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Outlook Email Settings and Options

This page (forever) in process  ;-)

Emails bouncing?  See our October '14 newsletter.
Outlook not checking email often enough? (the default is 30 minutes)  See Outlook Intervals   

This page you will find information on:

Account settings

Images and information based on Outlook 2013 - other versions are similar.

Setting up

When you open Outlook for the first time after installation, it will prompt you for the email account setup.  You can use the Wizard or manually set up by clicking this option at the bottom of the second page (then click next).

Wizard ("Auto Account Setup")

Many accounts such as Google, Yahoo, Live, Hotmail and other major online email accounts may be set up using the Account Wizard, but some have special settings that need to first be set at the server. 

Gmail for example has a setting called Allow less secure apps (or something along those lines).  That needs to be turned on before Outlook can communicate with the Gmail server.

However, if you have your own domain name, chances are good you will have to use the manual setup procedures.  Check with your mail provider for the (server) details.

Manual setup

If manually setting up or adding an account, you can do it from within Outlook unless it is a Microsoft "Exchange" account.

If the new account will be an Microsoft Exchange account, you must close Outlook and from the Control Panel, open the Mail icon then proceed from there.

From the File menu click Add Account button or select Account Settings then Account Settings again (well thought out).

accounts

Select the type of account you are setting up. 

  • Exchange Server for large businesses.  Have your IT department set things up.
  • POP has been common for many years, but Imap is becoming more popular these days.  See Pop vs. Imap in our May '13 newsletter.
    We prefer POP so we always have a local copy of everything.
  • Hotmail, Live and other Microsoft accounts (now called Outlook.com) have their own setup Wizard.

Click the Next button for the settings page...

 

Here you supply all the necessary information for the account.

Most fields are self-explanatory.  The Your Name field is what people see when receiving your email.

For the server information, contact your email provider.  See below...

The User Name field is typically the entire email address but will not default to that.  Be sure to correct it as necessary.

Very few email accounts use the Require SPA option (near the bottom).  Check that only if your provider tells you to.

Once the basic information is filled in, the More Settings button becomes available.

 

Note: If you have your own domain name your email servers hopefully use the mail.domain.com syntax.  If not, it's certainly worth talking to them about!  If you ever need to login using a web browser, remembering your domain is a whole lot easier than your host's server name.

More settings

In More Settings you probably have to turn on the option to Authenticate in the Outgoing Server (second) tab.  And if your provider requires non-standard port settings, you would make those changes in the Advanced (third) tab.

Once the account is complete, click Next and the account is tested.  If the test fails, contact the provider and walk through the settings to find the error.  A very common mistake when setting up accounts is to apply the SPA encryption option. 

Be sure to check the Reply E-Mail address if you have multiple email accounts...

Leave on server

In the account settings > Advanced tab (above), you can have Outlook leave a copy of all messages on the providers server.  Unless you have some sort of forwarding setup, this is required if you want received multiple computers and/or other devices.  But it is important one of the computers or devices remove the messages eventually, otherwise you may exceed your provider's maximum storage.  The easiest way to remove the old messages is to set the remove after xx days option.

See our May '13 newsletter for more information about full mail boxes.

See our June '16 newsletter for more information about possible logon issues/two-step process for web-based email with a local client.

Multiple Accounts?

If you have multiple accounts setup in Outlook, they will each have their own separate set of folders (Inbox, Deleted, Sent, etc. - see below) and while this initially make sense, you may find it very frustrating to look through multiple inboxes for new messages. 

So if you would like to funnel all messages into a specific account's boxes, you will need to change the storage location    Once that is done, you may want to set up some Rules (see below)...

File Menu > Account Settings (then Account Settings again) you will see the window shown to the right. 

Select the account of interest then click the Change Folder button (lower left). 

That opens this window where you then expand the desired account to find and then select the inbox... 

Notice (above) is where you can also set the default account and can change the order of the accounts by selecting one then click the up or down button.

 

Advanced Settings

Most email providers now require authentication but no encryption settings.  Most email clients (applications) have a similar setting...

Turn on authentication by checking this option

Do not turn on encryption or change port settings unless your email provider specifically requires them. 

As much as you may want encrypted email messages, this setting is a mandated (or not) by the provider's server.

Typical ports are 110 and 25.  In our example, our provider is requiring port 2525

Folders

Images and information based on Outlook 2013.  Outlook '07 and 10 are similar, but earlier version are slightly different and not discussed...

As discussed above, Outlook can have a variety of accounts, each one having its own set of folder (Inbox, Deleted, Sent, etc.)  

To see (or hide) the accountant's individual folders, you would click the little arrow (circled in green). 

So (shown below), we have expanded the bcs@bergesch.com folder to reveal all folders under that account.  We then expanded the Inbox folder to reveal the various other folders we have created.

For the various folders we created Rules (discussed below) to move messages to or from specific accounts to their appropriate folder for storage.

 

Creating subfolder is simply done by right clicking the Inbox or whatever folder you wish to have a subfolder under, then click New Folder.

Also notice the options available when right clicking a folder, include...

  • Create a subfolder (New Folder)
  • Copy then entire folder
  • Mark everything as read
  • Cleanup and Delete all (caution!)
  • Show in favorites
  • Move the folder up or down the list
  • Folder properties

Standard folders (Inbox, Deleted, etc.)  cannot be renamed, deleted or moved but any folders you have created can be...

Folders you have created can be deleted or moved to other accounts and/or under other account folders.

If you delete, move or rename a folder and had a Rule (below) applied to that folder, the Rule will need to be edited...

 
Folder Columns

If you have setup multiple accounts and a rule to move everything to a single folder, you probably would like to see what account the message came in from.

Right click the folder's column heading, select Field Chooser.  In the Field Chooser, change the top option to All Mail Fields as shown, then drag the "E-mail Accounts" field from the field chooser box to the column heading area.

You can also move columns around by clicking the heading (hold the click) then drag to the desired position.  Below we are about to move the E-mail Accounts field left of the To field...


Click, hold and drag the desired field to the column heading...
Saving files in

You can, if desired, drag and drop various files into Outlook folders for storage.  Here we have saved a couple of PDF files in one of our Outlook folders. 

So while you can do this, it's probably not the best method to save and organize data files.  The reason is Outlook stores those files plus all of your emails, appointments, contacts, etc. in a single "PST" file.  That file can quickly become extremely large causing performance issues.  Plus if that file becomes corrupt, you may lose a lot of data.

See Outlook issues article (below) for information on storage, repairing PST files, etc.

Rules

You can set up rules in Outlook to do all kinds of work with incoming and outgoing messages.  The handiest rule we have is to move messages from our Inbox to specific other folders we have setup. 

So for example, when an email comes in through our Lions account, the message is copied to our Lions folder.  We can then read and delete from our inbox but still maintain a copy.  We could of course move to begin with but we just find this best.  See also Outlook Archiving below in this article.

One common problem - if you use a rule to move a message, it no longer exists in the inbox so you may not even know it arrived!  Better to copy as they arrive so there's still one in the inbox...

From the Home tab, select Rules then Manage Rules and Alerts.
(Or right click any message and select Rules then Manage Rules).

Then New Rule

New Rule then prompts you with this screen where you can select a few predetermined rules or where you you can create your own by starting a blank rule.  Starting a blank rule then walks you through a variety of options.

 

So for example, if you are setting up a rule to move messages from a specific account to a specific folder, you checkmark the through the specified account option then click the word specified (bottom section) and a small window pops up with your account choices (not shown).

Select the account, click OK then click next.

Next (not shown). The Wizard continues to walk you through all kinds of actions that can occur with the message including moving to a specified folder. 

Read the choices carefully.

When you are finished, the rule description then looks something like below, where this one is the description for a rule we created that copies sent items to our Lions folder...

 

 Note: 

  • You can apply multiple actions to each rule, for example, we could of also had the rule mark the message as read after moving it.
 
Rules as a junk filter

Recently we've been getting email messages from blablabla@bla.click, .website, .xyz, etc. (and probably a lot more to come).

Because the senders name changes with each, blocking the "sender" does no good.  Instead, setup a rule to move anything with that domain to the junk folder.  Make sure to choose move and not move a copy...

If you're really confident you can certainly set the rule to simply delete the message...

New message

By default the BCC field is not turned on.  To see that field in Outlook 13, open a new message, then from the Options tab, click BCC.  You can then simply close that new message and Outlook remembers the setting...

If you installed a new version or reinstalled the current version, Outlook no longer has the sent history, i.e., will not auto-fill names.  Also signatures may be gone...  See below

How smart?

Thought it was interesting when I had an email saying "see attached" then forgot to attach something, Outlook reminded me.

 

Archiving

If you use Outlook you can archive old messages.  This is especially important if you have an older version and/or keep a lot of messages with attachments.  Older versions have a very limited data file size and as you near that maximum, Outlook will lock up or experience other odd behavior...

Archiving moves (when setup correctly) a copy of everything to a completely different storage file, thereby keeping old emails and maintaining the main data storage file size in safe limits.


Very easy:  Tools > Options > Other tab > AutoArchive then change the settings as desired.  Note: To keep the old messages available, be sure to use the Move rather than Delete option.

Compacting: If you do store a lot of messages, it might be a good idea to compact the data file once or twice a year.  This must be done with Outlook closed and it will take some time...

Not shown...
In the Control Panel find and open Mail.  (May be Mail32)

Select Data files, select the file marked as the Default

Click Settings then click Compact Now.


Go have lunch...

Newer versions of Outlook you will find archiving under the Folder tab.

Folder tab

Junk Mail Settings

Everyone gets junk mail.  In Outlook (and most email clients) you can right click a message and add that sender to the junk mail (blocked) list, but doing so adds that particular email address to the blocked list.

Unfortunately, junk mail typically is sent via some arbitrary email address, e.g., 1234@whateverdomina.com then the next day send 1235@whateverdomina.com which is then a completely different email sender.

So instead of doing that day after day, if everything from that particular domain is truly junk mail, block the entire domain.

Go into junk mail settings > blocked senders.

Click Add then enter the domain itself as in our example ->

Be sure not to add legitimate domains.  If for example you add @yahoo.com, all messages from yahoo.com will end up in the junk folder...

 

Auto-archive

This is NOT backing up anything (see below), but archiving is a good way to keep a lot of messages and attachments while reducing the overall size of your main data file.

Autoarchive for the entire Outlook data file can be found under Tools menu older versions and the Folder tab newer versions, but if you want to archive individual folders, right click the desired folder > properties > autoarchive.

That is how you can change the settings for a specific folder.  In our example below, we are archiving the Chamber folder every 4 months.  An important stop to reducing the size of our main data file, we are moving old stuff.  If we ever need to look back, we can simply open that file and see those old messages...

Compress the data file

If you are having or ever had problems with Outlook, you may be best to repair the data file first (see above).

Don't be in a hurry!  This process may take a long time...

Close Outlook.  Mail icon from the Control Panel, click Data Files > then the account of interest > Settings and there you will find the compact button.  

Outlook Backup

Outlook can be made to backup every xx days but first you need to install this add-in from Microsoft which covers all Outlook versions 2002 to 2010 (even though 2010 is not listed): http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=9003  

If you have Outlook 2010, there is a minor “FixIt” found about half way down this page: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2030523  

Where are my signatures

Like auto-complete above, anytime you update (ore reinstall) Outlook, your signatures may not appear.  In a new message, click the Signature button then Signatures.  That opens a window where you can assign signatures to the various accounts.

Photos

Turn showing of contact photos on or off:  File menu > Options > People tab and look at the options

Calendar

Printing hints, see out Nov '17 newsletter

Copy Appointments to non-standard calendar

From this Slipstick article: If you have multiple accounts/calendars, e.g., Live.com or Outlook.com, you can send a copy of new appointments to that non-standard calendar by pasting the code shown below to a new project.

If problems, be sure to look under Tools>References and make sure the items shown below are checked.

Outlook Project

Alt+F11 in Outlook and paste this to a new project.  Close then reopen Outlook.  Be sure to change the xxx@xxx line to whatever that other email address is.  You can also change "FWD:" to whatever you wish, but don't change anything else.

Dim WithEvents curCal As Items
Dim newCalFolder As Outlook.Folder

Private Sub Application_Startup()
Dim NS As Outlook.NameSpace
Set NS = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI")
' calendar to watch for new items
Set curCal = NS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderCalendar).Items
' calendar moving copy to
Set newCalFolder = GetFolderPath("\\xxxx@xxxxx.com\Calendar")

Set NS = Nothing
End Sub

Private Sub curCal_ItemAdd(ByVal Item As Object)
Dim cAppt As AppointmentItem
Dim moveCal As AppointmentItem

On Error Resume Next

'remove to make a copy of all items
'If Item.BusyStatus = olBusy Then
' Item.Body = Item.Body & "[" & GetGUID & "]"
Item.Save

Set cAppt = Application.CreateItem(olAppointmentItem)

With cAppt
.Subject = "FWD: " & Item.Subject
.Start = Item.Start
.Duration = Item.Duration
.Location = Item.Location
.Body = Item.Body
End With

' set the category after it's moved to force EAS to sync changes
Set moveCal = cAppt.Move(newCalFolder)
moveCal.Categories = "moved"
moveCal.Save
' End If
'Stop
End Sub


Private Sub curCal_ItemChange(ByVal Item As Object)
Dim cAppt As AppointmentItem
Dim objAppointment As AppointmentItem

On Error Resume Next

' use 2 + the length of the GUID
strBody = Right(Item.Body, 38)

For Each objAppointment In newCalFolder.Items
If InStr(1, objAppointment.Body, strBody) Then
Set cAppt = objAppointment
End If
Next


With cAppt
.Subject = "FWD: " & Item.Subject
.Start = Item.Start
.Duration = Item.Duration
.Location = Item.Location
.Body = Item.Body
.Save
End With

End Sub


Private Sub curCal_ItemRemove()
Dim cAppt As AppointmentItem
Dim objAppointment As AppointmentItem
Dim strBody As String

On Error Resume Next

' use 2 + the length of the GUID
strBody = Right(Item.Body, 38)

For Each objAppointment In newCalFolder.Items
If InStr(1, objAppointment.Body, strBody) Then
Set cAppt = objAppointment
cAppt.Delete
End If
Next

End Sub


Public Function GetGUID() As String
GetGUID = Mid$(CreateObject("Scriptlet.TypeLib").GUID, 2, 36)
End Function


Function GetFolderPath(ByVal FolderPath As String) As Outlook.Folder
Dim oFolder As Outlook.Folder
Dim FoldersArray As Variant
Dim i As Integer

On Error GoTo GetFolderPath_Error
If Left(FolderPath, 2) = "\\" Then
FolderPath = Right(FolderPath, Len(FolderPath) - 2)

End If
'Convert folderpath to array
FoldersArray = Split(FolderPath, "\")
Set oFolder = Application.Session.Folders.Item(FoldersArray(0))
If Not oFolder Is Nothing Then
For i = 1 To UBound(FoldersArray, 1)
Dim SubFolders As Outlook.Folders
Set SubFolders = oFolder.Folders
Set oFolder = SubFolders.Item(FoldersArray(i))
If oFolder Is Nothing Then
Set GetFolderPath = Nothing
End If
Next
End If
'Return the oFolder
Set GetFolderPath = oFolder
Exit Function

GetFolderPath_Error:
Set GetFolderPath = Nothing
Exit Function
End Function

Outlook issues

Outlook, over the years, has had a variety of problems and issues.   Some can be simply resolved by using Windows Update then check for new updates.  Pending Office updates are not likely listed as Important or Critical so look in the Windows Update "other updates available" option...  Lot of good information here.

Outlook links broken

If you find Outlook no longer opens links from an email message or you receive an error message like:   This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator. 

Go to the Microsoft Fix It site and click the Fix it button.  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310049

If you still have problems, try uninstalling (at least temporarily) whatever third party browser you may have, e.g., Chrome, Firefox, etc...

Outlook-Registry adjustments

Outlook stores all of your data (messages, contacts, calendar, etc.) in one single file having a PST extension. 

These PST files have a maximum size and as you near the threshold, Outlook becomes unstable and may even lock up.  See repairing the data

These are roughly:

Note: If you are unable to access your data in the earlier versions, Microsoft has this tool that may allow you to recover some data.  

Here are some tweaks that can be applied to the windows registry.  You need to save this download to your computer, extract the three registry files then Open and Merge THE CORRECTED ONE for your version: OutlookReg.zip

Entries made to the registry from the above look something like this:

If you prefer, you can make these changes manually, see this Microsoft article.

Related Microsoft article: Reduce the size of Outlook data files and Outlook backup utility

Note: Unlike most any other data file on your computer, PST files can never be opened directly from the Windows explorer...

Attachment limit

Outlook 2010 has an attachment limit of 20Gb.  This can be quickly removed by clicking the Fix It for me button found here:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2222370

HOWEVER - most providers have a 10Mb limit anyway, so anything larger is bounced back undeliverable...

Repair data file

Outlook's data file is just that, a single .PST file containing all of your emails, contacts, appointments, etc., and like any file on a computer, it can become corrupt.

Before problems occur, get Microsoft's Outlook backup utility here...

If the database becomes corrupt, Outlook may not send, receive, show folder contents or may exhibit a variety of other problems. Here is Microsoft's article on scanpst.   If you cannot find the Outlook repair tool (scanpst), try Microsoft's FixIt.

Outlook does not auto-complete names

Autocomplete is "history" and if you reinstall Outlook, it no longer has that sent history information.  So when you start typing a name in the recipient fields, you need to teach Outlook again.  Simply click the Check Names button.  The history will be rebuilt as you send messages.

Stuck in outbox

Typically the message is simply too large or the recipient's email address has a typo or is incomplete. 

If you cannot delete something stuck it is likely because the email program is attempting to send it. 
Try taking the program "offline" first. 

 Most applications have such a feature.

Don't forget to unclick work offline when you are done doing whatever...

Not responding

Sometimes it's just a matter of timing (and waiting).  Caught ours in the middle of an archive in which case Windows thinks the program stop responding when in fact, it was busy...

Not respond   >>>>   Not Respond 2
Titlebar (top)                                Statusbar (bottom)

Searching "people" results in way too many results

Hate the way Outlook lists too many results (including typed history) in the people search box?  In this example, simply searching for "berg" results with 17 results when in fact, we have only 5 that should have matched.

According to this article, only Outlook '13 has the issue.

The fix requires Office updates as of March 15, but also requires you to do a registry change.  If you do not know how to do those, do not attempt it!

 

Outlook seach
Related:  Outlook 13 finds or presents the wrong contact information

Try this (article):

  1. Start, Run, Regedit, click OK
  2. Navigated to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook
  3. Right click Outlook and add a new DWORD (32-bit) value DoNotIncludeNickNameCacheInSearch
  4. Double click on DoNotIncludeNickNameCacheInSearch and for Value data put 1
Distribution list fails with a "Cannot perform the requested operation" error

If you have a distribution list and either try to send or expand to view the list you may receive the above error.  Try this.  At a command prompt, copy/paste or type this line: outlook.exe /cleanautocompletecache then press enter.  That opens Outlook and clears the old cache.  See also this article

Outlook 16 duplicates incoming messages

Update in March to version 16.0.6568.2036 is supposed to address the problem, so start there: 
In Outlook choose: File-> Office Account-> Update Options-> Update

If no joy - setup the account as an IMAP.  But be aware of the differences between POP and IMAP.

Outlook 16 most recently used list (attachments)

Outlook 2016 offers this interesting "feature" that presents you with your last 10 attachments when you click the paperclip to add an attachment.  We can see where this may be handy if you send the same attachment over and over.  At the bottom of the MRU list is Browse this computer that opens the more familiar file dialog box.

If you do not want the MRU list, it can be set to zero files then clicking the paperclip presents you with the browse option.  To change this setting to zero, you need to do a registry tweak:

HKey_Current_Users/Software/Microsoft/Office/16.0/Outlook/Options/Mail

If Mail does not exist, right click Options and add a New Key, name it Mail

Then click Mail on the left and in the right pane, right click and add a new Dword (32).  Name that:

MaxAttachmentMenuItems and change its value to zero (or whatever number desired up to 10)

Rebuild contacts cache

If contacts are not working properly, selecting a contact via the TO: button in a new email message bounces back or any other contact related weirdness, rebuild the cache:

Outlook Options > Search > Indexing Options > Advanced button > Rebuild button. 

Be aware, this process may take a long time...

contacts cache

2016 with MAPI issues

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3114972/april-5--2016--update-for-outlook-2016-kb3114972