Saturday, February 1, 2003

Outlook with a view


By Diane Poremsky

If you've ever overlooked an appointment, message or task because it was lost in a folder, this tip is for you. Views in Outlook offer an easy way to filter and find items, and once you create a view, you can switch between views faster than you can using the advanced find feature.

Each Outlook folder type comes with a basic set of views. You can access the list of views one of two ways: by using the Views | Current Views menu or from the Advanced toolbar's Views button. You can customize these views by selecting Define View, then selecting the view by name and modifying it. For example, if you want the preview pane turned off by default on all folders, you select Message view, press the modify button then disable the preview pane in the Other Settings dialog. If you want the customized view to apply to all folders using the view, you should use Define Views then select the view by name, not "current view". Customizing "current view" generally only applies to the view on the current folder, not all folders using the view.

When you create custom views, you have four view types to choose from: Table, Timeline, Card, Day/Week/Month and Icon. While some view types are more appropriate for specific folder types, such as Day/Week/Month for Calendar or Icon for Notes, you can create a view for any folder using any of the view types. For example, the Day/Week/Month view works well for Tasks, with your tasks appearing in a calendar grid instead of a list.

The filtering capability in Views is very powerful yet often underused. When filters are set using the Filter button, you can show only messages meeting certain conditions, while filtering with Automatic Formatting lets you colorize or change the font of messages meeting your criteria.

I'll show you how to create two different views for your message folders using filters. These views can easily be adapted for use with any Outlook folder.

The first view will show all messages received less than a month ago. Begin by opening the Define Views dialog, from the View | Current View dialog. Select and copy the Message View. After naming the view, the View Summary dialog opens. Select Filter... and go to the Advanced Filter tab. Click the Field button and choose Received from the Date/Time menu. Next, select 'on or after' in the Condition field and type "last month" (without the quotes) in the Value field then press the Add to List button. Like many fields throughout Outlook, you use can natural language queries with this dialog, such as "last month" or "30 days ago" instead of a formula. Ok your way out and apply the view. All messages older than one month are hidden from view.