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Outlook 2003 redefines the user experience by replacing the Outlook Bar and Folder list with a new content-sensitive Navigation Pane (see Figure 3.3).


It's interesting to note that the original name of the Navigation Pane was the WunderBar (pronounced voon-der-bar). It really is a wonder bar of sorts, allowing you to access all of your Outlook information through the buttons on the Outlook shortcut bar and to display folder-specific information in the rest of the pane.

Figure 3.3Figure 3.3 The Navigation Pane's Task view displays your task folders and enables you to select different views.

The Navigation Pane contains different content panes that you can use to view different types of Outlook folders, the Outlook Folder list, and the new Shortcuts area. Each content pane contains different user interface elements based on what you are likely to need in that particular view. The eight content panes and their included sections are

  • Mail—The Mail pane contains two sections by default: the Favorite Folders list and the All Mail Folders section. You can also customize the Mail pane to include a Current View section.

  • Calendar—The Calendar pane contains the date navigator and a section that displays other Calendar folders you can access. You can also customize the Calendar pane to display a Current View section.

  • Contacts—The Contacts pane contains a section that displays a clickable list of your available Contacts folders, a section for Contacts folders in public folders or other users' mailboxes, and a Current View section.

  • Tasks—Selecting the Tasks pane enables you to view a clickable list of your available Tasks folders and a Current View section.

  • Notes—The Notes pane contains a clickable list of your available Notes folders and a Current View section.

  • Folder List—Selecting the Folder List pane shows you a hierarchical list of all of your Outlook folders, including special folders such as Sync Issues, Local Failures, Conflicts, and Public Folders.

  • Shortcuts—The Shortcuts pane contains a section for shortcuts to Outlook folders, files stored on your computer or an Intranet, programs, and Web pages.

  • Journal—The Journal pane isn't accessible by default in Outlook 2003. However, you can click the Configure Buttons shortcut on the Navigation Pane and add the Journal to the Navigation Pane view. The Journal pane contains a clickable list of your available Journal folders and a Current View section.

Configuring the Navigation Pane Options

The Navigation Pane contains buttons for each type of Outlook folder. These buttons replace the Outlook bar from previous versions of Outlook. By default, when you first install Outlook, the following buttons are visible on the Navigation Pane.

  • Mail

  • Calendar

  • Contacts

  • Tasks

Below those four buttons is another button containing the following icons:

  • Notes

  • Folder List

  • Shortcuts

  • Journal

  • Configure Buttons

You can change the size of the button container by positioning your mouse on the solid blue border on top of the container. When your mouse pointer changes to a double-headed arrow, click and drag the container up or down. As you change the size, you change which sections are visible as horizontal buttons and which are only visible as icons. On a high screen resolution, you can actually display all the buttons horizontally with their names and icons.

To access the Navigation Pane options dialog shown in Figure 3.4, you can either right-click one of the Navigation Pane buttons or click the button on the bottom right of the Navigation Pane. Select Navigation Pane Options to choose which buttons appear on the Navigation Pane and in what order they are listed. For example, if you rarely use the Tasks folder, you might want to remove it from the Navigation Pane to make the Journal more easily accessible. You can also click the Reset button to return the Navigation Pane to its default configuration.

Figure 3.4Figure 3.4 You can set which shortcuts are visible as banners or buttons on the Navigation Pane.

Using the Favorite Folders List

The top section of the Navigation Pane contains a new section for your favorite folders. The average Outlook user has at least 10 user-created folders. When viewing the Navigation Pane in Mail view, you might not be able to see all of your mail folders at once. That's where the Favorite Folders list comes in. You probably have three or four folders that you use all the time. Add those folders to your Favorite Folders list for quick and easy access.

To add a folder to your Favorite Folders list, right-click the folder and select Add to Favorite Folders. By default, the Favorite Folder list contains the Inbox, Sent Items, and two search folders: Unread Mail and For Follow Up. You can remove any of these folders from the Favorite Folders list by right-clicking the folder and selecting Remove from Favorite Folders. Figure 3.5 shows the Favorite Folders list with several new folders.

Figure 3.5Figure 3.5 The Favorite Folders list offers quick access to commonly used folders.

The Favorite Folders list will grow in size to accommodate all the folders you add. If you remove folders from the Favorite Folders list, it will shrink. You cannot completely remove the Favorite Folders list from your Navigation Pane. You also cannot manually resize the Favorite Folders list.

Mail View Versus Folder List

Previous versions of Outlook displayed all folders in a folder list. Outlook 2003 still has this feature, but the standard view of the Navigation Pane is the Mail view. When Mail is selected from the Navigation Pane, the middle section of the Navigation Pane contains a listing of all mail folders. Non-mail folders such as Calendar, Contacts, Journal, Notes, and Tasks aren't shown in this view. This change was made so that users could more quickly navigate to the type of information they need. You can still display your folder list at any time by clicking on the folder list icon at the bottom of the Navigation Pane. This removes the Favorite Folders section from the Navigation Pane and displays your entire folder list as shown in Figure 3.6.

Figure 3.6Figure 3.6 The Folder List view shows you all types of Outlook folders.


If you're a big fan of the folder list, you can turn it on any time by clicking the Folder List icon. Unlike the other icons in the Navigation Pane, selecting the folder list does not change your current Outlook folder. It just replaces Mail View with the Folder list view. This change is persisted if you exit Outlook and reopen it. Unfortunately, after you click on another button on the Navigation Pane, your folder list disappears and you have to open it again.

Using My Shortcuts

The last component of the new Navigation Pane is the Shortcuts area. You can view Shortcuts by selecting the Shortcuts button on the bottom of the Navigation Pane as shown in Figure 3.7.

Figure 3.7Figure 3.7 The Shortcuts pane enables you to create shortcuts to Outlook folders, Office documents, or other programs.

Outlook ships with two default shortcut groups (Shortcuts and the empty group My Created Folders), but you can add additional groups by clicking the Add New Group hyperlink. This adds a new group to the bottom of the list. You can rename this new group by right-clicking it and selecting Rename Group. You can add an Outlook folder to the default Shortcuts group or to your new group with the following steps:

  1. Click Add New Shortcut to display Figure 3.8.

  2. Either select a folder from the Folder Name drop-down box or use the folder tree to choose a folder.

  3. Click OK to add a shortcut to the default Shortcuts group.

Once a folder has been added to a group, you can drag it to other groups. To remove a shortcut, right-click the shortcut and choose Delete Shortcut. Outlook will ask you whether you really want to remove the shortcut. If you choose Yes, the shortcut is removed.

In addition to adding and removing shortcuts, you can change the order in which the shortcutsare displayed. To move a shortcut up or down in a group, right-click the shortcut and select either Move Up in List or Move Down in List. You can also drag and drop the shortcut up or down in the list or between groups.

Figure 3.8Figure 3.8 Select any folder in your mailbox or Personal Folders file to add as a shortcut.

If you want to remove an entire group, right-click the group and select Remove Group.

You can also add shortcuts to Windows files or even other programs to the Shortcuts area. To add a shortcut to Microsoft Word to the Shortcuts area, use the following steps:

  1. Open the folder that contains the Windows file or folder you want to add to your Shortcuts area.

  2. Shrink the Outlook window so that you can view both the Shortcuts area and the Windows file you need at the same time.

  3. Drag and drop the Windows file or folder to the shortcut group.

Other Navigation Pane Components

The other components of the Navigation Pane are visible only when viewing other folders. Selecting the Calendar button on the Navigation Pane displays the Calendar folder with its own Navigation Pane as shown in Figure 3.9.

The top component of the Calendar Navigation Pane contains the Date Navigator. Use the Date Navigator to change the date you're currently viewing in your Calendar.

The middle section of the Navigation Pane contains a listing of all the Calendar folders in your default message store (either a Personal Folders file or an Exchange mailbox) and Calendar folders in any other Personal Folders file you have open within Outlook, as well as any Calendar folders you're sharing with other users. In Figure 3.9, there is one Calendar folder available in the My Calendars section. You can choose to display as many Calendar folders as you want. Figure 3.9 shows two Calendar folders displayed in the same window. This functionality can be helpful if you're managing a team. Simply add all team members' calendars to your view and you can see what everyone is working on at once.

Selecting any other folder button, such as Contacts, Tasks, Journal, or Notes, from the Navigation Pane displays one additional section: the Current View section (Figure 3.10).

Figure 3.9Figure 3.9 The Calendar Navigation Pane displays the Date Navigator and a list of your Calendar folders.

This section displays all the available views for the folder, and enables you to change views by selecting the option button next to the view you want. At the bottom of the Current View section is a links section that enables you to open a shared folder, share your folder, or customize the current view.

Figure 3.10Figure 3.10 The Current View section of the Navigation Pane enables you to switch the folder's view with a single mouse click.

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