7 Outlook.com Tricks Everyone Needs to Know
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By now, you should be familiar with @outlook.com email addresses Hotmail No More! Microsoft Outlook Email Services Explained Hotmail No More! Microsoft Outlook Email Services Explained Stop searching for Hotmail! The terminology surrounding the various Microsoft Outlook email services is confusing. If you no longer know whether it's called Outlook web app, Outlook Online, or other, let us explain. Read More . They have been part of the Microsoft landscape since 2013.

Of course, users with an Outlook address can use a desktop email client 5 of the Best Desktop Email Clients That Don't Cost a Dime 5 of the Best Desktop Email Clients That Don't Cost a Dime You need a desktop email client to handle your incoming mail? We show you the best desktop email clients you can get for free. Read More to read their messages, but the primary way of accessing the service is through the Outlook web app.

The web app forms the basis for this article. There’s far more to it than meets the eye. If you spend the time to learn about all its features, you can almost entirely eradicate the need for a desktop client.

Here are seven hidden Outlook.com features you probably didn’t know about.

1. Send Money Through PayPal

PayPal isn’t without its detractors. Compared with some of its competitors 6 Online Payment Alternatives If You Hate PayPal 6 Online Payment Alternatives If You Hate PayPal PayPal is the biggest online payment provider out there, but it's not the only one. If you're looking for an alternative to PayPal, these 6 options are great. Read More , it’s slow, expensive, and restrictive. However, it remains the most-used online payment provider. In mid-2017, the service boasted more than 200 million active accounts.

Because of its uptake levels, it’s still the easiest non-bank way to send money to another person Venmo vs. Google Wallet: Send Money to Friends Easily Venmo vs. Google Wallet: Send Money to Friends Easily Forget about trying to pay friends back in cash -- that's what you have a smartphone for! Read More or business.

If you want to send money on PayPal, but you’d rather avoid the difficult-to-navigate website, why not install the PayPal add-in? The app opens within the Outlook.com page and lets you send money to anyone in your address book. You can even make payments as you’re drafting an email.

outlook.com feature send money paypal

Go to the add-in’s listing in the Office Store and click Add to get started. You can also go to Gear icon > Options > General > Manage add-ins > + in the Outlook web app.

2. Change Primary Alias

If you use Outlook.com, you should already know about aliases. They allow you to create multiple @outlook.com email addresses, all of which are accessible through one login and arrive in one inbox. You can also use any of them as a “From” address.

But did you know you can change which of your many aliases is your primary alias? And did you know you can even set up your account so you can use several of your email aliases as the login address for your Microsoft Account?

outlook.com feature alias primary

To change your primary alias, go to Options > Accounts > Connected Accounts > Email aliases > Manage or choose a primary alias. On the next screen, click Make primary next to your choice.

On the same screen, you can select Change sign-in preferences to select which email aliases are valid logins.

3. Sweep Emails

Do you practice “Inbox Zero” 5 Action Steps For Curing Your Inbox Zero Email Frenzy 5 Action Steps For Curing Your Inbox Zero Email Frenzy Inbox Zero is one of the most popular buzz words. To truly solve your email issues you need to go beyond Inbox Zero and address the underlying problems. Read More ? If you do, you can skip over this section. Everyone else, listen up.

Outlook offers an email sweep feature that helps keep your inbox (relatively) clutter-free. The feature can be used in several ways. For example, you can get the sweep to delete any promotional emails whose special deal runs out after a certain number of days. Or you can ask it to delete any email messages from social media accounts once per month.

But how does it work?

To set up a sweep rule, you first need to locate and open an email you want to apply the rule to. In the example below, I’m going to set up a sweep for spam emails from TuneIn Radio.

Next, in the header at the top of the page, click Sweep.

outlook.com feature sweep emails

In the popup box, make your choices regarding frequency and content, then click Sweep again.

outlook.com feature email sweep rule

To manage the Sweep rules you have created, go to Options > Mail > Inbox and sweep rules.

4. Customize Quick Actions

Quick Actions are the small icons you see popup alongside an email’s subject when you’re looking at your inbox and hover the mouse over a message. It’s possible to customize the icons, thus letting you put the shortcuts you use most often right at your fingertips.

There are four slots available, and seven actions to choose from. The actions are: Delete, Mark as read or unread, Flag, Archive, Move to folder, Pin, and Nothing.

outlook.com feature quick actions

To make your choices, go to Options > Mail > Layout > Quick actions and select your preferences from the drop-down menu.

5. Change the Theme

Much like Gmail, the Outlook.com web app has lots of new themes you can choose from. They can help to inject some color into what is otherwise a somewhat dour-looking app.

To change Outlook’s theme, go to Options > General > Change theme. You will notice several themes are available: some are pictures and cartoons, some just offer different colors or tones. Make your pick, then click Save at the top of the page.

outlook.com feature themes

Oddly, there’s no way to download third-party themes from the Office Store. It seems like a feature Microsoft should consider introducing.

6. Share Facebook Photos

Despite the obvious privacy implications Facebook Photo Privacy Settings You Need To Know About Facebook Photo Privacy Settings You Need To Know About As with everything regarding privacy on Facebook, managing your photos' privacy settings isn't always easy. Read More , some people feel obligated to share every aspect of their life on Facebook in photographic form.

But alas, I’m not here to debate the moral argument of Facebook photos. If you’re a Facebook addict How To Beat An Addiction to Facebook How To Beat An Addiction to Facebook Facebook addiction is a very real thing. Here are some tips that will help you beat it. Read More , you just need to know that Outlook now makes it easier than ever to share your photos via email. To begin, you need to connect your two accounts together.

Although it’s a bit counterintuitive, you’ll find the setting in Storage accounts along with services like Box, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

outlook.com feature share facebook photos

To access the menu, navigate to Options > Mail > Attachment options > Storage accounts. Click on the Facebook link and follow the onscreen prompts.

To attach a Facebook photo, start composing a new email, click on the Attach button, and choose Facebook on the next screen.

7. Outlook Light

No, this isn’t another variation on themes. Outlook Light is a completely separate version of the web app How to Access Your Microsoft Outlook Email From Any Platform How to Access Your Microsoft Outlook Email From Any Platform Here we have compiled all the ways, across multiple platforms, you can use to access your Microsoft Outlook email account. Read More .

It’s designed for people with slow internet connections, old browsers and/or computers, and people with accessibility needs.

Here are some of the key differences:

  • The Light app is HTML-based
  • Offline access is unavailable on Light
  • Light does not let you access multiple Exchange accounts
  • It cannot send read receipts
  • Light does not have a reading pane
  • There are no sound effects
  • Groups are unavailable

To enable Outlook Light, go to Options > General > Light Version and mark the checkbox next to Use the Light version of Outlook.com.

Your Favorite Outlook.com Features?

In this article, we’ve introduced you to seven hidden features in Outlook.com. They are:

  1. Send money through PayPal
  2. Change your primary alias
  3. Create sweep rules
  4. Customize your Quick Actions
  5. Change the theme
  6. Share Facebook photos
  7. The Light version of the app

But Outlook.com is so complicated The New Outlook.com Is Here: Everything You Should Know The New Outlook.com Is Here: Everything You Should Know Microsoft has overhauled Outlook.com. If your account hasn't been migrated yet, it will happen by the end of this year. Have a look at what's new in your Outlook.com inbox. Read More that we’re sure you’ve stumbled across many other hidden features and neat tricks. Now we want to hear about them.

As always, you can leave all your suggestions and ideas in the comments below.

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  1. NotMyName
    October 9, 2017 at 8:01 am

    The title is Hidden Outlook Tricks. Things like Theme, Quick Action and Sweep are so obvious 'Tricks' to all Users.