Outlook 2007: 10 top tips

From speeding up attachment previews to integrating social network updates, these tips will help you get the most out of Outlook 2007.

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Use sports teams' and TV shows' calendars inside Outlook

Would you like to follow the calendar of a favorite sports team, TV show, or other type of calendar inside Outlook? It's easy to do, because Outlook supports the iCal calendar format in the form of an .ics file, which allows for calendar sharing.

First, find the .ics file for the calendar you want to view inside Outlook. Your best bet is to do a Web search for a page that will tell you where to get the .ics calendar -- for example, using the search terms "Red Sox ical." The result you want will say "downloadable schedule" or something similar. In the case of the Boston Red Sox, a Google search turns up the 2010 Downloadable Schedule page.

On the page, look for a link to the iCal URL that contains the calendar. In our example, it's


After you've got the iCal URL, follow these steps:

1. In Outlook 2007 select Tools --> Account Settings.

2. Click the Internet Calendars tab and click New.

3. On the screen that appears, paste in the Red Sox iCal URL, then click Add.

4. In the Folder Name box on the screen that appears, type in the name of the calendar -- in our instance, Boston Red Sox. You can also type a description into the Description box.

5. Click OK, then click Close.

You'll now see the new calendar listed in the Calendar's Navigation Pane. It will remain separate from your own personal calendar, and from any other calendars you might want to add. You can include multiple calendars this way.

Boston Red Sox schedule, imported into Outlook

The Boston Red Sox schedule, imported into Outlook.

Create boilerplate text to insert into e-mail messages

Do you have boilerplate text -- such as a description of your business or background -- that you insert often into e-mail messages, but not every time like a signature? If so, you'll welcome one of Outlook 2007's lesser-known features -- Quick Parts, which is also included in Word 2007. You can use Quick Parts to insert images, text or a combination of the two.

To use it, do the following:

1. Create a new e-mail message.

2. Write the boilerplate text you want to reuse or insert the boilerplate graphic you want to reuse (or both).

Creating a Quick Part in Outlook 2007
Creating a Quick Part in Outlook 2007.

3. Select the text and/or graphic, click the Insert tab on the Ribbon, and select Quick Parts --> Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.

4. In the screen that appears, type in a descriptive name for the text or graphic in the Name field. Type in a description of the Quick Part in the Description field. Don't change any other fields. Click OK.

Typing a description of the new Quick Part
Typing a description of the new Quick Part.

5. When you want to insert the Quick Part into an e-mail message, click Insert from the Ribbon, click Quick Parts, scroll to the Quick Part you want to insert, and click it.

Note that Quick Parts are not shared between Word and Outlook, so you have to create separate ones for each application. (Outlook Quick Parts are stored in NormalE-mail.dotm, while those for Word are stored in Normal.dotm.)

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