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This chapter is from the book

Using the Navigation Pane and Folder List

Outlook 2007's Navigation Pane (see Figure 3.3) provides quick access to all of your Outlook items.

Figure 3.3

Figure 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 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—This 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—This 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—This 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—This pane contains a clickable list of your available Tasks folders and a Current View section.
  • Notes—This pane contains a clickable list of your available Notes folders and a Current View section.
  • Folder List—This 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—This pane contains a section for shortcuts to Outlook folders, files stored on your computer or an intranet, programs, and web pages.
  • Journal—This pane isn't accessible by default in Outlook 2007. 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. 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 strip 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 light 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 visible only 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 box 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 3.4

Figure 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 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 3 or 4 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 a search folder for Unread Mail. 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 3.5

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

218fig01.gif 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, but you can collapse it. Click the double downward arrows on the right of the Favorite Folders list or click the heading Favorite Folders to collapse the list. You can expand the list at any time by clicking on the heading Favorite Folders.

Using the Mail View Versus The Folder List

Prior to Outlook 2003, all folders were displayed in the folder list. Outlook 2007 still has this feature, but the standard view of the Navigation Pane is the Mail view. When you select Mail 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 action removes the Favorite Folders section from the Navigation Pane and displays your entire folder list, as shown in Figure 3.6.

Figure 3.6

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

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 3.7

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

Outlook ships with one default shortcut group, Shortcuts, 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 the Add to Navigation Pane dialog box, shown in Figure 3.8.
    Figure 3.8

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

  2. Either select a folder from the Folder drop-down box or use the folder tree to choose a folder.
  3. Click OK to add a shortcut to the default Shortcuts group.

After adding a folder 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 shortcuts are 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.

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 in the Shortcuts area, use the following steps:

  1. Open the folder that contains the Windows file, folder, or program 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, folder, or program executable to the shortcut group.

Using Other Navigation Pane Components

The other components of the Navigation Pane are visible only when you're 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.

Figure 3.9

Figure 3.9 The Calendar Navigation Pane displays the date navigator and a list of your Calendar folders.

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), Calendar folders in any other Personal Folders file you have open within Outlook, as well as any Calendar folders you're sharing from other users. In Figure 3.9, two Calendar folders are available in the My Calendars section. You can choose to display as many Calendar folders as you want. Figure 3.10 shows two Calendar folders displayed in the same window. The tabs at the top of each folder tell you which folder is which. 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.

Figure 3.10

Figure 3.10 You can display multiple Outlook calendars side by side.

Selecting any other folder button, such as Contacts, Tasks, Journal, or Notes, from the Navigation Pane displays one additional section: the Current View section (see Figure 3.11). 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 3.11

Figure 3.11 The Current View section of the Navigation Pane enables you to switch the folder's view with a single mouse click.

Collapsing the Navigation Pane

218fig01.gif Outlook 2007's Navigation Pane offers two enhancements over Outlook 2003. First, every section of the Navigation Pane is either collapsible or resizable. To collapse a section of the Navigation Pane, click the two small up arrows on the right side of any navigation pane section. Figure 3.12 shows the Mail view of the Navigation Pane with the All Mail Folders section collapsed.

Figure 3.12

Figure 3.12 You can collapse most of the sections of the Navigation Pane.

In addition to collapsing sections of the Navigation Pane, you can also hide it almost completely. Click the double left arrows at the top of the Navigation Pane to collapse the pane to the left of the screen, as shown in Figure 3.13.

Figure 3.13

Figure 3.13 You can collapse the Navigation Pane to the left side of the screen.

Even when the Navigation Pane is collapsed to the left, you can still access any of the shortcut buttons. If you want to expand the Navigation Pane, you have two options. You can click on the words Navigation Pane to display the Favorite Folders and All Mail Folders of the pane (if you're in Mail view). These sections will hover over your messages, allowing you to choose a folder. After you've chosen a folder, they will collapse again. To expand the Navigation Pane to its original state, click on the double right arrows on top of the Navigation Pane.

You can also turn the Navigation Pane off completely. To do this, press Alt+F1 on the keyboard or select View, Navigation Pane, Off.

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