Customizing Outlook Express
Outlook Express allows you to customize the interface and features suit your needs to make it more efficient to use. There are many areas that you can tweak and adjust to make it the e-mailing experience easier for you.
Lets start with the View menu, which is located on the upper left of the Outlook window. If you select Current View you can choose the way Outlook displays your e-mail messages. Such options include show all messages or to hide messages you have read. The Sort By option lets you choose how your messages are sorted such as by date or sender etc. The columns option lets you pick which items you want to display within Outlook such as subject or received.
The Layout option lets you pick how you want Outlook to be laid out and what parts of the program you want displayed on the screen such as the folder bar or the status bar. The preview pane shows you a preview of the message when you highlight it without having to actually open it up.
Next we will cover the Outlook Express options. If you go to the Tools menu and click on Options you will get many areas that you can customize within the program.
The General tab gives you options such as how you want Outlook to act when you open it and what it should do when sending and receiving e-mail such as doing a send/receive at startup and how often to automatically check for new messages if ever.
The Read tab lets you configure what Outlook does with e-mail that you receive such as marking messages as read or what font to use to display messages.
The Receipts tab allows you to choose what to do about e-mail that as already been sent or received.
The Requesting Read Receipts section allows you to request that the recipient of your message send back an acknowledgement that they read your e-mail. The Returning Read Receipts section determines what Outlook does when someone requests that you send back an acknowledgement to their e-mail. Secure Receipts lets you use digital signatures with your e-mail for enhanced security.
You can use the Send tab to configure settings for sending e-mail such as having Outlook put messages you send into your Sent folder or adding e-mail addresses of people you reply to into your address book. You can also choose if you want to use HTML or plain text for new e-mail messages.
The Compose tab is where you can edit what font you want to use for new messages and setup stationary (background) images for new messages. There is also an option to add virtual business cards as attachments.
If you want to add your information to your e-mails you can have Outlook enter it automatically using the Signatures tab. Here you would type in any information you want displayed in your e-mail such as address or phone number and Outlook will insert it into your e-mails for you.
There are options such as having it automatically inserted into your outgoing, replies and forwards or you can insert it manually when needed. You can also insert text or HTML from a file as a signature and have multiple signatures.
The Spelling tab allows you to configure how Outlook checks for spelling errors. You can have it check spelling before you send the message or suggest replacements for misspelled words and add your own custom words to the dictionary.
The Security tab is important because you may have to make adjustments here to allow Outlook Express to download certain attachments and images from e-mails.
The default settings are to block attachments that are considered unsafe such files that end with .exe. If you are not getting images in your e-mail you may want to uncheck the box that says Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail. Keep in mind that it could be a slight security risk.
The Connection tab is used to tell Outlook how you connect to the Internet. It will use the same settings that Internet Explorer uses by default. You most likely will not have to change anything here.
The Maintenance tab tells Outlook what to do with your e-mail and data files such as automatically empty the trash when you close Outlook and compacting your messages to save disk space. We will discuss this tab further in the next section.
If you need to better organize your e-mail besides using the default Inbox, Sent Items and Drafts folders, it's easy to make new folders to store your e-mail in. All you need to do is right click the main folder, which in most cases will be called Local Folders, and select New Folder. Next you will name the folder and tell Outlook where you want to put it. Then you can drag e-mails from the Inbox into your new folder. If you right click the folder there are options to rename and delete the folder etc.
Outlook Express Maintenance
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