Are you getting the most from Outlook 2016 và 2019 for Windows? Learn about the key features in Microsoft’s tin nhắn and calendaring client.

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The pundits would have you believe that email is being supplanted by texting, social media, chat apps like Slack, và direct communications software such as Skype and Google Hangouts Meet.

Don’t believe them.

Email is still big, the mainstay of workplace communications. And for countless users, email means Microsoft Outlook.

Microsoft sells its Office suite of productivity apps under two models: Individuals & businesses can pay for the software license up front và own it forever (what the company calls the “perpetual” version of the suite), or they can purchase an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription, which means they have sầu access lớn the software for only as long as they keep paying the subscription fee.

< Related: Microsoft cheat sheets: Dive sầu inkhổng lồ Windows và Office apps >

When you purchase a perpetual version of the suite — say, Office năm 2016 or Office 2019 — its applications will never get new features, whereas apps in an Office 365/Microsoft 365 subscription are continually updated with new features. (For more details, see “What are the differences between Microsoft Office 2019 & Office 365?”)

This cheat sheet gets you up khổng lồ tốc độ on the features that were introduced in Outlook 2016 & Outlook 2019, the perpetual-license versions of Outlook included with Office năm nhâm thìn and Office 2019, respectively. In Microsoft 365/Office 365, Outlook has all those features, plus several more. See our separate Outlook for Microsoft 365 cheat sheet lớn learn about all its lathử nghiệm features.

Most of the tips in this article apply lớn both Outlook năm 2016 and Outlook 2019 for Windows. Near the kết thúc are tips for Outlook 2019 only, & then we wrap up with handy keyboard shortcuts for both versions.

chú ý that the screenshots shown in this article were taken in Outlook 2019. If you’re using Outlook năm 2016, some screens may look slightly different.

Share this story: IT folks, we hope you"ll pass this guide on lớn your users to lớn help them learn lớn get the most from Outlook năm nhâm thìn & 2019.

Use the Ribbon

The Ribbon interface in Outlook năm nhâm thìn hasn’t changed much compared to earlier versions. Because the Ribbon has been included in Office suite applications since Office 2007, we assume you"re familiar with how it works. If you need a refresher, see our Outlook 2010 cheat sheet.

The Ribbon in Outlook năm nhâm thìn has a flattened look that"s cleaner & less cluttered than in Outlook 2010 & 2013. The newer Ribbon is smaller than it was in Outlook 2013, the title bar now is xanh rather than the previous white, và the text for the Ribbon tabs (File, Home, Send/Receive, & so on) is a mix of upper- và lowercase rather than all caps. But it still works in the same way, và you"ll find most of the commands in the same locations as in Outlook 2013.


The Ribbon hasn"t changed a great khuyễn mãi giảm giá from Outlook 2013. (Clichồng image to enlarge it.)

To find out which commands live on which tabs on the Ribbon, tải về our Outlook năm nhâm thìn and 2019 Ribbon quiông chồng reference. Also see the nifty new Tell Me feature described below.

As in previous versions of Outlook, if you want the Ribbon commands to lớn go away, press Ctrl-F1. (The tabs above sầu the Ribbon stay visible.) To make them reappear, press Ctrl-F1 again.

You’ve got other options for displaying the Ribbon as well. To get khổng lồ them, cliông chồng the Ribbon Display Options inhỏ at the top right of the screen, just to the left of the icons for minimizing & maximizing Outlook. From the drop-down thực đơn, you can choose Auto-hide Ribbon (hide the entire Ribbon, both the tabs và commands underneath them), Show Tabs (show the tabs but hide the commands underneath them, as when you press Ctrl-F1), or Show Tabs & Commands (show the whole Ribbon).

And if for some reason the greed color on the title bar is too much for you, you can turn it White or gray. (In Outlook 2019, there’s also a blaông xã option.) To do it, select File > Options > General. In the “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” section, cliông xã the down arrow next to Office Theme và select Dark Gray or White (or Black) from the drop-down menu. To make the title bar blue again, instead choose the Colorful option from the drop-down danh mục. Just above the Office Theme menu is an Office Background drop-down thực đơn — here you can choose to lớn display a pattern such as a circuit board or circles and stripes in the title bar.


To change Outlook’s xanh title bar: In the “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” section, clichồng the down arrow next lớn Office Theme & pick dark gray, white, or (in Outlook 2019) blachồng. (Cliông xã image khổng lồ enlarge it.)

Try Tell Me for greater efficiency

Outlook is so full of features it can be tough to rethành viên where to find commands you haven’t used in a while. Microsoft has made it easier with a new feature in Outlook năm 2016 và 2019 called Tell Me, which puts even buried tools you rarely use in easy reach.

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To use it, cliông chồng the Tell me what you want lớn do text to lớn the right of the Ribbon tabs. (If you prefer keyboard shortcuts, press Alt-Q.) Then type in a task you want lớn bởi, and you"ll get a thực đơn showing potential matches for the task.

For example, if you want to filter your mail khổng lồ see only messages with attachments, type in filter email. In this instance, the top result is a Filter E-Mail listing with an arrow to lớn its right, indicating that it has many options. Hover your mouse over it, và you get multiple options for filtering your mail, including by Unread, Has Attachments, This Week, & others.


The Tell Me feature in Outlook năm nhâm thìn và 2019 makes it easy to perkhung just about any task. (Clichồng image to enlarge it.)

Choose the option you want, and the task will be performed instantly. If you"d like more information about your task, the last two items that appear in the Tell Me menu let you select from related help topics or search for your phrase using Smart Lookup. (More on Smart Lookup below.)

For the most common basic tasks, you won’t need Tell Me. But for more complex ones, it’s worth using, because it’s much more efficient than hunting through the Ribbon khổng lồ find a commvà. It also remembers the features you"ve previously clicked on in the box, so when you cliông chồng in it, you first see a danh mục of previous tasks you"ve searched for. That makes sure that the tasks you frequently persize are always within easy reach, while at the same time making tasks you rarely bởi vì easily accessible.

Use Smart Lookup for online research

Sometimes emails are just quick notes that don’t require much research, và you can toss them off with little or no thought. Other times, though, you’ll want lớn include relevant information before sending them off. Those are the times you’ll appreciate the new Smart Lookup feature. It lets you vị research from right within Outlook while you"re creating an gmail, so you won’t have sầu khổng lồ fire up your browser, tìm kiếm the website, và then copy the information or pictures to your message.

To use Smart Lookup, right-click a word or group of words in an email — it can be a new draft, a message you’ve received, or one you’ve already sent — & select Smart Lookup from the thực đơn that appears. Outlook then uses Bing to lớn do a website search on the word or words, displaying definitions, related Wikipedia entries, pictures and other results from the web in the pane that appears on the right. If you just want a definition of the word, click the Define tab in the pane.


Smart Lookup lets you vày web research from right within Outlook. (Cliông chồng image lớn enlarge it.)

To use Smart Lookup in Outlook or any other Office tiện ích, you might first need to enable Microsoft"s intelligent services feature, which collects your tìm kiếm terms & some content from your presentations và other documents. (If you"re concerned about privacy, you"ll need decide whether the privacy hit is worth the convenience of doing research from right within the app.) If you haven"t enabled it, you"ll see a screen when you click Smart Lookup asking you to turn it on. Once you vị so, it will be turned on across all your Office applications.

Find attachments more easily — & cốt truyện ‘cloud attachments’

We’ve sầu all been there: We want lớn attach a tệp tin we were recently working on, but don’t remember its precise location — or sometimes even its name — và spkết thúc far too much time navigating và searching for it.

Outlook năm nhâm thìn và 2019 solve sầu the problem neatly. When you clichồng the Attach File icon, a menu of the twelve sầu most recent files you’ve sầu been using pops up. The các mục includes all the files you’ve sầu been using on any device, as long as you’re signed in to your Microsoft account. So if you were working on a file on your desktop, then later in the day took your máy tính to lớn work outside your office, Outlook would show you the files you had opened on both devices. If a file is stored in OneDrive, OneDrive sầu for Business, or SharePoint, you’ll see a cloud on its icon.

If the file you want isn’t in the list, cliông chồng Browse this PC at the bottom of the thực đơn khổng lồ browse your local hard disk, or Browse Web Locations khổng lồ browse OneDrive sầu, OneDrive sầu for Business, or SharePoint.


Outlook shows you a menu of files you’ve sầu recently used, making it easier to lớn find & attach them khổng lồ an outgoing gmail. (Cliông chồng image to enlarge it.)

Click the tệp tin you want to attach. What happens next depends on where the file is stored. If you choose a tệp tin that’s stored on your local hard drive sầu, a copy of it will be attached lớn the email in the usual way.

In Office 2019, if you click on a tệp tin that’s stored in OneDrive sầu, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint, you’ll be given a choice: You can choose Attach as copy to send the file as a normal attachment or Share link khổng lồ skết thúc a link to lớn the file in its cloud location, something Microsoft informally calls a “cloud attachment.” (In Office 2016, files stored in the cloud are automatically sent as cloud attachments.)


Sharing a link lớn a tệp tin stored in OneDrive sầu, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint lets you collaborate on the tệp tin with others. (Cliông chồng image lớn enlarge it.)

Sharing a tệp tin as a liên kết ensures that people will see the most recent version of the tệp tin and lets them collaborate on it. For example, if you skết thúc a liên kết to a Word file lớn multiple people, when they clichồng the links, they’ll open the file và be able khổng lồ collaborate on it with each other live using Word’s collaboration features. 

For individuals, the mặc định is that anyone can edit the tệp tin. If you’re in a business environment, by mặc định anyone within your organization can edit the file. But you can change the collaboration permissions. After you’ve sầu attached the liên kết to the gmail message, click the down arrow next khổng lồ the attachment inhỏ & select Change Permissions from the drop-down menu. Individual users will have a choice between Anyone Can Edit or Anyone Can View. Business users have sầu a few other options: Organization Can Edit, Organization Can View, Recipients Can Edit (meaning only those you’ve addressed the gmail to can edit the file), and Recipients Can View. Make your selection & then send the file on its way.


Choosing collaboration permissions for a shared file link. (Cliông xã image khổng lồ enlarge it.)

Note: The following tips are for Office 2019 users only. If you use Office 2016, you can skip to lớn the handy keyboard shortcuts chart at the end of the article.

Get a more focused inbox in Outlook 2019

If you’re lượt thích the rest of the world, you suffer from tin nhắn overload. Your most important messages are mixed in with the dross of everyday tin nhắn life — retailing come-ons, groups begging for donations, pointless newsletters và more.

Focused Inbox helps solve the problem. Using artificial intelligence, it determines which messages are most important khổng lồ you và puts them into a Focused tab, while putting everything else inkhổng lồ an Other tab. That way you can spend most of your time handling important messages in the Focused tab, only occasionally checking the Other tab.

Note that Focused Inbox is available only lớn Outlook 2019 users who have sầu an Exchange or tài khoản. (It’s also available to lớn users with Microsoft 365/Office 365 subscriptions.)

To turn on Focused Inbox, select the View tab from the Ribbon, then cliông xã the Show Focused Inbox inhỏ. From now on, you’ll have two tabs in your Inbox, Focused and Other. The Focused tab should have sầu the most important messages, & the Other tab should have less important messages. If that’s not the case, you can manually move sầu messages from one folder to the other và tell Focused Inbox to lớn automatically filter them in that way in the future.


Turning on Focused Inbox in Office 2019. (Cliông chồng image lớn enlarge it.)

To move a message from one tab to another, right-click the message you want to move sầu, then select Move sầu lớn Other or Move sầu to Focused, depending on where you want the message moved. That will move the message just this once. If you want to permanently route all messages from that sender to lớn the other tab, choose either Always Move to Other or Always Move to lớn Focused.

Focused Inbox isn’t for everybody. If you find that Focused Inbox hinders more than it helps, you can toggle it back off by selecting View > Show Focused Inbox.