|Getting the Most out of Outlook
Express (1) from the January 2000 Actrix
by Rob Zorn
|This article is written mainly for those literally thousands who have joined the Actrix community over the last few months and who may be new to the internet and to email. In coming newsletters I hope to deal briefly with other email programs and also with browsers such as Explorer and Netscape.|
|At Actrix we don't always endorse everything Microsoft does. In particular we believe that approaches like their "Dob in a friend who might be using pirated software" are exactly what the world needs less of, but with Outlook Express, most of us here will say they have produced a winner. It's a program that suits the average email user perfectly. It enables you to sort and manage your email with ease without its becoming too powerful or cumbersome (like its bigger and less popular brother Outlook). Like most Microsoft products, it is reasonably simple to use. It usually comes bundled with Windows and it is freely available from the Microsoft Update site (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/default.htm and then click Product Updates) or courtesy of Actrix as part of the downloadable Internet Explorer 5 program. Downloading IE5 from the Customer Services section of the Actrix Web site is a great way of updating both programs from version 4 to version 5 at the same time. This is certainly recommended if you haven't done it already.|
|Getting to know the Internet and e-mail is a
real adventure. At the help desk it is always a pleasure to deal with newcomers who are
still coming to grips with how to send, receive, sort and save their email. They have so
much yet to discover! So this article isn't going to cover everything that Outlook Express
can do. Where would the fun be in that? Instead it is designed to point you at some of
Outlook Express's features that you can experiment with at your leisure. I will also try
to stick mostly to the features that Outlook Express 4 and Outlook Express 5 have in
Whether you love or hate Microsoft, there is definite value to the fact that so many of their programs are organised similarly. Like Word, FrontPage and most of the others, Outlook Express has an Options section that is easy to find and work with. It mostly consists of a series of tick boxes allowing you to choose which features you'd like to employ. It's a good idea and a learning experience to experiment with some of these options. If you're not sure what an option will do, tick or untick it and experiment with your email. It just might be a good idea to remember which ones you're experimenting with so that if you don't like something you can easily go back to the way things were. Remember, too, that Microsoft products generally come with very good Help features.
The Options section can be found by clicking the Tools menu near the top and to the left in Outlook Express when no email is open. I don't think I need to explain every option that can be found. Most are pretty self-explanatory, but here are a few suggestions:
Some things that are particularly fun to experiment with:
|The Address Book: This is a really handy feature that saves time and typing errors. Click the address book icon at the top of Outlook Express to open it. You can add new people to your Address Book by clicking on the "New" button. You can select someone from your list by double-clicking them. A new email will then open with their email address already in the "To" field.|
nicknames is the best feature of the Address Book. By giving a correspondent a simple
nickname such as "Bill," Outlook Express will add his complete email address
whenever you simply type "Bill" into the "To" field. You can add
someone to your address book manually, but an easier way is to open an email from them,
and click Tools in the open email, and then Add to Address Book. There are lots of tabs
and features within the Address Book, and, again, you are encouraged to experiment.
Multiple Accounts: With Outlook Express you can
manage more than one account, and, using the Tools/Accounts feature, you can set it up to
check your main account, all your mailboxes, and even email accounts with other ISPs
without having to log off and re-dial. You will need to know names of pop and smtp servers
to check accounts with others ISPs, but once you're familiar with how Outlook Express
works and thinks, this sort of stuff is mostly a snap. And, of course, there's always the
Actrix Support Desk.
Go for it! Outlook Express yourself!