Outlook 2003 tip o’ the day

The ability to customize toolbars has been around for several versions now, but it
doesn't seem to be very widely used in my unofficial survey.

I make heavy use of customized toolbars in Outlook, specifically for adding my own
keyboard shortcuts - I generally avoid using the mouse if possible, I'm a big keyboard

For example:

1. Open Outlook and right click on the Standard toolbar (the one that has the basic
buttons like Send/Receive on it)

2. Choose Customize

3. On the Commands tab, drag an item from a menu that you commonly use onto the toolbar.
For example, on the Actions menu, drag the Red Flag onto the toolbar next to Send/Receive

4. Right click on the red flag and choose Text Only (Always)

5. Right click on the red flag again and change the Name to &X or another
shortcut you'll remember. The & precedes the letter you'll type with Alt in order
to access that button - i.e. Alt+X will now set a red flag on selected messages.

6. Drag Actions | Flag Complete next to the red flag and choose a similar short keyboard
combination such as &Z.

7. Close out of the customization dialog

8. Now select a few messages, press Alt+X to flag them for followup. I do this to
help me remember which items in my inbox need a response from me. Then you can also
press Alt+Z to mark the item as complete once you've followed up.

Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been looking for an efficient way of organizing tasks, contacts and mails in Microsoft Outlook for some time. After using Jello.Dashboard for more than 3 months, I think I’ve found what I was looking for. Jello.Dashboard is a Homepage..

  2. T.P. says:

    Also hitting the insert key will also flag an item. No need to set up a shortcut just for that.

  3. vasco says:

    Thank you so much for existing…

    Best of lucks for you


  4. Don Anonymous says:


    I followed your directions and setup a way to type ALT+Z to get a drop down for my signatures I could insert into a message.

    I was wondering if I could take that one step further and assign numbers to each signature — much like how multiple accounts are numbered in a drop down to pick which account to send from.

    I would like to be able to type ALT+Z and then a number for the signature I want to select, completely bypassing the mouse.

    Could you also please e-mail me at odells@comcast.net when you reply to this post?

    thanks very much!


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