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Microsoft Outlook 97

Microsoft Outlook is an excellent tool for organizing personal information.

Imagine having all of your address, e-mail, calendar and telephone information in the same place. One that allows you to easily add new information and organize old information. Microsoft Outlook provides such a place.

Outlook is much more than an electronic personal information manager. It is a phone book that makes calls for you, and it incorporates e-mail, phone and fax capabilities. Outlook will even allow you to schedule meetings. Once you specify the participants, Outlook will electronically obtain their available hours so that you can choose the best time.

Outlook Basics

Outlook contains several major features:

  • Contacts Management. Outlook allows you to store information about your contacts and to manipulate it very effectively. Contacts include relatives, friends, business partners, clients and so on.

  • Tasks Management. Examples of tasks are finish a semester project, write a manual, repair the car, send a letter and so on. A task is every activity for which you do not have a fixed time to complete it, but you possibly have a deadline for it.

  • Calendar (or Appointment Manager). Examples of appointments are meetings (regular or sporadic), activities (swim every day at 5 p.m.), phone calls and so on. Outlook will also automatically place in the calendar the birthdays of all your contacts. The appointment manager (or the calendar) also helps you schedule meetings.

  • Notes Management. In Outlook, you can write notes for yourself, such as "I have to set aside some time to talk with Mike about the new project." Outlook allows you to organize your notes as well as to send them to your contacts.

  • Journal Management. A journal in Outlook is a place where you can keep track of everything you do: the documents that you worked on, the people you have contacted and so on. Since this can be a tedious task to do by hand, Outlook can make the journal entries for you-all you need to do is tell Outlook which activities you want recorded for you.

  • Mail Management. This feature allows you to easily communicate with your contacts by phone, fax and e-mail.

For each one of these six features, Outlook offers a separate screen. You can easily jump from screen to screen. Of course, the information you enter in one screen is available in all other screens, if you need it. For example, whatever you tell the Contacts Manager is no secret to your Mail Manager. All the screens look and act alike. Once you figure out how to use the Contacts screen, you will have no difficulty managing the other five screens.

When you open Outlook, the following screen appears:

Contacts Management

The Contacts Screen

Click on Contacts in the left part of the screen. The Contacts Manager screen appears on the right side:

How to Create a New Contact

To create a new contact, simply press the New Contact button on the toolbar.

Tip: Remember this tip for all six features of Outlook. The button in the upper left corner creates a new object of the respective type. When Contacts is open, the button is used to create a new contact. If the Tasks screen is active, the button in the upper left corner will create a new task.

Tip: Any time you see a button with a down arrow, click on it! Outlook will then provide you with several options to select from. If you don't like any of these options, then you can type your own.

When you press the New Contact button, the Contact dialog box appears.

Updating the Info About a Contact

To update the data about a contact, simply double-click the contact. The Contact dialog box screen will appear with all the information you have already entered about the contact you selected. Make all the desired changes and press the Save and Close button.

Organizing Your Contacts

The default view that Outlook offers is Address Card. There are, however, other ways to organize your contacts. Press the Categories button. You will be able to change the way in which you view your contacts.

Tip: Whenever your data is organized in a table, click on a column heading to sort the table by that column. If you click again on the same column heading, the table will be sorted by the same column but in reverse order. This rule applies throughout Outlook.

Also, whenever you have a table you can control which fields are included in the table. Simply click the View menu and select Show Fields. Choose the options you desire in the Show Fields dialog box.


The Screen

Click on the Calendar icon in the left section of the screen. The Calendar screen appears:

Creating a New Appointment

To create a new appointment, click on the New Appointment button. The Appointment dialog box appears.

Creating Recurring Appointments

If you click on the Recurrence button, the Appointment Recurrence dialog box appears in which you can specify the type of recursion.

Updating/Rescheduling an Appointment

To update or reschedule an appointment, switch to a view that shows the appointment. Then double-click the appointment you want to update/reschedule. The same box that you used to create the appointment will appear again. Change any of your initial choices and press the Save and Close button on the toolbar.

Organizing Your Appointments

As it does with Contacts, Outlook offers several alternative ways to organize your appointments. The one that you have seen already is the Data/Week/Month view. Here are some of the other options:

  • Active Appointments

  • Events

  • Annual Events

  • Recurring Appointments

  • By Category

To change views, simply choose the view you want from the View menu.

Scheduling a Meeting

One of the most attractive features of Outlook is that it can help you schedule meetings with your contacts.

1.       Click on the Plan a Meeting button on the toolbar. The Plan a Meeting dialog box appears:

When you click the Invite Others button, the Select Attendees and Resources dialog box appears with the names of individuals that you have in your contacts list.

When you press OK, you will return to the Plan a Meeting dialog box. You will see the available hours of the selected attendees and will be able to choose a time convenient for everyone. After you find an appropriate time, you will be ready to e-mail the invitations by pressing Make Meeting. A screen appears (notice that this is essentially the regular Create New Appointment box discussed earlier, with some slight differences) to issues the invitations. The invited contacts will receive a message that looks very much like the above figure. The contacts will have to click on Accept, Tentative or Reject. If they have time, they can include a message as well, but they can handle your request with single click. When they respond to you, you will see their answer (Accept, Tentative, or Reject) in your e-mail box. You won't even need to open their reply message.


The Screen

Click on the Tasks icon in the left section of the screen. The Tasks screen appears as follows:

Creating a New Task

To create a new task, click on the New Task button. The Task dialog box appears. Notice that it looks and operates very much like the New Appointment dialog box.

Recurring Tasks

If you click on the Recurrence button, the Task Recurrence dialog box will appear. Too schedule these types of tasks, follow the same steps that you did for recursive appointments.

Updating/Rescheduling a Task

To update or reschedule a task, switch to a view that shows the task. Then double-click the task. The same box that you used to create the task will appear again. Change any of your initial choices and press the Save and Close button on the toolbar.

Organizing Your Tasks

As with the previous features, Outlook offers several alternative ways to organize your appointments. The one that you have seen already is the Simple List view. Here are the other options:

  • Detailed List

  • Active Tasks

  • Next Seven Days

  • Overdue Tasks

  • By Category

  • Assignment

  • By Person Responsible

  • Completed Tasks

  • Task Timeline

To switch views, simply choose the appropriate view from the View menu.


The Screen

Click on the Notes icon in the left section of the screen. The Notes screen appears:

Creating a New Note

To create a new note, click on the New note button.

Updating a Note

To update a note, double-click its icon. The same box that you used to create the note will reappear. Make your changes and click the X in the upper left corner of the box.

Defining the Category of a Note

You can organize your notes better if you define the category to which they belong. To do that, simply right-click the note and choose Categories from the pop-up menu that appears. Outlook will give you a chance to choose from a set of categories as well as to define a new category:

Organizing Your Notes

The default view for notes is the Icons view. You can also organize your notes in the following ways:

  • Notes List

  • Last Seven Days

  • By Category

  • By Color

To change views, simply choose an alternate one from the View menu.

Mailing a Note to a Contact

To mail a note to someone else, simply right-click the note and choose Forward from the pop-up menu that appears. The regular Send Mail dialog box will appear. Details about the options in this box are discussed in the "Mail" section.


What Are the Journal Entries?

The Journal is essentially a diary. It tracks all your appointments, activities, tasks and so on. When you click on the Journal icon on the left side of the screen, the Journal window appears:

What Do You Need to Keep Track of?

Since it is often tedious to keep track of your work manually, Outlook can record your activities for you. Here is how you can specify the activities that need to be recorded:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Options.

  2. Select the Journal tab from the Options dialog box.

  3. Mark all activities that you want Outlook to track for you. Notice that you may choose Outlook to track your mail only with particular contacts.


Receiving Mail

Click the Mail icon on the left side of the screen to view the mail icons (Inbox, Outbox, Sent Mail). Then press on the Inbox icon again on the left side of the screen.

Sending Mail

To send mail, you do not need to move to a different screen. In Outlook, you receive and send mail from the same location-the Inbox screen. To send new mail, press the New Mail Message button.

Microsoft Binder

Microsoft Binder acts as a tool or utility that helps organize different types of documents. It provides easy access to all your documents from a single place.

Think of Binder as the "glue" that brings together documents from all the Office applications into one place. The documents are combined into units, known as binders. It is possible to simply drag the documents from the various Office applications into the binder.

It is important to note that the two words "Binder" and "binder" have separate meetings. Binder refers to the actual software program, while binder means one of the document containers. A binder can store a combination of binders (such as two Word documents, three PowerPoint presentations, etc.).

The Binder acts as a control tower from which it is possible to obtain access to any or all of the documents you have created within the scope of the Office environment. This saves you the trouble of having to launch the applications separately from the particular application it was created in. To activate a document, simply click on it. Binder is also invaluable when it comes to printing, because it is possible to print the entire contents of the binder, even if it's composed of documents created in different applications, with a single command.

How to Use the Binder

Starting Binder

There are two ways to start the Binder: from the Windows 95 Start menu or from the Office 97 Shortcut Bar.

From the Start Menu

  1. Choose Programs from the Start menu.

  2. Select Microsoft Binder.

From the Shortcut Bar

Click on the Binder button if the Shortcut Bar is available.

Adding Existing Documents

There are two methods for adding existing documents to a binder:

  • By dragging and dropping

  • With menus

The Drag-and-Drop Method

  1. Double-click the My Computer icon.

  2. Select the document you desire by clicking on it and dragging it to the left pane of the Binder window.

Using the Menus

  1. From the Section menu, select Add from File.

  2. In the Add from File dialog box, select the files you desire from the correct drive and folder; click the Add button. The documents will appear in the left pane of the Binder window.

Adding New Documents

  1. From the Section menu, choose Add. The Add Section dialog box will appear.

  2. Select the type of document you want to add; click OK. A brand-new blank document will appear on your screen.

Saving a Binder

  1. To save a binder, choose Save Binder from the File menu.

  2. In the Save Binder As dialog box, select the folder and drive you want to save it to.

  3. Enter a file name in the File name box.

  4. Click the Save button.

Opening a Binder

  • To open an existing document, from the File menu select Open Binder. Click on the drive and the folder in which the document exists. Then double-click on it or click on the Open button.

Editing Documents in Binder

A binder can be used as a central point for editing your documents. Simply click on the appropriate document icon in the left pane of the Binder window and proceed to edit the document.

Moving and Copying Documents Inside the Binder

To move a document that is in a binder, click on the icon that represents the document in the left pane of the window. Then drag it to the desired location. It is possible to drag the documents between the left pane of the Binder window and My Computer.

Renaming Documents

To rename a document in a binder, double-click on the icon that represents the document and enter the new name in the text box containing the old name. Press ENTER when you are finished.

To Delete a Document

To delete a document in a binder, right-click on the icon of the document you want to delete and press the DELETE key.


Print Preview

Before printing, it is always a good idea to preview the document to make sure it appears the way you want it to. To preview the printable form of the document, select Binder Print Preview from the File menu. Click on the Close Preview button after you have viewed all the sections.

Printing an Entire Binder

It is possible to print the entire contents of a binder by giving a single command. To print, from the File menu, select Print Binder. The Print Binder dialog box will appear. After you have verified your print settings, click on OK.

If you wish to print multiple documents:

  1. In the left pane of the Binder window, select the documents you wish to print by clicking on their icons at the same time you hold down the CTRL key.

  2. From the File menu, choose Print Binder. In the Print Binder dialog box, remember to check the Section(s) selected in left pane radio button. Click OK.

To print only single documents:

  1. Select the document from the left pane of the Binder window.

  2. From the Section menu, choose Print.

  3. In the Print dialog box, specify the option you wish, and click OK.

Printing Headers and Footers

Binder is equipped with a feature that allows you to print the same header/footer for a group of sections or for all the sections. This saves time because it automatically prints common headers and footers for more complex reports that are made from different Office documents.

  1. From the File menu, select Binder Page Setup.

  2. The Binder Page Setup dialog box appears. Make sure the Header/Footer tab is selected. Choose a header/footer from the header/footer drop-down lists. You can press the Custom button if you wish to create your own header/footer.

  3. Choose whether you wish to print a header/footer on All supported sections or Only sections selected below.

  4. Click OK after you have verified all the settings.

Advantages of Using Office Binder

Some of the main advantages of grouping files in a binder are discussed in this section.

Consistent Section Order

You have freedom to arrange the sections in whatever order you would like. The order you specify is saved with the binder file. The operating system limits and mainly controls some of the ways you can sort documents.

Consecutive Page Numbers

With binders, you can print sections with successive page numbers, no matter what type of Office applications the sections were created in.

Easier to Transfer E-mail

It is obvious that it is easier to send one whole file than each file separately through e-mail. In Binder, you can send files created in different Office applications as one e-mail file.


Binder is more efficient and reduces the workload of the operating system because you're opening one single file rather than several.

Using Briefcase

It is possible to use the Briefcase file synchronization program in Windows 95 to allow a number of people to work on the same binder at the same time.

Here's how:

  1. Each person makes a copy of the binder to his or her local Briefcase from a local network server. This allows each user to work on his or her own sections separately.

  2. When you update the original file, only the sections that were edited are updated.

Global Spell Checking

The new Spell feature spell checks every single section automatically. This makes it unnecessary to have a Spell Check feature in the Binder program itself.

Limitations of Office Binder

As does every Office application, Binder has its own limitations. Here's a rundown of a few of them.

Disabled features. Some of the features are disabled in the program, such as the individual application status bar. This allows only the Binder status bar to be visible when you perform editing. You cannot create or edit macros inside the sections. If you want to do so, you have to save that particular section as a separate section, and then add the macro or change one that already exists.

Large physical files. The Binder files grow into large files as the content in the binders increase. This might result in the physical file spreading all over your hard disk. This happens, because the file becomes fragmented or disintegrated. As a result, you may notice an increase in the time it takes for the binder to load.

To get rid of fragmentation, open the binder. From the File menu, select Save Binder As to save the binder with a new name. Delete the old binder file by choosing Delete binder from the Edit menu. Rename the new binder with the name of the old binder.


Binder can be regulated by any password you have set up for your documents. Binder will prompt you for the password when you want to open the document.

Tip: It is possible to ensure a small amount of security by using the Read-only option of the binder file using the Windows Explorer.

  1. Select the file and right-click it.

  2. Choose Section Properties from the pop-up menu.

  3. Check the Read only check box on the General tab.

A better and much more efficient to increase security is to save the binder on a read-only network drive.


This page was updated on:  04/10/02