Outlook Keyboard Shortcuts Offer Control

If you use Microsoft Outlook, you know how useful it is. However, did you know there are many useful shortcuts to optimize your productivity? Whether you want to navigate more quickly or send an email faster, these keyboard shortcuts will help. They will also reduce the chances of repetitive strain injuries if used regularly. If you aren’t familiar with them, here is a list of common keyboard shortcuts that can make your daily activities easier.

Suppose you’ve not tried Outlook keyboard shortcuts. You should, as they offer several benefits. First, the examples listed in this article can do the specified task faster than using your mouse. Secondly, you’ll appreciate the alternate methods if you ever lose your mouse or have RSI. One quick note, these shortcuts are different than those used to create special symbols and characters.

Using Control Key Shortcuts

The shortcut process is simple. You press a set of defined keys in a sequence. The + sign indicates the next key to be pressed. Each key is held down until all the keys have been pressed. Chances are you’ve already used some shortcut keys in Windows, such as Ctrl + C, to copy an item to your clipboard.

I’ll focus on the shortcuts that use the Ctrl key to make the learning easier. I think this key, in combination with other keys, gives you the most control within Outlook. I’ve broken these shortcuts into two categories. For Mac users, please use your Command key.

  • Keyboard shortcuts that work anywhere within Microsoft Outlook
  • Keyboard shortcuts that are specific to one area or folder

I’ve also noted the shortcut keys as capitals for easier reading.

Shortcut Keys to Navigate Outlook

Microsoft Outlook includes a set of default folders based on the information type. These include Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, Journal, and Notes. You can access these areas quickly using the Ctrl key and the numbers 1-8.

You’ll also note there is a key combination for “Shortcuts.” This is a customizable Outlook menu but not related to keyboard shortcuts. Unfortunately, there is no way to reassign these items.

Ctrl + 1 Moves to Mail
Ctrl + 2 Moves to Calendar
Ctrl + 3 Moves to Contact
Ctrl + 4 Moves to Tasks
Ctrl + 5 Moves to Notes
Ctrl + 6 Moves to Folders
Ctrl + 7 Moves to Shortcuts
Ctrl + 8 Moves to Journal

Suppose you’re viewing your Inbox and want to see your calendar, type Ctrl + 2. To return to your Inbox, type Ctrl + 1.

These shortcuts won’t work if you drill down to a folder item. For example, nothing would happen if you were reading a specific email or viewing a friend’s contact and pressed Ctrl + 4 to go to Tasks. You need to be up one level.

Shifting Control to Create New Items

While the above shortcuts work at the top level, the next set works anywhere in Microsoft Outlook. This is ideal since you often need to create a task or appointment while reading an email.

These shortcuts all use the Ctrl key in combination with the Shift key. You might remember this by thinking of SHIFTing your focus to another area. You can also see the last letter in the sequence is usually the first letter of the information type. The exception is Outlook Tasks that require a K.

Ctrl + SHIFT + A Creates an Appointment
Ctrl + SHIFT + C Creates a Contact
Ctrl + SHIFT + K Creates a Task
Ctrl + SHIFT + M Creates a Mail item
Ctrl + SHIFT + N Creates a Note

Gaining Email Efficiency

The next set is designed to work specifically with Outlook email, where most of us spend our time. We often need to act on the email we’re reading. The nice part is these keyboard shortcuts work whether you’re in your Inbox or reading a specific email.

Ctrl + F Forwards the message
Ctrl + M Send and receive Mail
Ctrl + R Replies to the sender
Ctrl + SHIFT + R Replies to all recipients
Ctrl + SHIFT + G Flags the email for follow up

Are These All The Shortcuts?

If you know Microsoft products, then it goes without saying there are many more keyboard shortcuts than what I listed. I think I saw something like over 250. But you don’t need to be overwhelmed when you’re looking to get acquainted with these keystrokes. Start with a common denominator like Ctrl or . Once mastered, you can then learn the next set.