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Outlook with Exchange Server

This Blog assumes you are using Exchange Server.

Although Outlook can be used as a stand-alone email client, it really shines when used in conjunction with Exchange Server. With Exchange server, you can perform a lot of tasks that are not available with web-mail based services such as Hotmail and Gmail. Although these services may have similar features, often the features do not work properly. For example, you cannot request a delivery receipt from a Gmail user, as Gmail will not return such a request.

Exchange Server is managed by the IT department, who define disk quotas, manage archiving, and keep track of threats.

If you are using Exchange Server, you will be able to do the following reliably:

  • Send Out of Office auto replies
    • If you do not want to be available, auto-replies are a great way to tell people you will not be able to respond
  • Request Read and Delivery receipts.
    • Although this feature may be available if you are using POP3 or IMAP, these web-based services may not support the feature, or may, without warning, stop supporting the feature.
  • Set up a survey using Voting Buttons
    • Voting buttons let you ask others questions and receive responses. Some webmail services offer support for this, but not others.
  • View calendars of others with ease
    • Although you can view shared calendars on the internet through such tools as Google calendars, Exchange makes this process a lot easier. You can see details, decide who sees what you are doing and who does not, and schedule meetings.
    • You can schedule resources and locations
    • Group calendars together to see the schedule of an entire group in one place and with only a couple of clicks.
  • Assign tasks and keep task status up-to-date
    • This is a tool that, once you start using it, you will not be able to stop. I have yet to see any webmail system support this.
  • View and work with Contacts for the organization
    • With Outlook 2010, all of your contact’s recent emails, meetings, and attachments are just one click away.
  • Retrieve email in in the Cloud
    • Exchange allows you to receive email anywhere.
  • Retrieve unread mail.
    • A feature that comes in handy every once in a while is the ability to retrieve mail that you realize you should not have sent. Usually you realize this less than a second after it leaves your Outbox.
  • Public Folder Access
    • You can collect, organize, and share files and Outlook items with others in your organization. You can, for example, share a contact or a task list with a person or group.
  • Delegate Access to your Email
    • This is great if you are out of the office, or if you need someone to manage your email.

As you can see, Exchange Server puts Outlook on steroids. There are a couple of different versions of Exchange Server, and some of the features may vary slightly with each version. For example, you may be allowed to create more rules with the latest version. On the whole, however, the list above describes Outlook on any version of Exchange Server.

If your organization does not have the funds to purchase Exchange Server, you can purchase instead a service from Microsoft, Hostway, Rackspace, or any number of online hosting companies that give you an Exchange Account, the ability to manage that account, and may offer other complimentary services such as SharePoint.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Outlook

Outlook is a tool that provides an opportunity for you to organize many aspects of your personal and business life. The email features alone are very impressive, and provide more features than most other email programs. If you learn how to use these features, you will not need another email program.

Outlook is divided into four main modules: Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks. They are integrated in such a way that you can communicate with others from any of those modules. For example, you can plan a meeting with others, assign tasks, and share contact information. You can even organize all your information in every way conceivable.

A couple of other modules round out Outlook: Notes and Journal. These are not often used, but are available to those who want to keep track of simple notes and view a timeline of their work.

Throughout these lessons, you will learn about all the benefits of using Outlook. However, there are some limitations to this program that need to be laid out now and during the course.

First of all, Outlook is not the best contact manager. In fact, it doesn’t even come close. It is great for personal use if you are tracking friends, and you don’t care where they work. Also, it is fine if you are only using the contacts as an address book. It is not, however, good at keeping track of leads, phone conversations, or follow-up. If a business, for example, moves, you have to change the business address of all your contacts who work for that company. If you want to track phone calls, the journal feature is not fully integrated with the contacts feature.

Sharing calendars with others is not transparent, and requires a bit of setup if you are not using Microsoft’s Exchange Server. And this brings up another point … if you are not using Exchange Server, many of the features simply do not work with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and even Hotmail.

The best way to use Outlook is in an organization that has an Exchange Server with shared contacts and calendars. For better contact management, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is great for sales teams, and does integrate with Outlook.

If you need to manage contacts on a stand-alone system (without Exchange Server), then Business Contact Manager is a great free tool from Microsoft that integrates with Outlook.

If you are planning to use Outlook, you have made a good choice. Consider using Exchange Server to get the most out of it, and Dynamics CRM if you need to use contacts for more than just an address book.

I will cover more of the strengths and weaknesses of Outlook throughout these lessons.

Enjoy!

 

© 2012 FastOffice Computer Training

Overview of Outlook Window

The Outlook window consists of the following items:

  • Quick Access toolbar
  • Name Bar
  • Ribbon
  • Backstage (File)
  • Navigation Pane
  • Status Bar
  • To-do pane/bar
  • Main window
  • Reading Pane
  • People Pane
  • Various Modules

The following describes the purpose of each of these items:

  • Quick Access toolbar
    • The Quick Access Toolbar is located on the title bar (right at the top next to the edge of your screen).
    • By default, it contains a few buttons that you might want to use frequently.
    • You can add more buttons by clicking the more button beside the Quick Access Toolbar.
  • Name Bar
    • This shows the name of the Outlook PST file you are using, the name of the program (Outlook in this case), and the size and close icons.
  • Ribbon
    • A new graphical layout displaying a list of available features and tools. The Ribbon contains several tabs organized based on what you are doing. Common buttons are grouped together. When referring to a button, the name of the tab is stated first, followed by the name of the group, then finally the button. For example, the Home tab, Respond group, Reply button.
  • Backstage (File)
    • The File tab displays the backstage, a set of commands that were previously accessed from the File menu. It takes up the entire Outlook Window, and lets you perform the following background and printing tasks:
      • Save as a different name
      • Get information about a pst file
      • Use cleanup tools
      • Manage rules and alerts
      • Open and import various files and items
      • Print
      • Get help
      • Set options
      • Exit
  • Navigation Pane
    • Helps you move between modules
    • Shows list of folders
  • Status Bar
    • A great place to look should Outlook seem to be running slow. Displays information about objects that you have selected, such as the number of messages in a folder. Also shows progress of send receive. To add items, right click on the status bar for a list, and select those items you want to display.
  • To-do pane/bar
    • Displays a calendar (days with appointments are bolded), a list of upcoming appointments, and a list of to-do and flagged items.
  • Main window
    • Displays the list of items in the selected module or folder.
  • Reading Pane
    • Displays the contents of the list item selected.
  • People Pane
    • Displays information about those the message was sent from and sent to. Information includes their contact data if you have it in your contacts folder.
  • Various Modules
    • Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, Journal, Folders

Overview of Outlook

Communication is one of those things I teach at a private college. It is a good topic to teach alongside Office skills, as Office is, essentially, a communication tool. All of it—not just Outlook. When we write, create lists, chart data, and crunch numbers, we are communicating ideas, discoveries, and findings.

Email is often used as the method to deliver such communication, and Outlook is used by more businesses to manage email.

But Outlook is more than an email tool. It helps you plan meetings, schedule appointments, create to-do lists, remember notes, and journal your activities. Though you can do all of these things for yourself, you can also share these things.

With Outlook 2010, social networking has been integrated. You can view others’ Facebook status, tweets, and manage your communication with contacts in greater detail. You can do almost everything in Outlook from the contacts module, from email to scheduling appointments.

In the next few weeks, you will learn how to use Outlook to manage your email, contacts, calendar, and your social network. I hope you are looking forward to this as much as I am.

Outlook Outline

Over the next few weeks, you will, if you want, learn how to use Outlook. Even if you are an Outlook specialist, you can join us and add your comments.

My expertise is in the Microsoft Office products. I enjoy teaching them, and like to see them used to help clients work faster and better. That is why my approach to teaching Office is a little different. I like to describe best practices, and then show you how to use the product to achieve those best practices.

Most technology education focuses on how to use the product, all the features that are available, and may delve into how to use those features in the real world, but usually you are left alone to figure that out on your own.

So, with that in mind, this blog will teach you how to use Outlook, but at first, you will learn some best practices. For example, a best practice for email is the manner in which you name your folders. This will be discussed first, followed by instructions on how to create folders using examples based on the best practices you have already learned.

The blog will contain text, screen captures, and even embedded YouTube videos.

I look forward to the following weeks, and to reading your comments. Remember, I am not the only expert on this subject, and I am certainly not an expert in how you need to use Outlook. With that in mind, please share your thoughts with this community, some of your Outlook stories, and perhaps other best practices will be revealed.

Here’s to learning how to use Outlook!

MCSE with Chances of Cloud

MCSE now has cloud components. Anyone surprised? Microsoft says this is a great announcement. I say, they took their time about it; in fact, I thought I had missed the announcement a year ago.

I know this is a blog mostly about Microsoft Office, but if you are learning Office, you may be interested in learning about the MCSE certifications, specifically in regards to the newly added cloud components. Here’s the release:

Move Your Career to the Cloud with the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert certification

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a reinvented certification for today’s technology solutions

Microsoft has reinvented its certification program by building a broader and deeper set of technology solutions skills validation, starting with cloud-enabled solution skills. As one of the most recognized and respected certification programs, Microsoft is charting the path for IT Professionals and Developers to keep their skills relevant as new technology solutions are released.

Reinvented, Not Just Renamed

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) emphasizes solutions

Microsoft has reinvented its certifications to validate the skill sets needed to develop, deploy, and maintain Microsoft technology solutions. These certifications recognize IT Pros and Developers who have skill sets that run both broad and deep. Certifications are available at three skill levels:

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

The Associate level is the prerequisite certification necessary to get your Expert level certification. This certification validates the core skills you need to get your 1st job in IT.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) &
Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)

The Expert level is Microsoft’s flagship set of certifications validating that your skills are relevant in the constantly changing tech environment. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is the destination for established IT Professionals who have expertise working with Microsoft technology solutions. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is the destination for established Developers who have expertise developing solutions with Microsoft tools.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM)

After you have achieved your Expert level certification, Master is the next destination. This certification is for the select few who wish to further differentiate themselves from their peers and achieve the highest level of skills validation.

The Cloud Changes Everything

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) helps bridge the new cloud computing talent gap

“With the demand for cloud skills growing quickly, the gap between hiring demand and talent supply across the United States is getting larger and causing more difficulties in sourcing candidates.”

Wanted Analytics, Hiring Demand for Cloud Computing Skills Skyrocketing, March 2012

The need for cloud computing skills has been pushing the market for months. Solution providers are seeking cloud-ready employees to bring their businesses to the next level. The cloud computing market is evolving at such a pace that while the number of job postings is skyrocketing, the talent isn’t there to fill the positions.

In the past 20 years, Microsoft Certifications have been THE tool to address the skills gap. To be relevant, certifications need to continue to be the tool needed and recognized in the market.

That’s why Microsoft has reinvented its certification program—to certify a deeper set of skills that are mapped to the Cloud and to real-world business contexts. Rather than testing only on a component of a technology, IT Professionals and Developers are now tested on more advanced skills and a deeper understanding of the technology.

New Certifications Are Available Now

Private Cloud and SQL lead the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) reinvention

We’ve posted a lot more information about the reinvented program and the first new certifications: Private Cloud MCSE, Database MCSE & Business Intelligence MCSE:

Microsoft Certification overview page: http://aka.ms/MSCerts

Microsoft Certification overview video: http://aka.ms/MSCertsVideo

MCSE information page: http://aka.ms/MCSE

MCSE video on YouTube: http://aka.ms/MCSEvideo

MCSE Private Cloud: http://aka.ms/MCSEpvcloud

MCSE Data Platform: http://aka.ms/MCSEDP

MCSE Business Intelligence: http://aka.ms/MCSEBI

Want the exam? Here’s a deal: 2-for-1 exam offer from Prometric:

Prometric 2-for-1 offer: http://aka.ms/Prometric241

© 2012 Lorin Ledger

MCSE with Chances of Cloud

MCSE now has cloud components. Anyone surprised? Microsoft says this is a great announcement. I say, they took their time about it; in fact, I thought I had missed the announcement a year ago.

I know this is a blog mostly about Microsoft Office, but if you are learning Office, you may be interested in learning about the MCSE certifications, specifically in regards to the newly added cloud components. Here’s the release:

Move Your Career to the Cloud with the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert certification

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a reinvented certification for today’s technology solutions

Microsoft has reinvented its certification program by building a broader and deeper set of technology solutions skills validation, starting with cloud-enabled solution skills. As one of the most recognized and respected certification programs, Microsoft is charting the path for IT Professionals and Developers to keep their skills relevant as new technology solutions are released.

Reinvented, Not Just Renamed

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) emphasizes solutions

Microsoft has reinvented its certifications to validate the skill sets needed to develop, deploy, and maintain Microsoft technology solutions. These certifications recognize IT Pros and Developers who have skill sets that run both broad and deep. Certifications are available at three skill levels:

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

The Associate level is the prerequisite certification necessary to get your Expert level certification. This certification validates the core skills you need to get your 1st job in IT.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) &
Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)

The Expert level is Microsoft’s flagship set of certifications validating that your skills are relevant in the constantly changing tech environment. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is the destination for established IT Professionals who have expertise working with Microsoft technology solutions. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is the destination for established Developers who have expertise developing solutions with Microsoft tools.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM)

After you have achieved your Expert level certification, Master is the next destination. This certification is for the select few who wish to further differentiate themselves from their peers and achieve the highest level of skills validation.

The Cloud Changes Everything

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) helps bridge the new cloud computing talent gap

“With the demand for cloud skills growing quickly, the gap between hiring demand and talent supply across the United States is getting larger and causing more difficulties in sourcing candidates.”

Wanted Analytics, Hiring Demand for Cloud Computing Skills Skyrocketing, March 2012

The need for cloud computing skills has been pushing the market for months. Solution providers are seeking cloud-ready employees to bring their businesses to the next level. The cloud computing market is evolving at such a pace that while the number of job postings is skyrocketing, the talent isn’t there to fill the positions.

In the past 20 years, Microsoft Certifications have been THE tool to address the skills gap. To be relevant, certifications need to continue to be the tool needed and recognized in the market.

That’s why Microsoft has reinvented its certification program—to certify a deeper set of skills that are mapped to the Cloud and to real-world business contexts. Rather than testing only on a component of a technology, IT Professionals and Developers are now tested on more advanced skills and a deeper understanding of the technology.

New Certifications Are Available Now

Private Cloud and SQL lead the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) reinvention

We’ve posted a lot more information about the reinvented program and the first new certifications: Private Cloud MCSE, Database MCSE & Business Intelligence MCSE:

Microsoft Certification overview page: http://aka.ms/MSCerts

Microsoft Certification overview video: http://aka.ms/MSCertsVideo

MCSE information page: http://aka.ms/MCSE

MCSE video on YouTube: http://aka.ms/MCSEvideo

MCSE Private Cloud: http://aka.ms/MCSEpvcloud

MCSE Data Platform: http://aka.ms/MCSEDP

MCSE Business Intelligence: http://aka.ms/MCSEBI

Want the exam? Here’s a deal: 2-for-1 exam offer from Prometric:

Prometric 2-for-1 offer: http://aka.ms/Prometric241

© 2012 Lorin Ledger

Prove Yourself, Young Jedi, with Certifications

Here is blog three in a series on certifications. No introduction this time, sorry. You’ll just have to start reading the guest post by Veronica Sopher from Microsoft.

March 29, 2012

Prove Yourself with a Rigorous Certification

Organizations around the world are facing a data explosion. According to Gartner, information volume is growing worldwide at a minimum rate of 59% annually, with 15% of that data as structured data and the rest comprised of new complex data types1. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 gives organizations the foundation to the cloud-ready information platform, helping organizations unlock breakthrough insights, quickly build solutions, and extend their data from the server to the cloud with advanced capabilities for mission critical confidence.

But while data is predicted to grow 44 times over the next decade2, the number of IT Professionals is only growing at 1.4 times. Employers will be looking for IT professionals with the SQL skills to handle the demands of their organization’s data. How will they know where to look?

Microsoft Certifications let IT Professionals prove that they the skills needed for these new challenges.

Our certifications require a rigorous depth of knowledge. And we ensure that rigor by:

  • Designing certifications that test the skills that employers and hiring managers acknowledge as most essential to their employees’ success on the job.
  • Developing exams that focus on the real world use of Microsoft technologies in organizations.
  • Delivering our exams using appropriate security measures, so employers and candidates know that each certification earned carries solid value in the marketplace.
  • Defending our certifications by keeping our design, development and delivery processes secure.

This all means that when you earn a Microsoft certification, your employers and peers know that you have up-to-date technological knowledge, and can bring more insightful problem solving skills to the workplace. In a survey of 700 IT professionals, 60% said certification led to a new job3. And in a 2011 research report by CompTIA, 64 percent of IT hiring managers said that certifications had an extremely high or high value in validating the skills and expertise of job candidates4.]

The data explosion is placing new demands on organizations and IT departments. Microsoft Certifications prove that you have the depth of skills to help them handle it. Start proving your skills now with the SQL 2012 certification.

1 “The End of the Database as We Know It – noDISK, noSQL, Cloudy”, Donald Feinberg, Gartner IT Symposium, October 2010.

2 IDC: 2010 Digital Universe Study.

3 “Will IT certs get you jobs and raises? Survey says yes”, Julie Bort, networkworld.com, 14 November 2011.

4 “Why Certifications Mean Better Pay, Better Recognition, Better Marketability”, CompTIA (Terry Erdle), channelinsider.com, 19 October 2011.

The Industry is Changing, The Industry is Changing!

Paul Rever might have announced that warning today, making everyone run to the nearest college or university with laptop in hand.

A constant mantra from tech giants over the last few decades is “the industry is changing—make sure your skills keep pace”. And they have always been right, and I could say the cliché as well, but the thing that is changing isn’t that things are changing; it’s that things are changing faster and faster.

This provides an excellent opportunity for those who like to keep up with the pace, leaving the slower adapters behind. However, another thing that happens with so much change is more technologies are introduced, expanding the breadth of what we need to keep pace with. This is a different kind of opportunity that allows us to specialize in one area or expertise, kind of like a doctor who becomes a specialist. No-one (well, not everyone) can possibly know everything there is to know about all aspects of the computer world, so we specialize instead. My specialty is MS Office—I love showing office workers how to maximize their time with its features. That means I need to constantly keep up-to-date with that product, its competitors, and what is coming up in the future. That is plenty enough for me, along with my communications teaching, hobbies, and raising two teens alone. Oh, and this blog as well. Perhaps I can change into a blogaholic. That would be good, right?

So, with change in mind, here is a guest blog from Microsoft’s Veronica Sopher, number 2 in a series about MCTs and certification. This one is change, certifications, and compressed software build cycles. Enjoy!

 

March 16, 2012

The Industry is Changing—Make Sure Your Skills Keep Pace

The tech industry has changed a lot of over the last 20 years, and we’ve continually updated Microsoft Certifications to keep pace with it. In previous post, we discussed how we’ve kept the certifications relevant to changing technologies. So how do Microsoft Certifications help you to keep your skills relevant in today’s rapidly changing tech landscape?

You’ve probably noticed that IT Technology cycles continue to compress. The advantages of Microsoft’s private cloud solution mean that it is easier and quicker than ever to develop and deploy new applications in a private cloud datacenter. And the software companies you depend on for your tools and environment—like Microsoft—have compressed their cycles, too. That means new more change, more often, as your work environment updates with new software and technologies.

Microsoft Certification continually updates too, to help you keep your skills up to date in this changing environment. We’re keeping Microsoft Certifications current with more streamlined, solutions-based certification paths covering the latest trends in the industry. For example, in addition to our upcoming Private Cloud certification, a Windows 8 Certification is coming soon.

And having a Microsoft Certification sends a clear message to employers that you have proven skills in the latest technologies. For instance, a 2011 CompTIA study found that IT professionals gain an average 9% salary increase immediately after receiving certification, and 29% over the long term, versus peers who are not certified (channelinsider.com, 2011-10-19). And in a in a 2010 survey of hiring managers, 91% said they consider employee certification as a criterion for hiring (Microsoft Learning, 2010).

We’re keeping Microsoft Certification current so you can keep your skills—and your career—current. You can get prepared now for Windows 8 Certification by upgrading your certification to MCITP: Enterprise desktop 7 .

Keeping Relevant to Evolving Technology

 

Hi folks, I guess it’s about time I start blogging again. It’s been a while, I know, and when I am blogging I am happy. Ergo, I must blog!

An opportunity has arisen to include a post from Microsoft. The post is below. This is a great incentive to get myself back in the blogging habit. The post below is excellent, and worth the read. Enjoy!

March 7, 2012

Keeping Relevant to Evolving Technology

Over the past 20 years, Microsoft Certifications have continually stayed relevant to the needs of technology professionals and the companies that employ them. We’ve already discussed how we’ve kept our exam development process relevant. So now let’s look at some of the ways we’re keeping the certifications themselves relevant to changing technologies.

And speaking of changing technologies, IT departments all over the world have heard the news:

A private cloud delivers fundamentally new capabilities that represent a generational paradigm shift in computing.

from the Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform website

By pooling resources across the datacenter and the enterprise and offering an elastic and usage-based self-service model, a private cloud solution simplifies deployment, maintenance, and cost, while increasing agility and power.

And this paradigm shift in computing means a paradigm shift in the skills IT professionals will need to configure, deploy, monitor, and operate private cloud solutions of today—and tomorrow. The increased capacity and capability of Private Cloud solutions means that IT Professionals and Developers will need to have a new and broader set of skills.

Microsoft Learning is addressing this need for new skills by ensuring it offers training and certifications that enable IT Pros and Developers to develop and validate their skill sets across this new range of skills with a focus on specific technology solutions. One example of this effort is the recently announced private cloud certification. Available as a Beta release in April, the certification starts with the foundation of current Windows Server 2008 exams, and adds two new System Center 2012 exams, currently in beta.

Get started today by heading over to the Microsoft Private Cloud Certification Overview page. That’s where you can prepare and practice for the certification, sign up for our upcoming Private Cloud Jump Start course, and get a head start on your private cloud certification by starting your MCITP Server Administrator certification.

The traditional datacenter model is changing rapidly—and Microsoft Certification continues to change with it, to help you keep your skills relevant in the new world of the private cloud.