Navigation and Selection Techniques in Outlook

Ok, we’ve taken a look at some of the short-cut keys available in Outlook, now let’s take a look at how we can navigate the Inbox a little easier.

I’ll start with some selection techniques and then move on to navigation techniques.  Remember when you want to select an e-mail without opening it, one single click with the left mouse will do it.  If you double click an e-mail in your Inbox, you will open the e-mail.  These selection and navigation techniques work across all versions of Outlook.

Selection Techniques within the Inbox

The Shift + Click method is great for selecting large blocks of contiguous (or adjacent) emails.  To perform the shift click method:

  • Single click the first e-mail
  • Hold the Shift Key down and keep it held down
  • Single click the last e-mail
  • Let go of the Shift Key

You should see all adjacent e-mails highlighted between your start point and your end point.  You may also hold the Shift Key down and use the up or down arrows to select adjacent e-mails as well.

The Control + Click method is great for selecting e-mails that are non-contiguous (or not adjacent to each other).  To perform the Control + Click method:

  • Single click the first e-mail
  • Hold the Control Key down and keep it held down
  • Single click the second e-mail
  • Keep that Control Key held down
  • Single click all the other emails that you want to select
  • Let go of the Control Key

You should see all the non-contiguous e-mails in your selection highlighted. 

Selection Techniques within an E-Mail

Once an e-mail has been opened you may use either the Shift + Click method or the Control + Click method to select blocks of text that are either contiguous or non-contiguous, respectively.  You may also click once with your left mouse, keep your left mouse held down and then drag the mouse to select text.  You may also use one of the following methods to select text within an e-mail.

  • Shift + Control + Home – selects text from the insertion point to the beginning of an e-mail
  • Shift + Control + End – selects text from the insertion point to the end of an e-mail
  • Control + A – selects the entire text of an e-mail

Navigation Techniques in the Mail View

The Navigation Pane (found on the right hand side of the Outlook Mail view) opens by default when you launch Outlook.  This is a great way to not only navigate between the different folders in your Inbox but to also switch between your Inbox, Calendar, Contacts and Tasks.  You may re-size the Navigation Pane if you’d like more room for your Inbox.  Simply click the dividing margin on the Navigation Pane, hold your left mouse down and drag to the left to minimize the Navigation Pane. 

You may also choose to have more than one Outlook item open at a time.  For example, if you switch frequently between your Inbox and your Calendar, simply right click the Calendar in the Navigation Pane and select “Open in a New Window”.  This will open your Calendar in a New Window and you may switch off between the Inbox and the Calendar on your Task Bar (the blue bar at the bottom of your Operating Window).  You may use this right-click method to open your Contacts and Tasks in a new window as well.

The Vertical Scroll Bar on the right hand side of the Mail View or the Centre Scroll button on your mouse are easy ways to navigate through the e-mails in your Inbox. You may drag the Vertical Scroll up and down by clicking with your left mouse, keeping your left mouse held down and then dragging up and down or by simply rolling the centre scroll on your mouse to move the Vertical Scroll Bar up and down.  You may also click the empty space either above or below the Scroll Bar with your left mouse to navigate up and down.  Alternatively you may use the up and down arrows located to the top or bottom of the Scroll Bar to move it up and down.

The F6 key on your keyboard is also a handy way to switch off between the folders list and the Main Outlook window.

Navigating within E-mails

Once an e-mail has been opened you may use one of the following methods to navigate through the content of the e-mail.  The Home Key, End Key, Page Up and Page Down Keys are all found between the Alpha and Numeric keys on any standard keyboard, as are the arrow keys.

  • Control + Home – Navigates to the beginning of an e-mail
  • Control + End – Navigates to the end of an e-mail
  • Page Up – Navigates approximately one screen view up
  • Page Down – Navigates approximately one screen view down
  • The Arrow Keys – Navigate up or down, left or right within an e-mail
  • Control + , – Navigates to the next e-mail from within an open e-mail
  • Control + . – Navigates to the previous e-mail from within an open e-mail

You may use the “Find” feature to find specific text within larger e-mails.  You will find the “Find” button on the Message Tab of an open e-mail, within the “Find” Group.  To use the “Find” feature:

  • Click the Message Tab of an open e-mail
  • Navigate to the “Find” Group
  • Click the “Find” button
  • The Find and Replace dialog box will launch
  • Select the Find Tab
  • Enter your text in the “Find What” field
  • Click the “Find Next” button
  • Outlook will navigate to the inputted text
  • Click the “Cancel” button when done

Whew!  Hope all that information helps you out.  Happy Navigating!

This entry was posted in: MS Outlook Tips.
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