Handling E-Mail Messages in Microsoft® Office Outlook® 2007

  • 1/3/2007
In this chapter from Microsoft® Office Outlook® 2007 Step by Step, learn how to manage your e-mail messages, including viewing messages and attachments, replying to and forwarding messages, working with new mail notifications, creating a task or an appointment from a message, and printing messages.

Chapter at a Glance

In this chapter, you will learn to:

Most new e-mail messages you receive appear in your Microsoft Office Outlook Inbox. (The exceptions to this are messages processed by any Outlook rules you or your administrator has set up, and messages diverted to the Junk E-mail folder due to suspicious content.)

After messages arrive in your Inbox, you can handle them in various ways. For example, you can:

  • Read the message, either in the Reading Pane or in a message window.

  • View any attachments, either in the Reading Pane or in the appropriate program, and save attachments to your hard drive.

  • Respond to the message sender or to the message sender and all recipients.

  • Forward the message to another person.

  • Create an appointment or task based on the message.

  • Categorize the message or file it in an Outlook folder for future electronic reference.

  • Print the message for future “hard copy” reference.

  • Delete the message.

When you are working online, you usually receive messages as soon as they are processed by your e-mail server. If you are working offline, you will need to connect to your server to download new messages. You can do this manually or set up Outlook to automatically check for new messages at regular intervals.

In this chapter, you will experiment with receiving, viewing, responding to, or otherwise processing e-mail messages. You will preview and view messages and files attached to them. You will reply to and forward messages. Then you will work with incoming messages through New Mail notifications and learn to configure the notifications to display the way you want. You will also flag a message for follow-up so that it appears in the To-Do list, create an appointment from a message, and print a message.


Important The exercises in this chapter require only practice files created in earlier chapters; none are supplied on the companion CD. For more information about practice files, see Using the Companion CD at the beginning of this book.


Troubleshooting Graphics and operating system–related instructions in this book reflect the Windows Vista user interface. If your computer is running Windows XP and you experience trouble following the instructions as written, please refer to the Information for Readers Running Windows XP section at the beginning of this book.

Viewing Messages and Message Attachments

Each time you start Outlook and connect to your e-mail server, any new messages received since the last time you connected appear in your Inbox. Depending on your settings, Outlook downloads either the entire message to your computer or only the message header, which provides basic information about the message, such as:

  • The item type (message, meeting request, task assignment, and so on)

  • Who sent it

  • When you received it

  • The subject

  • If you forwarded or replied to it

  • If it contains attachments

  • If it has been digitally signed or encrypted

  • If it has been marked as being of high or low importance

Messages that you haven’t yet read are indicated by closed envelope icons and bold headers. You can view the text of a message in several ways:

  • You can open a message in its own window by double-clicking its header in the message list.

  • You can read a message without opening it by clicking its header in the message list to display the message in the Reading Pane.

  • If you turn on the Single Key Reading Using Space Bar option, you can page through a message in the Reading Pane by pressing the Spacebar. When you reach the end of a message, the first page of the next message is displayed. This option is very convenient if you want to read through several consecutive messages in the Reading Pane, or if you find it easier to press the Spacebar than to scroll the Reading Pane by using the mouse. If you do not turn on this option, pressing the Spacebar while viewing a message does nothing, so there is no harm in turning it on even if you aren’t sure you will use it.

  • You can display the first three lines of each message under the message header by using the AutoPreview feature. Scanning the first three lines of a message frequently gives you enough information to make basic decisions about how to manage it. The only drawback is that AutoPreview dedicates five lines to each message rather than the two lines of the default Messages view, so fewer messages are visible on your screen at one time.

You can view message attachments in several ways:

  • You can open the attachment from an open message or from the Reading Pane.

  • You can preview certain types of attachments (including Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets, Microsoft Office PowerPoint slideshows, Microsoft Office Word documents, and Portable Document Format (PDF) files) directly in the Reading Pane without opening the attached file. This new feature of Outlook 2007 saves time and increases efficiency. If you install add-ins provided by companies other than Microsoft (called third-party add-ins), you can preview other types of files as well.

  • You can save the attachment to your hard disk and open it from there. This strategy is recommended if you suspect an attachment might contain a virus, because you can scan the attachment for viruses before opening it (provided that you have a virus scanning program installed).

If you receive a contact record as a message attachment, you can add it to your primary address book by dragging the attachment from the e-mail message to the Contacts button in the Navigation Pane. To add the contact record to a secondary address book, expand the folder structure in the Navigation Pane and drag the attachment to that folder.

In this exercise, you will preview and open a message and an attachment.

  1. On the View menu, click AutoPreview.


    Troubleshooting If the AutoPreview icon on the View menu is shaded, this feature is already turned on.

    The first three lines of each message appear in the Inbox below the message header.

  2. Locate the SBS First Draft message in your Inbox, and then click the message.
  3. Outlook displays the message in the Reading Pane. Note that the Reading Pane displays the message header and the names of any attached files.

  4. In the Reading Pane, point to the Message button below the message header.


    Troubleshooting If you are working through this exercise with a message that does not have an attachment, you will not see a Message button.

    A ScreenTip displays the number of attachments.

  5. Point to the Attaching.docx attachment.
  6. A ScreenTip displays the name, type, and size of the attached file.

  7. Click the Attaching.docx attachment once.

  8. Outlook asks you to confirm that you want to preview the file. This security measure is designed to prevent viruses or other malicious content from running without your consent.

  9. In the Reading Pane, click Preview file.

    The fully formatted Word 2007 document appears in the Reading Pane. You can scroll through the entire document within this pane, without starting Word.

  10. Click the Attaching.pptx attachment, and then click the Preview file button.

    The title slide of this PowerPoint presentation appears in the Reading Pane. You can move among the presentation’s slides by clicking the Previous Slide and Next Slide buttons in the lower-right corner of the pane.

  11. In the Reading Pane, click the Message button.

    The message text reappears in the Reading Pane. You can switch between the message and any attachments in this way.

  12. In the Reading Pane, double-click the Attaching.pptx attachment, and then in the Opening Mail Attachment message box, click Open.

    PowerPoint 2007 starts and opens the Attaching presentation.

  13. Close the presentation to return to your Inbox.

  14. In the message list, double-click the SBS First Draft message.

    The message opens in its own window.

    Note the message header and the attached file at the top. You can preview an attachment in the message window by clicking it once, and open an attachment by double-clicking it.