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Enhance Message Content in Microsoft Outlook 2010

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This chapter from Microsoft Outlook 2010 Step by Step reviews formatting techniques and shows how to set default fonts for new messages and message responses, and create an e-mail signature that’s automatically included in all new messages. It then describes how to insert and modify pictures, Clip Art, and shapes, and use the new Screenshot and Screen Clipping tools to capture images of content displayed on your screen.

Chapter at a Glance

In this chapter, you will learn how to

  • Personalizing the Appearance of Message Text

  • Embedding and Modifying Images

  • Creating and Formatting Business Graphics

  • Changing Message Settings and Delivery Options

Messages composed in and sent from Microsoft Outlook 2010 don’t have to consist only of plain text. They can contain diagrams and graphics and can be visually enhanced by a judicious use of colors, fonts, and backgrounds. For more formal messages, you can attach a signature that includes your contact information as well as graphics such as a photograph or logo.

In this chapter, you’ll first review formatting techniques, set default fonts for new messages and message responses, and create an e-mail signature that’s automatically included in all new messages. Then you’ll insert and modify pictures, Clip Art, and shapes, and use the new Screenshot and Screen Clipping tools to capture images of content displayed on your screen. You’ll create and format graphical representations of business information and data. Finally, you’ll learn about the message settings and delivery options you can set for outgoing messages.

Personalizing the Appearance of Message Text

By default, the text content of an Outlook message is shown in black, 11-point Calibri (a font chosen for its readability), arranged in left-aligned paragraphs on a white background. You can change the appearance of the text in a message by applying either local formatting (character or paragraph attributes and styles that you apply directly to text) or global formatting (a theme or style set that you apply to the entire document) in the same way that you would when working in a Microsoft Word document or Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. However, if you have a preferred font or theme for the messages you compose, you can save your preferences so that Outlook automatically applies it to new messages and to message responses.

Formatting Message Text

You set your default font and theme preferences from the Signatures And Stationery dialog box, which you open by clicking Stationery And Fonts on the Mail page of the Outlook Options dialog box. You have the option of specifying one default font for new messages and another for message responses. You might do this if you need to visually differentiate between original messages and responses. For example, you might compose original messages in a dark blue font, and compose message responses in a medium blue font.


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The Signatures And Stationery dialog box.

You can also specify a theme—a preselected set of fonts, colors, and graphic elements—to have Outlook create new messages using that theme. For example, if your organization uses a specific theme for corporate communications, you can specify that theme as the default for outgoing messages as well as for Word documents.

You can manually format text in the content pane to differentiate it from your default font. The local formatting options available in Outlook 2010 are the same as those available in Word and other Microsoft Office 2010 programs, and you might already be familiar with them from working with those programs. Here’s a quick review of the types of formatting changes you can make.

  • Font, size, and color More than 220 fonts in a range of sizes and in a virtually unlimited selection of colors.

  • Font style Regular, bold, italic, or bold italic.

  • Underline style and color Plain, multiple, dotted, dashed, wavy, and many combinations thereof, in all colors.

  • Effects Strikethrough, superscript, subscript, shadow, outline, emboss, engrave, small caps, all caps, or hidden.

  • Character spacing Scale, spacing, position, and kerning.

  • Paragraph attributes Alignment, indentation, and spacing.

  • Character and paragraph styles Titles, headings, and purpose-specific font formatting (for example, for quotes and book titles).

In a message composition window, the local formatting commands are available both from the Message tab and from the Format Text tab. The formatting commands are available only when the cursor is in the content pane. When the cursor is in a message header box (such as To or Subject), the formatting commands are grayed out.

You can apply character and paragraph styles from the Quick Styles gallery in the Styles group on the Format Text tab, or from the Styles pane that opens when you click the Styles dialog box launcher on the Format Text tab.


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You can specify the styles that you want to appear in the Quick Styles gallery and in the Styles pane.

The global formatting options—themes and style sets—are sets of local formatting that you can apply with a couple of clicks.

A theme applies a preselected combination of colors, fonts, and effects to all the message content. You can apply all the elements of a theme to the message content by selecting any of the 40 available themes in the Themes gallery, which you open from the Themes group of the Options tab.


The Themes gallery.

The default theme for all e-mail messages, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Microsoft Excel workbooks, and other Office 2010 documents is the Office theme. If you don’t apply another theme to your message, the colors, fonts, and effects in your message are controlled by the Office theme.

You can modify the currently applied theme by selecting a color set from the Colors gallery, a font set from the Fonts gallery, or an effect from the Effects gallery.


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The color set, font set, and effect sets that are the defaults for each theme are named to match that theme.

A style set changes the colors, fonts, and paragraph formatting of individual styles. You can change the appearance of all the styles in a message by selecting any of the 14 available style sets (or by creating your own). Selecting a style set changes the appearance of all the text in the current document, as well as the appearance of the icons in the Quick Styles gallery. You can preview or select a style set by clicking the Change Styles button in the Styles group on the Format Text tab, clicking Style Set, and then pointing to or clicking a specific style set.


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Choosing a style set.

Adding Signatures to Messages Automatically

When you send an e-mail message to someone, you will most likely “sign” the message by typing your name at the end of the message text. You can automatically insert your signature text in outgoing messages by creating an e-mail signature and assigning it to your e-mail account. Your e-mail signature can include additional information that you want to consistently provide to message recipients.


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Editing your signature.

Your e-mail signature can include any text or graphics you want; you would commonly include your name and contact information, but depending on your situation, you might also include information such as your company name, job title, a legal disclaimer, a corporate or personal slogan, a photo, and so on. You can even include your electronic business card as part or all of your e-mail signature.

You can create different signatures for use in different types of messages or for use when you’re sending messages from different e-mail accounts. For example, you might create a formal business signature for client correspondence, a casual business signature for interoffice correspondence, and a personal signature for messages sent from a secondary account. Or you might create a signature containing more information to send with original e-mail messages, and a signature containing less information to send with message replies. You can format the text of your e-mail signature in the same ways that you can format message text. If you want to apply formatting that’s not available from the selections of buttons across the top of the signature content pane, you can create and format your signature either in an e-mail message composition window or in a Word document, copy the signature from its original location, and then paste it into the signature content pane. Using this technique, you can include artistic content such as WordArt and Clip Art in your e-mail signature.

You can assign specific e-mail signatures to specific accounts so that they appear automatically in new messages. You can also manually insert any e-mail signature in any message. To manually insert an existing e-mail signature in a message:

  1. Position the cursor where you want to insert the e-mail signature.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Include group, click the Signature button.

  3. In the Signature list, click the name of the e-mail signature you want to insert.

To remove an e-mail signature from a message, select and delete the signature content as you would any other text.

In this exercise, you’ll first set the default fonts for new messages and for responses. Then you’ll create an e-mail signature and instruct Outlook to insert the signature in all new messages you create.

  1. Display the Backstage view and then, in the left pane, click Options.

    The Outlook Options dialog box opens, displaying the General page.

  2. In the left pane of the Outlook Options dialog box, click Mail.

    From the Mail page of the Outlook Options dialog box, you can access other dialog boxes that control the settings for specific features.


    The Mail page of the Outlook Options dialog box.

  3. In the Compose messages section, click the Stationery and Fonts button.

    The Signatures And Stationery dialog box opens, displaying the Personal Stationery page.


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    The Personal Stationery page.

    By default, new messages use the 11-point version of the body font and font color specified by the theme (for the default Office theme, this is 11-point black Calibri), and responses use the same font, but in blue.

  4. Under New mail messages, click the Font button.

    The Font dialog box opens.

  5. Scroll down the Font list, noting the many fonts you can choose from, and click Garamond.

    The sample text in the Preview pane changes to reflect your selection.


    Choosing a font.

  6. Scroll down the Font list and click Lucida Sans.

    The sample text changes, as do the options available in the Font Style list. The available styles are specific to the fonts installed on your computer.

  7. In the Font style box, click Demibold Roman, and in the Size box, click 9.

  8. Click the Font color arrow and then in the palette, click the second darkest square in the purple column. (When you point to the square, the ScreenTip identifies it as Purple, Accent 4, 25%.)

    The Preview box reflects your changes.


    Choosing a font color.

  9. In the Font dialog box, click OK.

    The New Mail Messages font preview changes to reflect your selections.

  10. In the Replying or forwarding messages area, click the Font button. Repeat steps 6 through 9 to set the default font for message responses to Purple, 9-point, Demibold Roman, Lucida Sans.

    In this instance, you aren’t differentiating between the color of the font in your new messages and message responses; instead you will differentiate by including an e-mail signature only in new messages.


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    Setting identical fonts for new messages and responses.

  11. In the Signatures and Stationery dialog box, click the E-mail Signature tab.

  12. Below the Select signatures to edit box, click New.

    Outlook prompts you to first supply a name for the new signature.


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    Assign a name that will allow you to easily differentiate when inserting signatures.

  13. In the Type a name for this signature box, enter Casual. Then click OK.

    Outlook creates the Casual signature, which is currently blank.

  14. In the Edit signature box, type Thanks! (including the exclamation point), press the Enter key, and then type your name.

  15. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123518.jpg Select your name. Click the Font arrow and then, in the list, click Lucida Handwriting (or any other font you like).

  16. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123520.jpg Click the Font Size arrow and then, in the Font Size list, click 14.

  17. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123522.jpg Click the Font Color arrow and then, under Standard Colors, click the Purple box. Then click away from your name to see the results of your changes.

    With the formatting you applied, the name now resembles a signature.


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    Your signature will appear in e-mail messages exactly as it does here.

  18. Apply any other types of formatting you want; for example, you might want to format the Thanks! to match your default message font.

    You can manually insert any signature you create in an e-mail message, but it’s a more usual practice to instruct Outlook to insert the signature automatically.

  19. In the Choose default signature area, ensure that your default e-mail account is shown in the E-mail account box. Then click the New messages arrow and, in the list, click Casual.

    Outlook will now insert your signature into all new e-mail messages you send from this account but not into replies or forwarded messages.

  20. Make any other changes you want, and then click OK in the Signatures and Stationery dialog box and in the Outlook Options dialog box.

  21. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1122684.jpg On the Home tab, in the New group, click the New E-mail button.

    A message composition window opens. Your e-mail signature is already present in the content pane.

  22. Click to position the cursor in the blank line at the top of the content pane. Then type I love this book!

    The message text is automatically formatted in the default font you set earlier in this exercise.


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The inserted Casual signature.