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Microsoft Office is an integrated suite of applications that includes Outlook, Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Visio and InfoPath, along with a number of tools to assist in making the individual components work together. Coding within and between the projects is done in Visual Basic for Applications, known as VBA.

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Outlook for dependable use in a very small business

 

This article is about using the Outlook application (part of Microsoft Office) in a very small business, or for homeowners where dependability and reliability are critical requirements. This is more of a descriptive article than a “how-to” article so there are few screen shots. 

 

As background, I use Outlook because (a) it works and (b) it is a very common email application for computers. I use POP3 and not IMAP because (a) I want my email on my computer and (b) I have outlived many IMAP vendors. I want email on my terms, not someone else’s. I have looked at IMAP but decided against it. Thus far, I have not had reason to regret my decision. 

 

I keep Outlook on two computers so that all received email is on both computers going back to 1996. I keep Sent email on my laptop as I travel around with it. I can always transfer Sent mail to the other computer if I need it. I understand IMAP might solve these issues but I have decided against it for the reasons above.

 

What do I mean by dependability and critical requirements?

 

The same email address “forever”: This is a critical requirement for me. I have had the same email address since 1996. I have no interest in changing it. Since I change ISP companies and they come and go, using an ISP’s email system is not something I can do. If Microsoft had come along in 1996 with Outlook.com, I might have an outlook.com email address but Microsoft was late to the game and I had already decided on a portable email address back then.

 

My end email vendor is a tiny little company in Toronto and I know the players personally. I can call them on the phone when there is an issue. If email is available, they will respond to me very quickly. Most people cannot do this, but I like the capability it offers me. Once in a while they take their customers to dinner and a beer at a local pub. I meet other email customers at the same time. 

 

No spam: Another critical requirement is I do not want spam. And now more than ever, spam is a source of ransomware. I do not want it in my inbox at all. Most users think that they can block ransomware with tools on the computer. Maybe (only Maybe). Blocking spam is the very best way to stop ransomware. 

 

So now there is some complexity. 

 

For email address portability, I use Mail.com. I started using it when it was Four11.com, and when it claimed to be “free forever”. Ha! I continued when it became Iname.com and it was still free. I continue now as Mail.com and pay to use the forwarding service ($30 per year). I forward my email to my current email vendor. My email vendor used to change more often then I changed socks some years back (at least so it seemed to me). Then I found my current email vendor about 20 years ago. They came (more or less) out of Internex.com – one of Toronto’s first consumer Internet vendors. I had the best email address in the world: io.org. It couldn’t last and it didn’t.

 

Let us return to the issue of spam. Mail.com has one of the best email filtering systems there is. It was not always this way, but for the last 10 years they have been top notch. I might see a spam email every other month or even less. I see about 10 emails a month in my spam folder. The rest gets dumped into the bit bucket by spam filtering or grey listing. I am not aware of losing any email that I have not seen, including in the spam folder. 

 

The Mail.com filtering is so effective that regular email from joe@abc.next comes into my inbox, but if Joe’s computer has been compromised or his email address spoofed, the email from joe@abc.next that says “You need to read this www.link.next” goes to spam. Of course, clicking on the link (if it got into your inbox) hoses your computer.

 

My Toronto vendor uses both grey listing and Spam Assassin. Spam Assassin is a good tool and I get essentially no spam from this system. Grey listing is a box or application that looks at incoming email and looks back at the IP address that sent it. If that IP address is not identifiable, the email is not accepted. I have had grey listing running for over 15 years and I am not aware of any lost emails. 

 

Allow me to underscore the point on spam. Eliminating spam is the most important weapon in eliminating ransomware. 

 

Email organization: I get a lot of email and so I keep my Inbox tiny (never more than 50 emails) and I put email into folders as soon I get it or shortly thereafter. I have just over 120 folders. The names are all meaningful so I see no need to use subfolders and there are no subfolders to my Inbox. Email organization is a personal thing and I organize my email to fit myself. Your mileage may vary (YMMV if you come out of the days of DOS).

 

Email archiving: Rule 1 – Archive your email. It works and it is silly not to use the Archive function. Take a look in here (Experts Exchange) – Email is slow, sluggish, broken (take your pick). How big is your email file? I ask. 40 GB. Duh!

 

Open Outlook, File, Options, Advanced, Auto Archive Settings. See below:

 

 

I auto archive every 30 days, archive everything older than 10 months, and never delete old items. At somewhat irregular intervals, I archive into a new file. I have 6 archive PST files plus my current email PST file, all of which are below 2 GB. 

 

One trick / defect of Outlook is that the folder archive option is normally not on by default. I think that is because most people keep email in their Inbox. I do not. So, two things:

 

1. Go to the Properties of each folder and make sure the Archive Option is ON


2. Go back to the main Archive options and select Archive Now. 

                            

Contacts: I keep my Contacts in the Contact folder by individual. It is a big mistake to assume Auto Complete will never go wrong. It will go wrong, precisely at the wrong time for you. Use Contacts. I do not archive contacts. 

 

Calendar: I live from my calendar. I make appointments for everything I do, keep a brief description of what must done in the appointment line, and keep notes and expenses in the note area of the calendar item. I do archive calendar items. 

 

I have done this for years, before Blackberries and iPhones. When I got my first smart phone (a Blackberry) I began to sync Contacts and Calendars (all items in the current PST file but not archives) and now have this readily available on my smart phone. 

 

Sync to Smart Phone: My current phone is an iPhone SE (6s) and I use iTunes to sync the items. It means my iPhone tells me where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to do. This is outstanding organization when I am busy and nothing can be left to chance. Syncing to iTunes also backs it up, so if my phone is damaged (happened once) a new phone can be set up in minutes. 

 

 

 

Outlook Main Screen Organization:  I keep a traditional organization screen – folder tree on the left, Inbox top middle, Preview bottom middle and calendar on the right. I know where things are, what my current email is and where I am supposed to be. 

 

 

Keeping email on two computers using POP3:  There are several ways to do this. I use POP Peeper (esumsoft.com) as an email daemon to see if there is email, action Experts Exchange email without downloading it and deleting trivial email I do not need to keep. I set Outlook on both computers to never delete email. When I have it on both computers, I delete with POP Peeper. 

 

I never send email from my desktop computer, only from my Laptop. So, my laptop has all email – received and sent email. My desktop has all the received email. Accordingly, I need only back up my main PST on my laptop about monthly or when I am going away for a week or so.

 

Doing all the above takes a bit of incremental time, but practice (more than 15 years of it) makes it easy and provides me with a powerful organizational tool that is fast and efficient (because I archive) and tells me what I need to be doing (Calendar). I can easily get a Contact on the phone because I sync via iTunes (Contacts). 

 

I trust the above will help you use Outlook more effectively.

 


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by:David Atkin
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A good and insightful read that, thank you John.
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by:John Hurst
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Thanks David. There is a void in this area which is why I wrote it.
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Office 365 Training for IT Pros
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Office 365 Training for IT Pros

Learn how to provision tenants, synchronize on-premise Active Directory, implement Single Sign-On, customize Office deployment, and protect your organization with eDiscovery and DLP policies.  Only from Platform Scholar.

This article describes how to use a set of graphical playing cards to create a Draw Poker game in Excel or VB6.
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by:Shums
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Great Expert with great mind
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by:Martin Liss
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Thanks.
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This article describes how you can use Custom Document Properties to store settings and other information in your workbook so that they will be available the next time you open the workbook.
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Warning
This article describes a serious pitfall that can happen when deleting shapes using VBA.
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This article describes how to import an Outlook PST file to Office 365 using a third party product to avoid Microsoft's Azure command line tool, saving you time.
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I was prompted to write this article after the recent World-Wide Ransomware outbreak. For years now, System Administrators around the world have used the excuse of "Waiting a Bit" before applying Security Patch Updates. This type of reasoning to me is flawed and borders on irresponsible behavior!
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by:SpiderlinK
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Sometimes we will get "The update is not applicable to your computer" when updating the patches as well; so Wait a bit :)
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by:Andrew Leniart
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Hi SpiderlinK, thank you for your comment.  I've found that failure to often be a result of being behind in issued Service Packs. A patch will often fail on a Service Pack 1 or 2 installation if a SP3 has been released.

Best..
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My attempt to use PowerShell and other great resources found online to simplify the deployment of Office 365 ProPlus client components to any workstation that needs it, regardless of existing Office components that may be needing attention.
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Author Comment

by:Greg Besso
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So IMO this is a great example of a project where you can "divide and conquer". You have a few different parts...

First, you have your method of deploying Office 365 ProPlus. This article shows my method of getting that done. Just download the scripts, tweak them to meet your needs/environment, and then it's all set.

Second, you have the "how will I install this remotely on many computers" step. For me, I rolled my own SCCM type of solution which is a set of scripts that I also have up on my blog that I called "PSMANAGE" scripts. It's an evolving project of mine, but check it out if you like.

Another tool I used to push out software remotely was this PS Tools PsExec.exe. You could remotely push a command to any workstation that was online, such as telling it to run your silentInstall.bat file. Check that out also:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/pstools.aspx
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by:Senior IT System Engineer
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Thanks, Greg, you are amazing :-)
let us know once you've shared the new script of yours.
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Enroll in June's Course of the Month

June’s Course of the Month is now available! Experts Exchange’s Premium Members, Team Accounts, and Qualified Experts have access to a complimentary course each month as part of their membership—an extra way to sharpen your skills and increase training.

You need to know the location of the Office templates folder, so that when you create new templates, they are saved to that location, and thus are available for selection when creating new documents. The steps to find the Templates folder path are given for Office versions from 2003 through 2016.
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by:Helen Feddema
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I will see if I can get that information.
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by:Helen Feddema
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David -- this is most curious.  For Access 2010, the location for database templates is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033\Access.  But for Access 2016, it is C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Templates\1033\Access\Part.  I have 64-bit Office and Windows, in case that makes a difference (it probably does).
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How to get Spreadsheet Compare 2016 working with the 64 bit version of Office 2016
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Decision Making
When you see single cell contains number and text, and you have to get any date out of it seems like cracking our heads.
25
 

Expert Comment

by:abbey Law
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Wow! This is impressive and so clear to understand. Thank you for sharing your invaluable knowledge :)
1
 

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by:Aamir Hussain
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A simple and excellent solution of the complicated question. Well done Mr.Shums :-)
1
Excel can be a tricky bit of software to get your head around. Whilst you’ll be able to eventually get to grips with the basic understanding of how to get by, there are a few Excel tips that not everybody will even know about let alone know how to do.
25
 

Expert Comment

by:abbey Law
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Your knowledge of Excel is impeccable. Being new to Excel myself and only just learning the basics, this article is extremely useful. I look forward to your future articles, thank you once again for sharing your knowledge with is!
1
 

Expert Comment

by:Aamir Hussain
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A very good cooperative and professional expert.Always give new idea with excellent logic .
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Outlook Free & Paid Tools
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My experience with Windows 10 over a one year period and suggestions for smooth operation
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by:Eirman
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Great article  - Added to my KB
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by:John Hurst
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Thank you!  I appreciate your support.
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This article will guide you to convert a grid from a picture into Excel format using Microsoft OneNote and no other 3rd party application.
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In this article we discuss how to recover the missing Outlook 2011 for Mac data like Emails and Contacts manually.
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Revamp Your Training Process
Revamp Your Training Process

Drastically shorten your training time with WalkMe's advanced online training solution that Guides your trainees to action.

Using Word 2013, I was experiencing some incredible lag when typing.  Here's what worked for me....
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by:Nick67
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Out of curiosity, how did you even come to the initial correlation of checking video hardware acceleration?
I can't speak for the author, but that's an old bugaboo from circa 2000.
Compaq Presarios would GPF under Simply Accounting if Hardware Acceleration was left turned on.
Now, why an accounting program or a word processor should screw up if a setting that should rightfully apply to gaming is turned on, your guess is as good as mine -- but while that was the first, I doubt it will be the last.

Now that this has come back to mind, I have one triple monitor system with Simply Accounting that has some lag in rendering.  I'll have to go try the old fix -- nothing else has worked!
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by:Joseph Hornsey
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Nick67 is right... I ran into problems with hardware acceleration a long, long time ago in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.  I still didn't make the connection until I started going through all the settings in Word and saw this particular one.

Quite frankly, I only messed with it out of sheer desperation.  I mean, two overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780's with SLI can't handle Microsoft Word?  LOL
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Recently Microsoft released a brand new function called CONCAT. It's supposed to replace its predecessor CONCATENATE. But how does it work? And what's new? In this article, we take a closer look at all of this - we even included an exercise file for you to try out.
2
This article will show you how to use shortcut menus in the Access run-time environment.
1
Since upgrading to Office 2013 or higher installing the Smart Indenter addin will fail. This article will explain how to install it so it will work regardless of the Office version installed.
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by:Jim Horn
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If you could add a paragraph painting a picture of what you just said then we'll be good.
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LVL 66

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by:Jim Horn
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Nicely written.  I'm currently in an Oracle shop that has a wompload of .xml, .sql, and Java files that are used to build a monster data warehouse where using a tool like this is very important for supporting code.  

Voted Yes.
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Desktop
No matter the version of Windows you are using, you may have some problems with Windows Search running too slow or possibly not running at all. Before jumping into how you can solve this issue, just know there are many other viable alternative desktop search options out there.
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by:Jim Horn
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Nicely illustrated and reads very well.  Voted Yes.
0
 

Expert Comment

by:geolemon
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Great article - thanks!

I wish Microsoft would recognize the real problem they keep causing, however-

Despite ANYTHING I say, my girlfriend would rather dismiss the "Upgrade to Windows 10 for free!" notification in her task tray than actually upgrade, for fear that it'll break more than it improves...
...exactly things like this.

So also at a domestic level, thanks - this will help me avoid the "I told you so!" when I finally raise the nerve to convince her to pull the trigger on that upgrade.
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Entering a date in Microsoft Access can be tricky. A typo can cause month and day to be shuffled, entering the day only causes an error, as does entering, say, day 31 in June. This article shows how an inputmask supported by code can help the user and avoid errors.
1
 
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
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Depends on the street - there is a world outside the US Try and explain it to the full 73 percent of American citizens are incapable of identifying their home country on a map of the United States. :->
http://recoilmag.com/poll-73-percent-of-americans-unable-to-locate-america-on-map-of-america-2/
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by:Gustav Brock
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Great. On the other hand, extremely few Europeans can point out all the states of the US. Most can label Hawaii, Alaska, California, and Florida, perhaps Texas, but that's it.

/gustav
0

Microsoft Office

58K

Solutions

124

Articles & Videos

39K

Contributors

Microsoft Office is an integrated suite of applications that includes Outlook, Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Visio and InfoPath, along with a number of tools to assist in making the individual components work together. Coding within and between the projects is done in Visual Basic for Applications, known as VBA.