3 Deep Tweaks for Outlook 2013 Obsessives

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No one would blame you for being smitten with Outlook 2013 right out of the box. With its clean, simple interface, and seamless integration of email, contacts, calendars, and RSS feeds, what’s not to love?

But maybe you’re an inveterate tweaker, an obsessive who just can’t help adjusting settings and display options to make software work exactly how you want.

If so, you’re among friends.

Here are three deep tweaks you’ll want to know about.

1. Create a Custom Search Folder

It’s pretty common to create folders to organize emails in Outlook. What’s new, however, is the Search Folder option.

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A search folder is special folder you can set up with customized search criteria, such as emails to or from your boss.

Once you set it up, the folder automatically refreshes with items that fit the specified criteria.

Here’s how to set up a search folder.

1. Click on the Folder tab of the ribbon.

2. Click the New Search Folder button in the ribbon (see the image above). This will load the Search Folder dialog window.

3. Choose the options you want the folder to contain and click OK.

You can even set the filters by email size.. If you have RSS feeds in the same folder as the inbox you’re searching, they will show as well.

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2. Change Your Theme

One of the easiest ways to make Outlook 2013 your own is to change the theme.

Outlook 2013 gives you the ability to quickly apply preset themes to give it a new look and color palette.

Here’s how to change your theme.

1. Click on the File tab of the ribbon.

2. Click the “Office Account” link in the sidebar.

3. Change the Office Background, via the dropdown box.

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As you scroll over each background, a preview will appear in the top right corner of the window.

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4. Change the theme by choosing from one of the three options.

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3. Get More from the Status Bar

The Status Bar — at the very bottom of the Outlook 2013 window — houses a wealth of information.

The default setting includes:

  • total items
  • unread count
  • update status
  • zoom bar.

You can control what shows here by right-clicking the status bar’s View button. This brings up a menu that allows you to check or uncheck different items. You can select more items if you need more information, or uncheck items to save room.

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Whatever the case, this can help you get only the information you need out of Outlook without cluttering up the interface with things you don’t care about.

Bonus Tweak

Okay, so this is less of a tweak and more of a tip, but I think it’s important enough to be on the list.

Many times in the past I’ve been included on an email with a few other people and after the first or second email my part is done, but since I was copied on the original, I get all the future replies, no matter if I want them or not.

In the past, you only had one option here: Ask everyone to remove you.

With Outlook 2013 you can actually hide all current and future emails in a conversation by simply right-clicking and choosing “Ignore” from the menu.

This will bring a warning up letting you know that all future emails will be ignored in that conversation. Click the Ignore Conversation button to complete the process.

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All future emails in the conversation will go directly to the Deleted Items folder in Outlook.
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