Basic tasks in Outlook 2013

Microsoft Outlook 2013 organizes your emails, calendars, contacts, tasks, and to-do lists, all in one place. It all starts with your email account. From there you can start working with emails, turning them into tasks or appointments, and storing the people you interact with in your contacts, so you never have to remember an email address or phone number. Let’s take a quick walk-through of those basic steps.

Set up an email account

The first step is setting up your account. After that, you’ll be ready to start receiving and sending email, use the calendar, create contacts, and work with tasks.  

Setup gets taken care of automatically if you used an earlier version of Outlook on the same computer. If you didn’t, the Auto Account Setup will start the first time you start Outlook and step you through the process.

It’ll ask for your name, email address, and a password. That’s usually enough, but if automatic setup fails, Outlook will ask for a few more pieces of information, such as your mail server name.

If you don’t have that info, your email provider can give you the details.

Add Account button in the Backstage view

Note    If you want to add another email account later, click File > Account Settings to start the Auto Account Setup.

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Create a new email message

In Mail, click New Email.

New email

Keyboard shortcut    To create an email message, press Ctrl+Shift+M.

When you’re done, click Send.

For more information, see Create an email message.

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Forward or reply to an email message

In the Reading Pane or on the ribbon, click Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

Reply to the message

To remove a name from the To and Cc lines, click the name, and then press Delete. To add a recipient, click in the To, Cc, or Bcc box and enter the recipient.

For more information, see Reply to or forward an email message.

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Add an attachment to an email message

To share a file, you can attach it to your message. You can also attach other Outlook items, such as messages, contacts, or tasks.

  1. Create a message, or for an existing message, click Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

  2. In the message window, click Message > Attach File.

Attach file to a message

For more information, see Attach a file, message, contact, or task to an email message.

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Open or save an email message attachment

You can open an attachment from the Reading Pane or from an open message. After opening and viewing an attachment, you can save it. If a message has more than one attachment, you can save them as a group or one at a time.

Open an attachment

Double-click the attachment.

For more information, see Open attachments.

Save an attachment

  1. Click the attachment in the Reading Pane or the open message.

  2. On the Attachments tab, in the Actions group, click Save As. You can also right-click the attachment, and then click Save As.

Save as attachments

For more information, see Save attachments.

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Add an email signature to messages

Create personalized signatures that appear at the bottom of your messages. Signatures can include text, images, your Electronic Business Card, a logo, or even an image of your handwritten signature.

Create a signature

  1. In a new message, click Signature >Signatures.


  1. On the Email Signature tab, click New.

Add a signature

In a new message, click Signature, and then click the signature that you want.


For more information, see Create and add an email message signature.

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Create a calendar appointment

In Outlook, appointments aren’t the same as meetings. Appointments are activities that you schedule in your calendar that don’t involve inviting other people or reserving resources, such a conference room.

Click Calendar

In Calendar, click New Appointment. You can also right-click a time block in your calendar grid, and then click New Appointment.

Calendar new appointment

Keyboard shortcut    To create an appointment, press Ctrl+Shift+A.

For more information, see Schedule an appointment.

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Schedule a meeting

In Outlook, a meeting includes other people and can include resources, such as conference rooms. You’ll get responses to your meeting requests in your Inbox.

In Calendar, click New Meeting.

Calendar new meeting

Keyboard shortcut    To create a new meeting request from any folder in Outlook, press Ctrl+Shift+Q.

For more information, see Schedule a meeting with other people.

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Set a reminder

Reminders pop-up an alert window so you don’t miss an important deadline. You can add or remove reminders for almost anything in Outlook, including email messages, appointments, and contacts.

For appointments or meetings

Open an Appointment or Meeting, and then in the Reminder drop-down list, select the amount of time before the appointment or meeting when you want the reminder to appear. To turn a reminder off, select None.

For email messages, contacts, and tasks

Click Follow Up > Add Reminder.

Follow up

Tip    You can quickly flag email messages as to-do items by using reminders. This makes the message appear on the Task peek and in Tasks, but doesn’t automatically add a reminder. Right-click the flag in the message list to add a reminder. Or, if you have the message open, click Follow Up > Add Reminder.

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Create a contact

Contacts can be as simple as a name and email address, or can include info and details such as street addresses, multiple phone numbers, a picture, birthdays, etc. for the contact.


In People, click New Contact.

New Contact

Keyboard shortcut    To create a contact from any folder in Outlook, press Ctrl+Shift+C.

For more information, see Create or add a contact.

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Create a task

Many people keep To Do lists — on paper, in a spreadsheet, or with a combination of paper and electronic methods. In Outlook, you can combine various lists into one, get reminders, and track task progress.

Click Tasks

In Tasks, click New Task.

New Task

Keyboard shortcut    To create a new task, press Ctrl+Shift+K.

For more information, see Create tasks and to-do items.

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Print an email message, contact, calendar item, or task

Under File > Print, you can print items such as email messages, contacts, or calendar items, or larger views, such as calendars, address books, or content lists for Mail folders.

  1. Click an item or folder in Outlook that you want to print.

  2. Click File > Print.


For more information, see Print items in Outlook.

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Applies To: Office 2010, Office 365 End User, Office 2016, Outlook 2013

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