Master your Business Contact Manager workspaces

You will probably spend most of your time using one of the workspaces because they are designed to be the digital surface for your work in Business Contact Manager for Outlook. The workspaces are displayed when you click the Contact Management, Sales, Marketing, or Project Management folder.

This article introduces you to the workspaces and shows you how to adapt them to fit your business needs.

In this article

Why use the workspaces?

Access the workspaces

The elements of a Business Contact Manager workspace

Use and modify the Business Contact Manager workspaces

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What’s in a workspace?

The workspaces each include a Ribbon, a gadgets area, and tabs.

The Contact Management workspace contains Accounts, Business Contacts, and Leads tabs.

The Sales workspace contains Opportunities and Leads tabs.

The Marketing workspace contains Analysis, Call Lists, Mass E-mail, Direct Mail Print, and Other Marketing Activities tabs

The Project Management workspace contains Business Projects and Project Tasks tabs.

Why use the workspaces?

The Contact Management, Sales, Marketing, and Project Management workspaces represent the roles or tasks that must be performed in most small businesses. Each workspace includes record types that are related to the function of the workspace. However, any record type can be added to any workspace.

Use the Contact Management workspace to view and manage the information, such as addresses and phone numbers, about your Accounts, Business Contacts and Leads.

Business Contact Manager Sales workspace without Ribbon and Naviation Pane

Sales workspace

Use the Sales workspace to view and manage information related to potential sales, such as leads. By default, the Sales workspace includes gadgets that display information about your sales activities, and tabs for Opportunity and Lead records.

Use the Marketing workspace to view and manage information related to your marketing activities and campaigns. Activities can be call lists, mass e-mailings, and direct mail print flyers or brochures. By default, the Marketing workspace includes gadgets that display information about your campaigns and tabs for Analysis, Call Lists, Mass E-mail, Direct Mail Print, and Other Marketing Activities, such as trade shows.

Use the Project Management workspace to view and manage information related to your Business Projects and Project Tasks. By default, the Project Management workspace includes gadgets that display due dates, and includes tabs for Business Projects and Project Tasks.

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Access the workspaces

The workspaces are accessible from the Outlook Navigation Pane.

business contact manager folder in the navigation pane under the inbox folders

Figure 1: In the Navigation Pane, in the Folder List view, the Business Contact Manager folder is usually under your Outlook mail folders.


Expanded Business Contact Manager folder in the Navigation Pane

Figure 2: Expand the Business Contact Manager folder to display the folders for Contact Management,Sales, Marketing, and Project Management. The Business Contact Manager folder also includes the Welcome Center and Deleted Items folders. You cannot change, add, or move other folders into the Business Contact Manager folder. For more information about these folders, see Get familiar with Business Contact Manager features and options.


business contact manager button in the navigation pane

Figure 3: Click the Business Contact Manager (or Solutions) button to view the Contact Management, Sales, Marketing, Project Management, and folders, as well as the Business Records folder.

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The elements of a Business Contact Manager workspace

The Contact Management, Sales, Marketing, and Project Management workspaces each include a Ribbon, a gadgets area, and tabs.

Although each workspace displays different types of records and information, they work in similar ways.

The commands that are available on each Ribbon change based on the tab that is selected in the workspace.

Gadgets display charts or lists that help you analyze and review the state of your business. You can hide the gadgets area to devote more space to the tabs.

Each tab displays a list of records and includes a Reading/Preview Pane. You can open a record or preview its contents in the Reading/Preview Pane.

The following image shows a customized Sales workspace. The workspace has been customized with the addition of a Stores tab. For information about customization, see Create and customize record types and lists.

Business Contact Manager Sales workspace with three callouts. One is in the gadgets area. Two is in the tabs area. Three is in the Reading Pane

1. In the gadgets area, you can display key business metrics and information in the form of charts and lists. Click Hide Gadgets to make more space for the tabs. For more information about gadgets, see Use gadgets in Business Contact Manager.

The tabs are where you do your work. The tabs are comprised of a list, such as the Lead records shown in the image, and a Reading or Preview Pane (shown in 3).

3. Reading or Preview Pane. To hide the Reading/Preview Pane, click Reading Pane on the View tab on the Ribbon.

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Use and modify the Business Contact Manager workspaces

You can change the workspaces to display the information that helps you do your job best. For example, if you display gadgets in the workspace, you can have the information that you most want to monitor, right in front of you. Adapt the tabs to display the information that you need to see and analyze.

In this section

Add or remove a gadget

The tabs area

See the information you want on the tabs

Add a tab (and filter the list)

Modify the Reading/Preview Pane

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Add or remove a gadget

  1. In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click one of the following folders to display the workspace:

    • Contact Management.

    • Sales.

    • Marketing.

    • Project Management.

  2. On the Ribbon, click the Gadgets tab.

  3. In the Add Gadgets group, click the button for the type of gadget you want to add:

    Gadets tab in the Riboon with buttons for the Sales, Marketing, Project Managerment, and General gadgets. Also shows a Refresh All button

  4. From the list, click the gadget that you want to display.

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Remove a gadget

  • Click the Remove Close gadget button to delete the gadget.

To close the gadgets area, click Hide Gadgets.

For more information about gadgets, see Use gadgets in Business Contact Manager.

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The tabs area

Use the tabs to manage, analyze, edit, or review your records, whether they are Accounts, Business Contacts, Project Tasks, or any other type of record.

The following image shows tabs for Opportunities, Leads, and Vendors, with the Vendors tab selected. A vendor is a type of Account record.

Preview Pane

Tabs are divided into a list of a selected record type, such as Vendors, and a Reading or Preview Pane. The Reading/Preview Pane displays information from sections of a selected record.

Each tab lists only one type of record — for example, Accounts or Leads, and a Reading/Preview Pane.

Note: Custom record types, such as Vendor or Lead, are based on the Account or Business Contact record type so tabs can display all the records of one type. For more information about customization, see Create and customize record types and lists.

You're not limited to the set of tabs that came with Business Contact Manager for Outlook. You can create new tabs and then populate them with the type of records that you want. However, you cannot create a tab to display all communication history items as you can with other types of records such as Accounts or call lists. The list of all communication history items is available in the Communication History folder, which is in the Business Records folder. For more information about how to access the list of all communication history items, see Track your communications with customers in Business Contact Manager.

Note: You can delete tabs, but deleting a tab does not delete the records.

When you click a record, the Reading/Preview Pane displays sections from the selected record. You can choose which sections are displayed.

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See the information you want on a tab

To see the information that you want on a tab, you can change the tabs in the following ways:

  • Add, rename, edit, move, and remove tabs.

  • Display address or business cards (or restore the list view).

  • Select the information that is displayed in the Reading/Preview Pane by choosing the sections from forms.

  • Hide the Reading/Preview Pane.

Add a tab (and filter the list)

Tabs with Create New Tab icon

The workspace can display up to 20 tabs.

  1. In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click one of the following folders to display the workspace:

    • Contact Management.

    • Sales.

    • Marketing.

    • Project Management.

  2. In the workspace, click the Create New Tab Create New Tab button.

  3. In the Create New Tab dialog box, do the following:

    • In the Tab name box, type a name for the new tab.

    • In the Item type list, click the type of record that you want to display on the tab.

      Note: Only one type of record can be listed on each tab. For example, all Business Contacts and Leads can be listed on the same tab because they are the same record type. Accounts and Business Contacts cannot be listed on the same tab.

    • Click Filter if you want to specify a criteria for the records that you want to display.

      Note: The only way to determine if a filter is applied to a list on a tab is to right-click the tab, and then click Modify. Filter applied is displayed next to the Filter button.

      For information about how to apply a filter, see Filter records in Business Contact Manager.

      Rename, edit, move, or remove a tab

  4. In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click one of the following folders to display the workspace:

    • Contact Management.

    • Sales.

    • Marketing.

    • Project Management.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • Rename a tab    

      1. Right-click the tab, and then click Rename.
        The tab label is selected.

      2. Type a different name.

    • Edit a tab    

      1. Right-click the tab, and then click Modify.

      2. In the Modify Tab dialog box, type a different tab name if you want.

      3. In the Item type list, click the record type that you want to be listed on the tab.

      4. Click Filter if you want to specify a criteria for the type of items that you want listed.

    • Move a tab    

      • Drag the tab where you want it.

        Note: You can only change the order of the tabs by dragging them to a different location in the same workspace. Tabs cannot be dragged to a different workspace.

    • Delete a tab    

      • Right-click the tab, and then click Delete.

        Note: Deleting a tab does not delete the records shown on the tab.

        Sort the information on a tab

        The list of records on a tab can be sorted any way you want — by category, by the information in a column, or by the name of the person to whom the record is assigned. The sorting options vary based on the record type on the tab.

        The following procedure describes how to sort a list by the information in a column. To see all of the available sorting options, click the View tab on the Ribbon of any of the workspaces.

    • In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click one of the following folders to display the workspace:

      • Contact Management.

      • Sales.

      • Marketing.

      • Project Management.

    • Click the tab that contains the list of records you want to sort.

      Note: The records must be displayed in a list view to sort them. You cannot sort records in the address card or business card view.

    • Click the column header to sort the list by the information in the column.

      Tip: To restore the list to its original view, on the Ribbon, click the View tab. Click the Reset View button.

      Add or remove columns from a tab

  6. In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click one of the following folders to display the workspace:

    • Contact Management.

    • Sales.

    • Marketing.

    • Project Management.

  7. Click the tab where you want to add or remove columns.

  8. Do one of the following:

    • Add a column    

      1. On the Ribbon, click the View tab.

      2. In the Arrangement group, click Choose Columns.

      3. To add fields from Business Contact Manager forms, in the Select available columns from list, click User-defined fields in folder.

        Any custom fields that you created are also included in the list.

        If you want, you can select columns from any of the other items in the Select available columns from list.

      4. In the Available columns list, click the column that you want, and then click Add.

      5. If you want, in the Show these columns in this order list, click the column, and then click Move Up or Move Down.

      6. Click OK to close the dialog box.

    • Remove a column    

      • Right-click the column, and then click Remove this Column.

        Tip: To restore the list to its original view, on the Ribbon, click the View tab. Click the Reset View button.

        Display address or business cards on a tab

        Rather than display Account and Business Contact record types in a list, you can display the information in address cards.

  9. In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click Sales or Contact Management.

  10. Click the tab that you want to change from a list view.

    Note: You can change the list view only for Account and Business Contact record types. A lead is a type of Business Contact.

  11. On the Ribbon, click the View tab.

  12. In the Current View group, do one of the following:

    • Click Address Card.

    • Click Business Card (available for Business Contact or Lead records only).

      Note: To restore the list view, on the Ribbon, click the View tab. In the Current View group, click List.

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Modify the Reading/Preview Pane

The Reading or Preview Pane is a customizable area of the workspace that may increase your efficiency because you can see just the information you want without opening a record. The Reading/Preview Pane puts the summary business information that you need right in front of you, presented in the order that you choose. No matter what your role in the company, you can customize your Reading/Preview Pane to fit your job and the tasks that you perform most often.

In this section

Choose the sections that are displayed in the Reading/Preview Pane

Reorder, minimize, or remove the sections in a Reading/Preview Pane

Hide the Reading/Preview Pane

Selecting a check box or choosing an item from a list in the Reading/Preview Pane updates the underlying record. For example, if your Reading/Preview Pane includes the preferred method of communication for a Business Contact and you select the check boxes for Do Not Call and Do Not Fax, those boxes will be selected and saved in the record for that Business Contact.

When you add a new section to the Reading/Preview Pane, it is added at the bottom of the Reading/Preview Pane, and can later be moved up the list.

You can also choose to delete one or all of the sections in the Reading/Preview Pane.

The best way to use the Reading/Preview Pane depends on your role in the company and how you do your job. Here are two examples:

  • As a salesperson for a mortgage company, Nancy cares a lot about the mortgage balance, credit score, and home equity of her Leads. She created custom fields on her Leads form for this information. Now she includes those sections in her Reading/Preview Pane, just below the Lead's name and phone number. As she makes sales calls, Nancy has exactly the information she needs without ever opening a record, and she can arrange to follow up with a potential customer while she's still on the phone.

  • As the owner of a home remodeling business, Stan uses the Reading/Preview Pane to track the status, schedule, and major tasks required for each job. He can quickly tell if a high-priority or high-value job is falling behind schedule, and re-assign a crew from a lower-priority job if necessary.

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Choose the sections that are displayed in the Reading/Preview Pane

The Reading or Preview Pane allows you to see information from any record you select.

Preview Pane

  1. In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click one of the following folders to display the workspace:

    • Contact Management.

    • Sales.

    • Marketing.

    • Project Management.

  2. Click a tab, and then click Select Sections Select Sections .

  3. In the Select Sections dialog box, select the check boxes for the information that you want to display from each section.

  4. Clear any check boxes for the information that you don't want to display.

    • Any customized sections and fields that you have added are also included in the list.

  5. Click OK to save your selections and close the dialog box.

Tip: Click Reset to restore the original sections in the Reading/Preview Pane. You can also right-click the record name in the Reading/Preview Pane, and then click Reset to default.

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Reorder, minimize, or remove the sections in a Reading/Preview Pane

You have complete control over the order of sections in the Reading or Preview Pane.

  1. In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click one of the following folders to display the workspace:

    • Contact Management.

    • Sales.

    • Marketing.

    • Project Management.

  2. Click a tab.

  3. Do any of the following:

    • To reorder the sections, right-click any section in the Reading/Preview Pane, and then click Move up or Move down. Repeat as necessary until the sections are in the order that you want them.

    • To minimize a section so that only the section name is displayed, right-click any section in the Reading/Preview Pane, and then click Minimize,

    • To display information from the entire section, right-click a minimized section, and then click Maximize.

    • To remove or close a section, click the Close button.

      You can also remove sections by clearing the check box in the Select sections dialog box. For more information about how to choose sections, see Choose the sections that are displayed in the Reading/Preview Pane, earlier in this topic.

Tip: Click Reset to restore the original sections in the Reading or Preview Pane. You can also right-click the record name in the Reading/Preview Pane, and then click Reset to default.

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Hide the Reading/Preview Pane

  1. In the Navigation Pane, under Business Contact Manager, click one of the following folders to display the workspace:

    • Contact Management.

    • Sales.

    • Marketing.

    • Project Management.

  2. On the Ribbon, click the View tab.

  3. In the Layout group, click Reading Pane.

    Click Reading Pane to display the pane again.

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