You might be asking yourself what I’m talking about! What’s the Ribbon? You do know what it is really, you use it all the time in all the Office applications, but you may not be familiar with its name. And although we all use it, do we use it efficiently as we could?

The Ribbon appears at the top of any Outlook window, and is made up of a several tabs, each with tool buttons, or icons, arranged in logical groups. Some of the groups of icons can be expanded to show more options or a dialog box – just click the small arrow in the corner of a group of icons to see these.

You will also come across Contextual Ribbons, which are available throughout Microsoft 365 and appear when you are carrying out actions that need more specific commands. For example, the Table Design Ribbon only shows up if you add a Table to your email.

Let’s have a look at what is available to you on the Ribbon in Outlook.

The Home Ribbon

The Home Ribbon is the first Ribbon you see when you open Outlook and houses the most commonly used functions. You will note that my Ribbon has a few icons that you may not see in your copy of Outlook. For example, I have added the New Teams Meeting to my Home Ribbon as it is something I use regularly. I also have Zoom meeting icons as well as a couple of Add-Ins.

The Send Receive Ribbon

Here, you will find all the options to send and receive your emails. You can initiate a Send All or decide to Work Offline. When you work offline, you can compose all your replies and send them when you are back online. This can be handy when writing those sensitive emails that you need to make sure you don’t send on the spur of the moment!

The Folder Ribbon

This is where you create Folders or Search Folders (more on Search Folders in another post). There are a few other tools here too, such as Clean Up Folder and Add to Favourites. Folder Permissions and Policies can be applied here too.

The View Ribbon

This is where you would rearrange the view of your Inbox or folders. You can Show the Focussed and Other Inboxes so that Outlook shows you important email first, or you can change or customise the view completely.

The Help Ribbon

This is where you can contact Microsoft Support, and find out What’s New in Outlook. New features are added every so often and you can see a list of them here.

Can I customise the Ribbon?

Yes absolutely. Any feature that has a command can be added to the Ribbon. Right click anywhere on the Ribbon and choose Customise the Ribbon. Then go ahead and find the icons you want to add. You can even add a new Tab that has all your favourite icons and then move it to a suitable position on the Ribbon.

The Quick Access Toolbar

This is one of my favourite things in Microsoft 365. It is available in all the applications and can be customised to suit you. Just add the icons of the features you use most often.

Choose from a list of options that Microsoft thinks most useful or click More Commands to find more options to add. You can add any icon to the Quick Access Tollbar.

Another way to add a tool to the Quick Access Toolbar is to right click on an icon on the Ribbon and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

The Quick Access Toolbar really is one of my all-time favourites for saving time. Instead of swapping between tabs or searching for a tool, the features you use most often are all there in one place. Have a go at customising your own Quick Access Toolbar and see if you agree with me.

Just a last tip. Although the Quick Access Toolbar is available in all Microsoft 365 applications, you will find you need to customise it separately in each. After all, you don’t necessarily carry out the same actions in each application.

To learn more about Microsoft
Outlook and see more mind-blowing shortcuts, head over to the Course Directory and check out Microsoft Outlook Email – Take Back Control of your Inbox for Windows or
Microsoft Outlook Email for Mac – take back control of your Inbox for Mac users.

Or take a look at the HUB and have access to ALL my courses including any new ones that are added. Always the best value.

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

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Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

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James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

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