No group headings
Note: this tip applies to all versions of Outlook in the single line view when the reading pane is on the bottom of the screen or turned off.
Much of the time, you work with the data in Outlook's various folders through the different folder views, without ever opening individual items. (Outlook 2003's enhanced "reading pane" is, in fact, designed to make opening a message an increasingly rare occurrence.) I thought it might be useful, therefore, to pass along a few tricks for some common view issues.
In a grouped view, such as By Category, you may find it annoying that Outlook puts the name of the grouping field (e.g. Categories) in each shaded group heading. It is possible, though, to remove the name of this field from the group headings.
- First, right-click the column headings, and choose Field Chooser.
- Drag the field that you're grouping by from the Field Chooser to the column headings.
- Right-click the column headings and choose Format Columns.
- Select the grouping field, and delete the text in the Label box, leaving it blank.
- Click OK to return to Outlook.
- Drag the grouping field off the column headings.
Changing the label affects both the appearance of the column and the group headings for the same field.
If you aren't using a group by view, you can use this method to change the column names in the display.
No message preview
You can prevent a user from seeing a message in the preview pane by sending the message with a custom form that has at least one line of code. This technique works because, as a security measure, Outlook won't allow the preview pane to show custom forms that have code. The user will, however, be able to see the first part of the text if AutoPreview is turned on.
To create the form, choose Tools | Forms | Design a Form and select the Message form. Choose Form | View Code, and in the code window, type in this line:
' do nothing
or any other text, preceded by an apostrophe to turn the statement into a comment.
On the (Properties) page of the form itself, check the box for "Send form definition with item." (This will embed the custom form in the message, so you can use this technique with recipients who don't share an Organizational Forms library with you.) Finally, choose Form | Run This Form, complete the message, and send it. If you need to use this technique often, you can use the File | Save As command to save the form as an .oft file to your desktop. Then, just double-click it when you need to send a message that can't be seen in the preview pane.
To suppress text in the AutoPreview display as well as in the preview pane, start your message with a long line of spaces.
Bring back the TaskPad!
This tip is for Outlook 2003 and older:
Have you ever lost the TaskPad and thumbnail calendars when viewing the Calendar folder? It's easy to get them back. Just maximize the Calendar window, then drag the right edge in toward the center. That will reveal the thumbnails and TaskPad again. You can adjust the relative size of those two panes by dragging the bar between them up or down.