There is a very useful feature display in Outlook, that
most folks overlook. Outlook Today is a view within Outlook that allows
you to see what’s about to hit your day…from what Tasks you need to get done to
how much email is waiting for you in your important folders and also what
appointments you need to attend in the next few days. If you’re the type of
person who uses Outlook to its fullest by taking advantage of all the personal
management tools to better organize your life, you should also be taking
advantage of using Outlook Today as your default, daily view.
In the image above, I have selected to have the upcoming
week’s worth of appointments shown from my calendar as well as the most recent
Tasks. Under the Messages column, I’ve selected several, important folders to
have displayed. The numbers show me how many unread items I have in each of
those folders. I receive a lot of email and have many Rules in place
that send messages to their appropriate folders, versus piling up as one mess
in my inbox. Why waste time sorting mail yourself when you can have your
computer do it for you? But once it gets moved around, it could be easy to
forget about it. So it is important to remember to check folders with new mail.
The numbers display new mail in all folders, but I also list the most important folders here
to make sure I can easily click from this list to get right to that mail first.
You can easily get to your Outlook Today display by clicking
either the icon on your toolbar. Or just click the uppermost folder in your
Outlook folder tree structure, as that is the folder that will provide
you with the Outlook Today view. Both of these methods are shown below.
If you prefer to have Outlook open to your Today view each
time, you can set that as your default. The specific wording may vary depending
on your version of Outlook. However, you should find the setting under Tools
> Options > Other > Advanced Options. At the top of that dialog
box, you can choose which folder Outlook will display in by default each time
it opens (“Startup in this folder”). You can click Browse and set it to
the uppermost folder…which in most cases is called Personal Folder…unless
you’ve done as I do and rename your PST file to a more meaningful name. (I
create a new file each year to keep my mail organized from year to year. You
can read more about this method in this article: Organizing
However, there’s also another way to set this default. If
you go into the Customization page for Outlook Today, you’ll find a default
checkbox there, too.
You need to be in Outlook Today’s view in order to
find the Customization button for it, as shown below. It’s usually in the
top/right corner. But depending on the Outlook Today display you currently have
set, it may be at the bottom/right.
Important Note! If you’re using an older version of Outlook …I
believe 2000…there was a bug that did not allow you to customize this feature.
Sorry, I didn’t stick around Outlook version 2000 long enough to see if this
was fixed in a future update. But if you attempt to customize it and it won’t
stick…bingo, you found that bug!
Once in the Customization display, you can check the option
at the top so you default into this view each time Outlook starts. Snoop
around, there are some other settings you can choose…such as which folders to
display for Messages, how many tasks to display and in what type of ordered
display. There are also a few different themes, such as Summer or
Winter, along with variations of each.
Once you’ve made all the changes you want, be sure to click
the Save Changes button that will now be displayed. Again, you should find
it showing in the upper/right side of this Customization display.
Sure, you can set gobs of reminders to pop-up and remind you
what you need to do. But sometimes it’s nice to start the week out with a
cup of coffee and a review of what’s about to hit you this week. With some
consistent logging in your Calendar and Task List, as well as setting Outlook
Today as your default opening view`…you can start out on the right foot.