“Built in Actions” are a powerful feature hidden in Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Word. They take a little setup, but they’ll save you hours – and make you the office hero if you pass them along!
Just click in certain types of text, right click and choose “Additional Options” on the pop up menu and you’ll be offered some powerful context-sensitive options.
- Click on a date, and you can choose “Schedule a Meeting” or “Show My Calendar”. It will open a Meeting invite with date pre-filled, or show your calendar for that date and time.
- Click anywhere in a name and you can Send An Email, Schedule Meeting, Open Contact Card, Add to Contacts, or Insert Address. (Hint: if you open contact card, you’ll have hyperlinks to all those options along with the contact information and notes).
- Click on a three or four character stock symbol, and it will open Stock Quote, Company Report, or Recent News for that company on MSN MoneyCentral.
- Click on a measurement, and it will show the conversion from US to metric or the other way around, for length, area, volume, temperature, weight and speed. Click the conversion result to change your text. This one has some quirks. It won’t convert US or metric to other units (inches to feet) and it doesn’t recognize “milliliters” for some reason. But it’s a fast way to do most conversions.
- Places is the best one of all. Click in an address and you can Add to Contacts, Map (uses Bing), or get Driving Directions (also Bing). The instructions on driving directions are a little confusing the first time. When you get the pop-up dialog, use one or both of the address fields to enter home, work or other address you generally drive FROM. From then on, it will hold the address(es) for you to choose from in a single click. The “TO” address is the text you clicked.
It isn’t on by default, so you’ll have to enable it in both Word and Outlook:
In Word, go to File/Options/Proofing/AutoCorrect Options button/Actions tab. Check the box that says “enable actions” then check the boxes next to actions you want to have available.
In Outlook, do the same thing, but the path is different: File/Options/Mail/Editor Options/AutoCorrect Options/Actions tab. Again, be sure to check ‘enable’ as well as the individual options.
There are a few options available in Excel & PowerPoint as well. Check the chart at the link below and enable them in those programs as well, if you think they’ll be useful.
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