HowTo Rename Email Accounts and Mailbox Folders

Rename Mailbox buttonSince the last few Outlook versions, Outlook names your email account and mailbox folder set after your email address. This results in quite large display names which aren’t always meaningful, get truncated or clutters the Outlook interface more than it should.

For instance, when you set the delivery for multiple POP3 accounts to a single pst-file, it doesn’t make sense that the pst-file in Outlook is named after the email address of only 1 account.

Another example is when you have 2 or more accounts and want a more elegant or shorter display name like “Work” and “Private” rather than the full email address.

Favorites section in Outlook with email addresses truncated.     Favorites section in Outlook with short custom names.
Unclutter some areas by renaming accounts and mailboxes.

Some display names can easily be changed but others, like for instance for Exchange and accounts, can be more challenging to change.

This guide instructs you how to change the display name of any Email Account type or Mailbox Folder set in Outlook.

Continue reading: Rename Email Accounts and Mailbox Folders


HowTo Outlook can’t connect to Gmail: Password incorrect

Gmail buttonWhen configuring your Gmail account in Outlook (or other mail clients such as Thunderbird and Mail apps on (older) smartphones), you might run into continues password prompts or sync errors.

This is because Google has turned off Basic Authentication by default for all new accounts and accounts which haven’t synced within the last 30 days and only lets you authenticate via the OAuth 2.0 standard.

As a result, you’ll get Send/Receive errors (0x800CCC0E) and could get prompted for your Gmail password again in Outlook and the login will fail even when you supply the correct password.

Continue reading: Outlook can’t connect to Gmail: Password incorrect

HowTo Making the Outlook 2013 interface less white and bright

There is no point denying it; Outlook 2013 is white, VERY white and for some, this can lead to problems.

Even though white is the base color for all Office 2013 applications, interestingly enough, most complaints are targeted towards Outlook. This could be because the other applications are more like sheets of paper and white feels more natural then. In Outlook, there is a whole lot more interface as well where too little contrast can be more confusing.

I’m no expert in that field though, but luckily Outlook is more my playing field. Let’s look at the options available to make Outlook 2013 less white and bright or otherwise give it a more “classic” look!

Continue reading: Making the Outlook 2013 interface less white and bright

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HowTo Create a button for a macro

VBA Macro buttonWhen adding some custom functionality to Outlook or to perform repetitive tasks more quickly, it often can be achieved by creating a macro in the VBA Editor of Outlook. However, access to the option to execute a macro is a bit buried in the options and dialogs of Outlook or sometimes completely hidden by default. This of course negatively affects the purpose of some macros; to be able to perform repetitive tasks more quickly.

This guide will introduce how you can create a button for your macro in the various screens of Outlook.

Continue reading: Create a button for a macro

HowTo Fonts, sizes and color settings of the Outlook interface

Fonts, Sizes and Colors buttonIf you don’t like the way Outlook looks like by default, you might want to find out how you can change the fonts types, sizes and colors in Outlook to suit your taste better.

Most of them can be changed but the way to do it is scattered between various Windows and Outlook settings and even then they are not in a single location. Some sections can even be modified in multiple ways to reach the same or similar results.

This guide provides an overview how you can change which section of Outlook and if it needs to be done at Outlook level or at Windows level.

Continue reading: Fonts, sizes and color settings of the Outlook interface

HowTo Open link from Outlook in new window

Ever had that when you are reading a webpage a new mail arrives that has a link in it and when you click on it it opens in the window you were just reading? Very annoying if you ask me. Follow these instructions to change this behavior and let the link open in a new window.

Continue reading: Open link from Outlook in new window

HowTo Setting Outlook Group Policies

Group Policy Editor buttonWhen you are in an Active Directory network environment, you can set Outlook policies to enforce settings on a specific or a group of users or computers.

This is mainly to be used to change or limit the default behavior of Outlook in a corporate environment but can also be useful in some home environments. For instance, as a home user you might want to set policies on what your children can and cannot do in Outlook.

This article explains how you can set Group Policies for Outlook and which tools are needed for it.

Continue reading: Setting Outlook Group Policies

HowTo Navigation Pane Tips & Tricks

Toggle the Navigation Pane

With ALT+F1 you can enable/disable the Navigation Pane

Easily switch between the various Navigation Panes;

  • CTRL+1    Mail Navigation
  • CTRL+2    Calendar Navigation
  • CTRL+3    Contacts Navigation
  • CTRL+4    Tasks Navigation
  • CTRL+5    Notes Navigation
  • CTRL+6    Folder List Navigation
  • CTRL+7    Shortcuts Navigation
  • CTRL+8    Journal Navigation

Add Shortcuts to the Shortcuts Navigation

You can build your own custom menu in the Shortcuts Navigation. It can consist of anything like shortcuts to Outlook folders, Explorer Folder, files and applications and can be organized in expandable/collapsible groups.

  • For an Outlook folder; click Add new Shortcut
  • For an Explorer folder or file; drag & drop the folder or file on the group name from an Explorer window

Change the startup folder

You can configure the startup folder by going to Tools-> Options-> tab Other-> button Advanced E-mail Options… You can even choose a Search Folder.

Start in E-mail, Folder List or Shortcuts Navigation

Close Outlook in the Navigation you prefer and it will start in that Navigation again. For the Shortcuts Navigation make sure your configured startup folder is available in the Shortcuts Navigation.

Add an Exchange Mailbox (when connected to an Exchange server of course)

Right click the root of your Exchange Mailbox-> Properties-> button Advanced…-> tab Advanced

Add Favorite Folders

You can add mail and search folders to your Favorite Folders lists in the Mail Navigation by right clicking a folder and choose Add to Favorite Folders or drag & drop the folder into the Favorite Folders box. To remove a folder right click the folder in either the Favorite Folders box or in the folder list and choose Remove From Favorite Folders…
Note: The Favorite Folders box cannot be removed not even when you remove all shortcuts from the pane.

Reset the Navigation Pane

To reset the Navigation Pane and to undo all customizations start Outlook by (check your path to outlook.exe);
Start-> Run; "C:\Program Files\Office 11\Outlook.exe" /resetnavpane

Location of the Navigation Pane settings

Navigation Pane settings are stored here;
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\<profilename>.xml
You can backup and restore this file if you want to when Outlook is closed.

Add additional Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes and Journal folders to the Navigation Pane

  • All Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes and Journal folders that are available in the Folder List Navigation (with exception of the Public Folders) will be shown in the My … box in the corresponding Navigation Pane.
  • All other folders that you have accessed through File-> Open-> Other User’s Folder… will be shown in the Other … box in the corresponding Navigation
  • To add a Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes or Journal Public Folder to the corresponding Navigation right click that folder and choose Add to Favorites… If it still doesn’t show; right click the folder from within Favorites and choose Add to Other …

Show Multiple Calendars

To show multiple calendars side-by-side you can select the Calendars in the Calendar Navigation. The name of the Calendar will show above the view of the calendar and calendars will be marked with different colors.

Show Views to the Navigation Pane

View-> Arrange By-> Show Views in Navigation Pane

View Monthly Calendars in the Calendar Navigation

When you disable the TaskPad (View-> TaskPad) when in the Calendar Navigation the monthly calendars will show up in the Navigation Pane instead of above the TaskPad.

HowTo Creating a permanent New Mail Desktop Alert

New Mail Alert buttonThe New Mail Desktop Alert is a handy pop-up alert for new emails. However, an often heard complaint is that it goes away too quickly.

Another often heard complaint is that it only works for the Inbox folder.

This guide explains how you can configure to display a New Mail Desktop Alert for all your mail and/or for it to remain visible for longer than 30 seconds or even not to let it go away at all until you dismiss it.

Continue reading: Creating a permanent New Mail Desktop Alert

HowTo Create your own fully customized Toolbar

Ever had the feeling that the option you need the most is just too far down all sorts of menus? Well then customizing the Toolbar is probably the solution for you. This guide will explain how you can do this by means of some examples that go more advanced. Although this is mainly targeted on Outlook note that this guide applies to practically all Office programs.

Putting your Toolbar in edit-mode

Before you can customize the Toolbar you’ll need to put your Toolbar in edit-mode. To do this press;
View-> Toolbars-> Customize…
The buttons won’t have functionality in edit-mode. If you want to test your modifications you must leave edit-mode by pressing Close.

Customize Toolbar
This window indicates that you are in edit-mode. When you close this window the buttons will regain their functionality

Adding and removing Buttons

Adding and removing buttons to existing Toolbars is the basic functionality. In this example we will remove the Find button from the Toolbar and replace it with the Advanced Find… button

Remove the Find button:

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Select the tab Commands
  3. To remove the Find icon select the icon on the Toolbar and drag it down. When the mouse pointer changes into a cross release the mouse button

Add the Advanced Find button:

  1. Make sure you are still in edit-mode
  2. Select the tab Commands
  3. In the Categories column select Tools
  4. In the Commands toolbar click on Advanced Find… and hold down the mouse button.
  5. Drag the icon to a location on the Toolbar so the pointer will loose the cross and release the mouse button to drop it in that location
  6. Press Close to leave edit mode so you can press the Advanced Find… icon and see the results

You can add any button you want to the Toolbar. Of course you can also add the Find button back in to the Toolbar.

Adding a separator

Separators are the lines you see in between some button. Their function is to create groups of buttons that hold the same basic functionality. For instance the Reply, Reply All and Forward button are placed between separators. This is because the buttons basically to the same. The Print, Move to Folder and Delete buttons are also grouped since all these buttons will perform an action on the selected messages.

To add a separator:

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Right click the icon where you want to start a group
  3. From the menu choose Begin a Group. You’ll see a separator appear.
  4. To remove the separator right click the icon again and again press Begin a Group so it will be unchecked.
  5. Press Close to leave edit-mode

Rearranging the Menu

Always wanted that option higher into the menu structure? In this example we place the Options… button under Tools higher into the menu structure;

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Select the Tools menu so it will expand
  3. Select the Options… item and hold down the mouse button
  4. Drag the button all the way up into the menu
  5. Press Close to leave edit mode

You can also place the Options item in another menu like under Edit. You can achieve this by dragging the Options… item to the Edit menu and release it there.

Modifying buttons

You can modify how the buttons will show up in the Toolbar. In this example we will change the icon, make a text button and change the ALT+KEY shortcut combination for the button.

Changing the icon:

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Right click any icon you want to change
  3. From the menu choose Change Button Image. You’ll now see a selection of icons to choose from
  4. Choose an icon to change it

Make a text button:

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Right click the Create a Rule icon. By default you’ll find it next to the Send/Receive button
  3. From the menu choose Image and Text so both the icon and the name Create Rule will show as one big button

Change the ALT+KEY combination
An ALT+Key combination is a keyboard shortcut for a specific command like ALT+N will open the New menu and ALT+R will initiate a reply on the selected message. All the letters that can be combined with the ALT key are underlined. Since now both the Send/Receive button and the Create Rule button have ALT+C as the keyboard shortcut they don’t function anymore without pressing ENTER after you make the selection. Changing the ALT+KEY combination to one that hasn’t been used yet will trigger keyboard shortcuts again.

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Right click the Create Rule button
  3. Note that the name field has a “&” sign in front of the “C”.
  4. Remove this “&” sign and type it in front of the “u” as there is no ALT+U combination yet
  5. Press Close to leave edit-mode
  6. Press ALT+U to test your keyboard shortcut

Creating a Quick Bar

All we’ve done now is editing the existing Toolbars. In this example we will create a “Quick Bar”.

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Select the Toolbars tab
  3. Press the New… button
  4. Type as Toolbar name Quick Bar
  5. Press OK. Note that you’ll now see a little empty toolbar pop-up into your screen
  6. Select the Commands tab
  7. Select File in the Categories column
  8. From the Commands column drag and drop the following items into the newly created Quick Bar
    Mail Message, Appointment, Contact, Task, Note and Office Document
  9. Press Close to leave edit mode
  10. You have now created a Toolbar which holds icons to quickly create a new message, appointment, contacts, etc… You can dock the Toolbar by dragging it to the top of your screen
Quick Bar Undocked
undocked Quick Bar
Quick Bar Docked
docked Quick Bar

Creating a Menu

You can also create your own menu with all your favourite commands.

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Select the Commands tab
  3. In the Categories column scroll all the way down to New Menu and select it
  4. In the Commands column select the New Menu and drag and drop it on a Toolbar or on the same level as File, Edit, View, etc…
  5. Right click the New Menu to change its name and to create an ALT+KEY combination for it.
  6. Drag and drop some commands into it to fill the menu.
  7. Press Close to leave edit mode and test your menu

Link to External Programs, files or web pages

Besides creating buttons to quickly access options from within Outlook you can create buttons which link to different programs or open a specific file or webpage.

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Select the Commands tab and find yourself a nice icon. What the button actually does is irrelevant as we’re going to change its functionality anyway
  3. Place the icon on a Toolbar
  4. Right click the icon and choose Assign Hyperlink-> Open…
    Assign Hyperlink
    The Assign Hyperlink dialog
  5. Browse to a document or program or type a web address like and press OK to create a link.
  6. Press Close to leave edit mode

You can also create a link to a contact to create a button that will create a new message addressed to that contact straight away. To do this press “E-mail Address” in the “Link to” column and type the e-mail address at the top. It will automatically put “mailto:” in front of it.
Tip: create a menu named Contacts and add links in it to several contacts you mail a lot.

Assign Hyperlink Contact
Note that you can also type a default subject

Resetting the Toolbar

After editing the Toolbar you might not like your customizations and want to reset a default Toolbar back to the way it was.

  1. Place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  2. Select the Toolbars tab
  3. Select Standard, Advanced, Menu Bar or Web
  4. Press Reset…
  5. Press Close to leave edit mode

Force a reset
You can also force a reset by renaming outcmd.dat to outcmd.old. This is quite drastic so you might only want to do this when the Toolbars don’t react the way they should and a normal reset as described above doesn’t work. When you rename the file all customizations will be gone so also all the Toolbars, buttons, hyperlinks, ALT+KEY combinations and menus you created yourself. By default the file is located in;
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Tip OneNote: Sidenote in the Toolbar

OneNote is a program to capture, organize, and reuse notes. Although it’s mainly designed for Tablet PC’s it also holds great functionality you can use on a desktop computer. When you have OneNote you might want to have your New Note shortcut we created on the Quick Bar link to a new Side Note.

  1. Browse to the location where you installed OneNote. By default this is;
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\OneNote.exe
  2. Right click the file and choose Send To-> Desktop (create shortcut)
  3. Right click the shortcut you just created on your Desktop and choose Rename and rename the file to SideNote
  4. Right click the shortcut and press Properties
  5. Select the Shortcut tab and place /sidenote behind the path in the Target field.SideNote Shortcut
  6. Press OK
  7. Move the shortcut back from the Desktop to the place where you installed OneNote
  8. In Outlook place your Toolbar in edit-mode
  9. In the Quick Bar right click the New Note icon and choose Assign Hyperlink-> Open…
  10. Browse to location where you installed OneNote and select the file named SideNote we just created
  11. Press OK and then Close to leave edit-mode
    SideNote button
    Press the modified button to instantly create a new SideNote