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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Sync Outlook's calendar with Google Calendar

Do you use the Outlook calendar at work, but also keep you own personal Google Calendar? Checking two calendars throughout the day and manually keeping them in sync can sometimes feel like a full-time chore. However, free software from Google can automatically keep them in sync.

Google Calendar Sync

Use Google Calendar Sync to keep your Google and Outlook calendars synchronized. Click to view larger image.

Downloading, installing and setting up Google Calendar Sync is straightforward. The only real decision you'll face is what kind of sync to perform. You can perform a two-way sync, in which all events in both calendars are synced with each other, a one-way sync from Outlook to Google, or a one-way sync from Google to Outlook.

If you want to change the type of sync the program performs at any point, right-click the Google Calendar Sync icon in the System Tray, select Options, and make the change from the screen that appears.

Find where Outlook 2007 stores data

Outlook stores its data in many different locations, not all of them logical. Making things even more confusing is that some of the locations are different than they were in previous versions of Outlook. The locations may also vary depending on the version of Windows you use.

There are times when you'll want to know where the files are stored, for example if you want to back them up. To help you out, following is a list of the default files, extensions and their locations, and what they do. Note that this is for setups where Outlook is not being used in concert with Exchange Server.

Keep in mind that many of these folders are hidden by default. If yours are hidden, you can tell Windows to display them. How you do that depends on your operating system. In Windows Vista click the Start button and select Control Panel --> Appearance and Personalization --> Folder Options. Then on the View Tab, under Advanced Settings, select "Show Hidden Files and Folders" under the Hidden Files and Folders entry. Click OK.

In Windows XP, click the Start button, then click Control Panel. Click Folder Options, and in the View tab, select "Show hidden files and folders" under the "Hidden files and folders" entry. Then click OK.

Outlook 2007 file locations

File Purpose Location

Personal Folders

file (.pst)
Contains all of your e-mail messages, contacts, calendar information and task information

Windows Vista and Windows 7:

\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst (or archive.pst or another .pst file)

Windows XP or Windows Server 2003:

\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst (or archive.pst or another .pst file)
Command bar and menu customization information (.dat) Stores information about how you have customized your command bar and other parts of Outlook

Windows Vista and Windows 7:

Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\outcmd.dat

Windows XP:

\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outcmd.dat
Navigation pane settings (.xml) Stores information about how you configure the Navigation Pane

Windows Vista or Windows 7:

Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Outlook\Outlook.xml

Windows XP:

\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.xml
Outlook Contacts AutoComplete (.nk2) Suggests names and e-mail addresses as you type, based on past use

Windows Vista or Windows 7:

Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.nk2

Windows XP:

\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.nk2

Signatures

(.rtf, .txt, .htm)
Signatures you automatically attach to e-mails

Windows Vista or Windows 7:

\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures\

Windows XP:

\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures\
Stationery (.htm) Stationery that can be used as a background for e-mail

Windows Vista or Windows 7:

\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery\

Windows Vista or Windows 7 64-bit with Outlook 2007 32-bit:

\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery\

Windows XP:

\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery\
RSS feeds (.sharing.xml.obi) RSS settings

Windows Vista or Windows 7:

\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.sharing.xml.obi

Windows XP:

\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.sharing.xml.obi

Send/Receive

settings (.srs)
Settings that determine when and how to send and receive mail

Windows Vista or Windows 7:

\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.srs

Windows XP:

\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.srs
Dictionary (.dic) Your custom dictionary, used for spell-checking

Windows Vista or Windows 7:

\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof\custom.dic

Windows XP:

\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\UProof\custom.dic
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