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.