A Beginner’s Guide to Microsoft Outlook 365
Email might feel dated compared to the vast range of popular communication channels like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom. But even with the availability of instant messaging platforms, email is here to stay. You’re in the right place if your company relies on Microsoft Outlook 365 as their main email communication. We’ll show you how to use Outlook 365 and give you a few handy tricks to make your email inbox more productive.
What is Outlook 365?
Let’s start with the basics – what is Outlook 365? In essence, it’s an email application. It’s part of a suite of cloud-based apps and products offered by Microsoft, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Collectively, these are known as Microsoft 365.
Each app integrates and communicates with one another, which is one of the many reasons why Microsoft 365 is popular among businesses. For instance, scheduling meetings in an Outlook calendar automatically syncs them to the Microsoft Teams calendar.
Businesses can pay a subscription to access Microsoft 365 and all associated apps. These can be downloaded as apps to your desktop or mobile, or accessed via a browser.
How to use Microsoft Outlook 365
Getting started with Microsoft Outlook 365 is easy. All you need is a desktop or mobile and a steady internet connection. We’ll walk you through the key steps to get you set up.
Create an Outlook account
The first step is to create an Outlook account:
- Download the Outlook app to your desktop or mobile.
- Click on the app and select ‘File’.
- Select ‘Add Account’ from the drop-down menu.
- Choose a business or personal account – if it’s for work, select business.
- Enter your email address and select ‘Connect’.
- Enter your password if prompted.
- Press ‘Finish’.
Your Outlook account should be set up and ready to use. Sometimes, it may ask for additional information, like your mail server name. If you’re unsure, speak to your IT department.
Personalise your email
With your account set up, it’s time to make it your own. Outlook allows you to personalise your account with features like email signatures. These can include text, business logos, images, or an electronic version of your signature.
Follow these steps to set it up:
- Open a new email.
- In the access bar across the top, select ‘Signature’, then ‘Signatures’.
- This should open a new box on your screen. Select ‘New’.
- Type your name, paste a logo, or add anything else you want to include in your signature.
- Once finished, press ‘OK’.
- To set this as your default reply, scroll down to ‘Choose Default Signature’.
- You can set default signatures for new messages, replies/forwards, or both.
- Select your email signature name from the drop-down menu for each option to apply a default signature.
- Press ‘Save’ to save your changes.
Create and send emails
To create and send emails, follow this step-by-step guide:
- From your inbox, choose ‘New email’.
- In the ‘To’ section, enter a name from your address book to find their email. Or, if you know their email, type it in.
- Add anyone you want to Cc or Bcc in the field underneath.
- Enter a subject line for your email.
- Write the contents of your email in the body section.
- Use the formatting options at the bottom to change text size, colour, font, or add highlights and links.
- Hit ‘Send’.
- To send later, click the arrow next to ‘Send’ to schedule for a later time or date.
If you need to add an attachment, click on the ‘Attach’ icon that looks like a paperclip. Select the file you want to attach from your drive before hitting send.
Productivity tools in Microsoft Outlook
Did you know that Outlook 365 allows you to do much more than send and receive emails? It’s true; various features are designed to help organise your day, increase productivity, and allow for much-needed focus time.
Few things are more overwhelming than a full inbox of unread emails. You can use Outlook 365 to create rules for your emails, helping you organise and prioritise your time. For instance, you can set a rule that automatically sends emails from certain people into a separate inbox folder, or emails about specific subjects.
You can even create rules to display a sound when you get an email from certain people.
To make rules, follow these steps:
- From your Outlook app, select ‘Home’.
- Look across the top access bar to find ‘Rules’.
- Here, you can change the ‘From’, ‘To’, and ‘Subject’ rules as needed.
- Press ‘OK’ to apply the rules.
For more advanced rules, click on ‘File’ and ‘Account Information’. Here, you’ll see a button for ‘Manage Rules & Alerts’. This gives you more options, like rules for when you’re Cc’d or Bcc’d in an email, or when emails are marked with different levels of importance.
Use the calendar
The calendar is one of Outlook’s best features. It allows you to schedule meetings and appointments, view shared calendars, and set tasks for people.
To set a meeting, follow these steps:
- Click ‘New Meeting’ from the ‘Home’ tab.
- This brings up a new window. Change the date, start time, and end time as needed.
- Include a subject and location, e.g., meeting room 1.
- Enter the names of people you want to invite to the meeting in the ‘To’ box.
- Include content about your meeting in the body text section.
- Hit send to invite people to your meeting.
Schedule your appointment or meeting to stop people from dropping meetings in your calendar when you’ve got important tasks to do. Rather than adding recipients to the ‘To’ field, leave it for yourself. This ensures you can block out sufficient time to focus.
You may also have access to apps like Microsoft Word and Excel, alongside Outlook. If so, you can use Microsoft’s cloud-based storage called OneDrive to create collaborative documents and share them with other teams. People can view and edit these documents in real time, making it easier to manage version control.
Since documents are saved in the cloud, you can access them wherever you work. As long as you have an internet connection, you can create, edit, and share documents with your team from anywhere.
Making the most of Outlook 365 with Fabric IT
At Fabric IT, we’re experts in helping businesses make the most of their Microsoft 365 subscription, including Outlook. As a Microsoft gold partner, we’ll guide you on making Microsoft 365 work for you, helping to build a customised solution for your business. We’re here to help you succeed with increased productivity, improved operational insights, and greater team collaboration.
Contact us for a free demo or to discuss opportunities. Call 01625 443100 or message us to speak with a Fabric IT expert.
What do Cc and Bcc mean in an email?
Cc stands for ‘carbon copy’, and Bcc stands for ‘blind carbon copy’. When someone copies you in an email, either the recipient can see that you were copied in it or can’t. As you’d expect, Bcc means the recipient can’t see you were sent a copy.
When should I use Bcc in Outlook?
Bcc is often used when sending an email to multiple recipients, but you don’t want the primary recipients to see who else is included in the email. This may be, for example, from a customer service agent to a customer, who copies in their management for record purposes. However, the manager doesn’t want their work email shared with the client.
How do I add out-of-office in Outlook 365?
Outlook allows you to create automatic out-of-office replies to emails received during a specific period. You might do this if you’re going on holiday, for example. To set it up, follow these steps:
- Click ‘File’ on the access bar.
- Select ‘Automatic Replies’ (out-of-office)
- Select ‘Send Automatic Replies’
- Choose the dates and times you’ll be out-of-office
- Customise your reply by entering it in the text box
- Press ‘Save’