and improve staff productivity with a solid infrastructure for your business. From Office 365implementations to data backup and recovery, Vision Computer Solutions is the leading IT solutions provider for businesses in the Metro Detroit area.