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Outlook Tips

Set a time interval to check for messages

When you want to check your snail mail, you don't have to go to the post office to see if there's anything new, right? The mail carrier delivers it right to your door, at about the same time every day. So why should email be any different? Rather than hitting Send And Receive to get your new email messages, just have Outlook check for new messages regularly on its own. Ah, it's like an assistant who works for free. Click Tools, Options, and select the Mail Delivery tab. Select the option Check For New Messages Every, and enter a time interval in the box. Ten minutes is a good place to start. Click OK. Now Outlook will check your mail for you every ten minutes.

Change background color

A reader asks, "When I send email in HTML format, the default background color is gray. Is there a way to change the default background color to white?" Yes, there is--you just have to modify the stationery that Outlook is using. Select Tools, Options, and then click the Mail Format tab. Under Stationery And Fonts, click the Stationery Picker button. Here you can create new stationery or modify the one you're currently using. To modify the current stationery, click Edit. Under Background, select the Do Not Include A Background In This Stationery radio button. Then, click OK three times.

Whole Lotta Rules!

You can set Outlook to automatically file away certain messages as soon as they arrive. This nifty approach to message management is called a rule. Basically, you define characteristics for Outlook to look for in all incoming messages and tell the program what to do with messages that match those criteria. Start with a message already in your Inbox. Highlight the message and click the Organize button. The pane displays drop-down menus that contain folder names, the sender's name, and instructions for managing e-mail sent from or to that person.