Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Outlook for Windows – Useful Shortcut Keys, June 17, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

Outlook for Windows – Useful Shortcut Keys

Without using a mouse it’s easy to use and move around in the Windows Outlook program.

  • Press F6 to move through the regions of the main Outlook window: the ribbons, the calendar peek, the navigation tool bar, the folder pane, the message list, and status bar. Control+Tab will also move through the regions, but it excludes the ribbons and status line.
  • Instead of using F6 to reach the navigation bar you can navigate those items directly. Press Control+1 to select the email view, Control+2 to select Calendar view, Control+3 to select Contacts view, Control+4 for the To-Do list and Control+5 for Notes.
  • While in any view, you can press Control+Shift+I to focus on the email inbox and Control+Shift+O to focus on the email outbox.
  • While in the email, calendar, or contact view, press Control+N to start a new email, appointment, or contact respectively.
  • While in any view, press Control+Shift+A to start a new appointment, Control+Shift+C to start a new contact, Control+Shift+E to create a new folder, Control+Shift+K to start a new task in the To Do list, Control+Shift+L to start a new distribution list, Control+Shift+M to start a new email message, Control+Shift+P to open the font dialogue, or Control+Shift+Q to start a new meeting request.
  • While in any email folder just arrow up and down to review the list of messages and press Enter to open a message or press Delete to delete the message. Note that you can hold down Shift while you arrow down the list to select successive messages. With multiple messages selected, the Delete key will delete them all. Control+Delete will also delete the message from either the message list or with the message open.
  • With a message open, you can ask Windows to read it aloud for you even if you don’t have screen reading software. Press Alt+H followed by r, then 1.
  • From the message list or within a message, press Control+R to reply to the sender of a message.
  • Press Control+Shift+R to reply to the sender and all other recipients of the message. Note that any recipients in the BCC field are not visible to you and will not be replied to when you use this Reply All feature.
  • Press Control+E or F3 to search within contacts or emails. This is handy to find old emails because you can enter a recipient name, sender, subject, or words from the body of the message to find it. Press Enter after entering the search text and TAB over to the results list.
  • Press Control+F to forward the message to another person.
  • Press Control+Alt+F to forward the message as an attachment.
  • Press the Applications key on any message to open a context menu of things you can do with that message. For example, there are menu items to print the email, find related emails, or open the Junk submenu to block the sender of that email so that any future emails from the sender will automatically go to your junk folder.
  • While in the To, CC, or BCC fields Outlook will attempt to auto complete any email address as you begin typing it. If there are multiple auto completion possibilities, you may down arrow to see the list of possible auto completions and press Enter on the one you want, or press Delete if you want Outlook to forget that email and not use it for future auto completions.
  • While in the To, CC, or BCC fields, you can press Control+Shift+B to open a dialogue that allows you to search your Outlook contacts for a person and then put that person’s email address into the field.
  • You can press Control+Y to bring up a list of your other inbox folders. Arrow down the list to choose a folder and then press Enter to move to that folder.
  • You can move the current or all selected messages to another folder using Control+Shift+V. Choose the destination folder from the resulting list of folders and press Enter to move your message to that folder.
  • Alt+S is a quick keystroke to finish the message you are typing and save it to the outbox. This same keystroke will save the appointment/meeting request you are typing or a contact you are editing.
  • Control+S, on the other hand, will also save the email message you are typing but instead of saving it to the outbox it will be saved to the Drafts folder. This is handy if you don’t want to immediately send your email and you want to save a draft of it to complete later. To later complete the draft email, use the Control+Y keystroke to go to the Drafts folder and there you will find your saved email. Press Enter to open the draft email and continue working on it. Then you can resave it with Control+S or send it to the Outbox with Alt+S.
  • F7 will start the spell checker.
  • F9: If you have configured Outlook to not automatically download messages and to not automatically send messages that are saved in the outbox, then press F9 when you are ready to download new emails and also send emails that are saved in your outbox.
  • F12 will open the Save As dialogue to save a message to a file.

Here is the complete list of Outlook keyboard shortcuts.

Additional shortcuts for users of the JAWS screen reader:

  • When an email is open, you can quickly read its header information. Press Alt+1 to read who the email is from, Alt+2 to read the date of the email, Alt+3 to read who the message is being sent to, Alt+4 to read the cc field, Alt+5 to read the Subject field  (press twice quickly to focus on the Subject field), and Alt+6 to read the bcc field.
  • From any of those header fields, press Alt+` to jump to the message body.
  • Tip: It’s useful just before you press Alt+S to send a new email message to the outbox, to first press Alt+3, Alt+4, Alt+6 to quickly verify who you put in the “To”, CC, and BCC fields. It’s easy with auto completion to accidentally put someone into these fields that you didn’t intend to.
  • Since Outlook email uses the MS Word engine, you can use JAWS navigation keys to navigate the message body. For example, you may press H to jump from heading to heading, or JAWS+F6 to bring up a list of headings, or JAWS+F7 to bring up a list of links. This can be useful for reading long messages such as newsletters where the sender may have set headings or included links.

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.