Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook

Last reviewed on June 12, 2013   —  11 comments

Anyone who has a new tablet knows how hard it can be to only use touch in Outlook (especially on a high-res screen) – I’m always opening the on-screen keyboard, even though it takes up half the screen. (I want the small onscreen keyboard I had on my old Tablet PC.)

What if you only had a keyboard? Could you get anything done?

I started thinking about this when a guy told me creates new messages by opening sent messages and replacing the contents because his new mail button was missing. I don’t know about you, but I think the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+M would be faster. Ctrl+N will also open a new message form when you are viewing a Mail folder, but I like the shortcut that works anywhere in Outlook – it’s easier to remember when I use it all the time.

Ctrl+N will get you a New item form in any folder. If you’re in a mail folder, Ctrl+N will open a new message form; if you are in the calendar, you’ll get a new appointment form.

Use Ctrl+Shift+M for new Mail when you are working in any folder, Ctrl+Shift+A for new Appointment, Ctrl+Shift+C for new Contact, or Ctrl+Shift+N for Note. Notice the pattern? Tasks and Meetings break the pattern as you’ll use Ctrl+Shift+K for a new task and Ctrl+Shift+Q for a new meeting, but appointments can be turned into meetings easy enough.

To Save the item you are working on, press Ctrl+S (this is Save in all Windows applications). Use Alt+S to Send an email, meeting or task request. Alt+S will Save and Close contacts, appointments, and tasks (since they can’t be sent.)

Need to Reply to a message? Use Ctrl+R, or Ctrl+Shift+R to Reply All. Forward is Ctrl+F. More patterns.

Need to go to the Inbox? Use Ctrl+Shift+I. The Outbox is Ctrl+Shift+O. It would be nice if we had shortcuts for Junk Email, Drafts and Sent Items…

Copy, Cut, Paste and Select All work in most (or all) Windows programs. Those shortcuts are Ctrl+C, Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V and Ctrl+A. If you need to Print, use Ctrl+P. Paste breaks the pattern, but V is more convenient to use after Ctrl+C or X.

Want to initiate a send and receive? Use F9 instead of the Send & Receive button. Use Ctrl+Alt+S to open the Send & Receive Settings dialog.

If you are looking at your day, week or monthly calendar, Alt+0 thru 9 (or, 1 through 0) displays the next 1 to 10 days. Ctrl+Alt+1 through 5 switches from a day (1) to work week (2) to week (3) to month (4) then schedule view (5).

Ctrl+1 jumps to the Mail module, while Calendar is Ctrl+2, Contacts are Ctrl+3. Ctrl+6 is the Folder List. Ctrl+4, 5, 7, and 8 (9 if you use BCM) cover the rest of the navigation pane modules. Use Ctrl+Y to open the folder picker.

Alt+F4 will close the current window. This is a Windows shortcut and works in most programs; it will also bring up the Shutdown window, which is handy in Windows 8.

Outlook Shortcuts

Outlook’s main window | Reading messages | Working with folder and list views
When editing items | Appointment and Meeting shortcuts | Calendar shortcuts | Task shortcuts
Common Windows shortcuts

Outlook’s main window:

ActionKeyboard Shortcut
Open Mail module in Navigation paneCtrl+ 1
Open Calendar moduleCtrl+ 2
Open Contacts moduleCtrl+ 3
Open Tasks ModuleCtrl+ 4
Open Notes ModuleCtrl+ 5
Open Folder listCtrl+ 6
Open Shortcuts ModuleCtrl+ 7
Open Journal moduleCtrl+ 8
Open Folder picker dialogCtrl+ Y
Rotate Navigation pane on, off, minimizedAlt+F1
Rotate To-Do bar on, off, minimizedAlt+F2
Switch to InboxCtrl+Shift+ I
Switch to OutboxCtrl+Shift+ O
Open the Address BookCtrl+Shift+ B
Open Send and Receive Settings dialogCtrl+Alt+ S
Open Advanced find dialogCtrl+Shift+ F
Add a Quick Flag or mark completed.Insert
Reply to a messageCtrl+ R
Reply All to a messageCtrl+Shift+ R
ForwardCtrl+ F
Forward as attachment (Outlook 2007 and up)Ctrl+Alt+ F
Mark a message as readCtrl+ Q
Mark message as unreadCtrl+ U
Advance through message in reading pane, then move to next message.
(Single key reading with space bar can be disabled in Options.)
Reverse when reading a message in reading pane using Single key reading.Shift+Spacebar
Delete an itemCtrl+ D or Del
Create a new item of the current folder typeCtrl+ N
Create a new Appointment (from any Outlook folder)Ctrl+Shift+ A
Create a new Contact (from any Outlook folder)Ctrl+Shift+ C
Create a new Task (from any Outlook folder)Ctrl+Shift+ K
Create a new Message (from any Outlook folder)Ctrl+Shift+ M
Create a new folderCtrl+Shift+ E
Create a new journal entry (Removed from Outlook 2013)Ctrl+Shift+ J
Create a new Contact Group (distribution list)Ctrl+Shift+ L
Create a new meeting requestCtrl+Shift+ Q
Create a new noteCtrl+Shift+ N
Create a new task requestCtrl+Shift+ U
Create a new PostCtrl+Shift+ S
Open HelpF1
Open Find dialog or Find pane.F3
Expand dropdown menus, use arrow keys to select from listF4
Refresh the current windowF5
Move to next window element
(Navigation pane, Message list, Reading pane, or To-Do Bar)
Run spell checkF7
Open VBA EditorAlt+F11

Reading messages:

ActionKeyboard Shortcut
With a message open, Move to the Previous or Next messageCtrl + < or >
Reply to a messageCtrl+ R
Reply All to a messageCtrl+Shift+ R
ForwardCtrl+ F

Working with folder and list views:

ActionKeyboard Shortcut
Expand or collapse the folder listPlus, minus or multiply (*) on numeric keypad
Expand or collapse all groups in list viewCtrl+ Plus or minus on numeric keypad
Expand or collapse current group in list viewCtrl+ left or right arrow keys
Move between header elements, attachment row, and body in the reading paneCtrl+Tab use Shift+Ctrl+Tab to reverse

When editing items

ActionKeyboard Shortcut
Increase or decrease font size when composing HTMLCtrl+ [ or ]
Show/hide formatting marksCtrl+Shift+ 8
Toggle form fields off and onAlt+F9
Send Message or meeting /task request; Save and Close other formsAlt+ S
SaveCtrl+ S
Send (enable in Options)Ctrl+Enter

Appointment and Meeting shortcuts:

You can use shortcuts to enter dates. Use w for weeks, d for day, mo for month, and y for year. Enter date in 1w format.  Use h for hours and m for minutes for times.

Can type times as numbers only: 230 instead of 2:30 PM.

When typing times in the snooze field, shortcuts won’t work. You need to type the words week, day, hour or minute in full: “27 minutes”

ActionKeyboard Shortcut
Set up recurrence for an appointment or taskCtrl+G

Calendar shortcuts:

ActionKeyboard Shortcut
Show 1 dayAlt+ 1
Show 2 daysAlt+ 2
Show 3 daysAlt+ 3
Show 4 daysAlt+ 4
Show 5 daysAlt+ 5
Show 6 daysAlt+ 6
Show 7 daysAlt+ 7
Show 8 daysAlt+ 8
Show 9 daysAlt+ 9
Show 10 daysAlt+ 0
Switch to the Day ViewCtrl+Alt+ 1
Switch to the Work Week ViewCtrl+Alt+ 2
Switch to the Week ViewCtrl+Alt+ 3 (Outlook 2010/2013)
Alt+ – (minus) (All)
Switch to the Month ViewCtrl+Alt+ 4 (Outlook 2010/2013)
Alt+ = (equal) (All)
Switch to the Schedule ViewCtrl+Alt+ 5
Go to a dateCtrl+ G
Go to the next or previous  dayCtrl+ left or right arrow
Go to the next or previous weekAlt+ up or down arrow
Go to the next or previous monthAlt+ page up or page down
Go to the start or end of the weekAlt+ Home or End
Go to next or previous appointmentCtrl+ comma or period

Task shortcuts:

ActionKeyboard Shortcut
Show or hide the To-Do Bar.Alt+F2
Accept a task request.Alt+C
Decline a task request.Alt+D
Find a task or other item.Ctrl+E
Create a new task (when in Tasks).Ctrl+N
Create a new task (from any Outlook folder).Ctrl+Shift+K
Create a new task request.Ctrl+Shift+U
Open selected item.Ctrl+O
Forward a task as an attachment.Ctrl+F
Switch between the Navigation Pane, Tasks list, and To-Do Bar.Shift+Tab
Flag an item or mark complete.Insert

Common Windows shortcuts:

Tip for Windows 8 users: The Windows key is your friend.

ActionKeyboard Shortcut
Select all textCtrl+ A
SaveCtrl+ S
Copy textCtrl+ C
Paste textCtrl+ V
Cut textCtrl+ X
UndoCtrl+ Z
PrintCtrl+ P
Move forward through a form’s fields/windowsTAB
Move backward through a form’s fields/windowsShift+TAB
Close the active windowAlt+F4
Cancel edits and close a formESC
Move the cursor to the start of the next or previous wordCtrl+ right or left arrow
Reset Zoom (100%)Ctrl+0
Increase and Decrease ZoomCtrl+ + (Plus) or – (Minus)

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

11 responses to “Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook”

  1. Ron Palmquist

    We cannot send or receive e-mails from/to any of our three addresses - HELP! WE can receive them on our I-phones.

  2. Victor

    Hi there,

    thank you a lot for this. in Outlook 2013 can I specify the default folder in which to create a new task when using Ctrl+Shift+K? I want my account tasklist folder to be the default folder. I have already setup EAS account in my desktop Outlook 2013.

    Thanks for reply,


  3. muffitt

    hi can you have a keyboard shortcut to change the font colour to red

  4. Bridgette

    Hi, Diane. Is there a way to set up a hotkey shortcut/macro to an add-in on the ribbon toolbar in Outlook 2013 (i.e. Evernote)? Thanks for all of your help. Your blogs are very helpful.

  5. Bridgette

    Nm, I figured it out. :)

  6. Mehboob

    Whats the short cut to zoom email message when reading the mails?

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