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6 Tips and Tricks for Microsoft’s New Outlook.com

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Microsoft’s new Outlook.com is the successor to Hotmail – all Hotmail users will eventually be migrated to Outlook.com. Outlook.com is a modern webmail system that offers some useful features, including some not found in Gmail.

If you have a @hotmail.com address, don’t worry – you’ll be able to use Outlook.com with @hotmail.com addresses, too. To get started with Outlook.com or create an @outlook.com email address, head over to Outlook.com.

Create Email Aliases

You can easily create entirely separate email addresses that all end up in your Outlook.com inbox – just click the gear icon at the top right corner of Outlook.com, select More mail settings, and select Create an Outlook alias under Managing your account.

This is a very useful feature – sure, you can do this with Gmail, but you’d have to go through the account creation process multiple times and set up email forwarding to your main account. This is different from Gmail’s alias feature, which always exposes your main email address.

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Use SkyDrive for Large Attachments

Outlook.com is integrated with Microsoft’s new SkyDrive service. When you try to attach a large file to an email, Outlook.com will upload that file to SkyDrive instead and send the email recipient a SkyDrive link. This makes it easy to send large files to multiple people or share files with people that may not have room for them in their email inbox.

You can control this feature by clicking the Attachments link on the More mail settings screen.

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Sweep Emails

The sweep feature allows you to quickly clean up your inbox and keep it tidy. Do you get automatic emails with special offers that are only valid for a short period of time? You can have Outlook.com automatically clear out old versions of the email when a new one arrives, ensuring only the latest email from a sender is in your inbox.

To set this up, click the Sweep button on the toolbar and select Schedule cleanup.

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You’ll be able to keep only the latest message, or automatically delete messages after 10 days – this can help if email newsletters you haven’t read yet are building up.

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Create Rules

Select the Move All From or Delete All From option in the sweep menu to easily move or delete all emails from a specific sender. Click the check box to also move or delete future messages and Outlook.com will create a rule (known as a “filter” in Gmail) that will apply to your incoming email.

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You can also create more complex filters – just select Manage Rules in the Sweep menu. You can match based on the senders name or address, the message’s subject, whether it has attachments or not, and who the message was sent to. Matched messages can be moved elsewhere, categorized, deleted, flagged, or forwarded to another email address.

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Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Outlook.com supports a variety of keyboard shortcuts. If you’re an experienced Gmail or Yahoo! Mail user, you can even use Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts in Outlook.com – click Keyboard shortcuts on the More mail settings screen to customize this.

For a full list of keyboard shortcuts, check out the list on Microsoft’s website.

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View Content From Twitter & Facebook

Click the Content from third-party networks link on the More mail settings screen to link your Outlook.com account with your Twitter or Facebook accounts. You’ll be able to see social updates and tweets from your contacts right on Outlook.com. Most people will probably find this more useful than Gmail’s Google+ integration.

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Whether you’re a Hotmail user or not, Outlook.com offers some useful new features and a fresh new interface. What do you think of it?

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 08/25/12

Comments (14)

  1. baterya

    Seems worth having a new email address. But still.hopeful google will make better than this one

  2. RA

    Great Tips!

  3. KG

    Useful article…Thx! Inspired to actually use my Outlook acct now…

  4. Soul

    Thanks for the tips, I especially like the alias one

  5. William Johnson

    When I run outlook there is no toolbar above the inbox. Do I have to change some setting to get it. I am interested in the sweep option you mentioned.

  6. William Johnson

    Never mind, I see that you have to select at least one message before the toolbar options appear. Sorry

  7. tony

    Be forewarned. Even though Mesh is going to be sunsetting, if you are still using it, you can shut out your access with an Outlook.com account. I was accessing all of my Windows Live services using username@msn.com. I jumped in when the offer to change from hotmail to outlook.com was given. I think decided to go ahead and change my username from username@msn.com to newusername@outlook.com. Once I did this, I went to sign into the Live Mesh desktop client to make sure my syncs were still doing their thing. I couldn’t and can’t sign in with either username from the desktop client. Though, I can still access the web-based management segment of Live Mesh (devices.live.com). That, however, is essentially useless to me.

  8. Ian

    Outlook has some great stuff, but, it keeps logging me in to messenger as available. This is a deal breaker for me which is a shame as I really like Outlook.
    Does anyone know how to prevent this annoyance?

  9. SatoMew

    @Ian, click on your username within Outlook.com and set the status there. The only choices are Available or Invisible.

  10. Seabat

    Can I insert o picture for my signature? How do I do that?

  11. Gerry

    Where do I find my address book and how do I move/merge my google address book?

  12. SatoMew

    @Gerry, mouse-over the logo on Outlook.com and click on the arrow next to it to access your contacts.

  13. Ron

    NO AFFILIATION WITH facebook & twitter sold me
    no messenger installed on my windows 7

  14. sudeepto

    I want a method by which I can DELETE any number of message I want..

    Please help… I have like 9000 unread messages that I want to delete but can’t find a way to delete in a single go..

    these messages were ported from my gmail account & many of them are old & useless …

    please someone help me ASAP :(

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