Microsoft recently made Outlook for Mac free, a move that’s sure to boost adoption. If you’re using Outlook for Mac or are considering making the change, here’s how to customize the app’s email views.
Microsoft Outlook has long been the de facto email client app standard for businesses, and for good reason. The program is reliable, offers easy account setup, and usually eliminates many formatting and other potential issues that Microsoft-centric IT staff or others might occasionally be tempted to blame on the original Mail app from the Mac.
Early March 2023, Microsoft has made the Outlook app for Mac free. Previously, a Microsoft 365 subscription or standalone license was required.
Download Outlook for Mac
The Microsoft Outlook app for Mac is easy to get. Just go to the Mac App Store and download the program.
After installation, link your email account to the app. To add an email account to Outlook for Mac, open the program, click Tools in the menu bar, and then select Accounts. In the Accounts window that appears, click the + icon (Image A).
Add email accounts to Outlook for Mac using the Accounts window.
Outlook for Mac is always versatile and allows for linking different email accounts, including accounts powered by Microsoft Exchange, IMAP, Google, and Apple iCloud. An Add Account Wizard (Figure B) is included to aid the process.
Outlook for Mac includes an Add Account Wizard to help you link email accounts.
After entering the email address and specifying the necessary account settings, Outlook for Mac will add the email account. Corresponding messages should then appear in the app.
Customize Outlook for Mac
Microsoft’s Mac email client allows for easy personalization to view combinations. Figure C shows an option where both the folders and the My Day sidebars are hidden, allowing the reader to focus on posts.
Multiple display configurations and tweaks are available with Outlook for Mac. Sidebars are hidden here so you can focus on posts.
One of the best methods for navigating Outlook for Mac display configurations is to pause when you hover over different icons. After a while, the app will display the corresponding pop-up statements as usual. With that method you can do the following:
- Enable and disable the folder sidebar in the left navigation pane.
- Hide and show the notification panel on the right.
- See more hidden items in the displayed list of icons that let you delete, reply, and forward messages.
- Share items with Teams.
- Send information to OneNote.
- Report suspicious phishing messages.
You can access additional Outlook for Mac display configurations by clicking View in the menu bar. Options include hiding or disabling message previews and converting messages to the conversation view, where Outlook forwards messages.
You can place the reading pane – the window that displays the message content – on the right side of the screen. Some professionals prefer to put that panel at the bottom of the app. To change the location, click View, then Reading Pane, and specify Right, Bottom, or Hidden (to completely remove the Reading Pane).
Outlook for Mac also offers a Focused Inbox. This feature, when enabled, separates email into two tabs: one for Focused and another titled, perhaps inspiringly, Other.
Messages deemed important are placed in the Targeted tab, while information deemed less relevant is moved to the Other tab. To enable Focused Inbox, click View and select Enable Focused Inbox. To disable the feature, click Enable Focused Inbox, which removes the check mark indicating that the feature is actively processing messages to the Inbox and returns the configuration to the traditional view.
Message preview is another element that can be easily added or removed from the email view of the app. The image shown earlier in Figure C contained previews, which appear as a one-line message in each corresponding email, directly below the respective subject line.
While the default Outlook for Mac toolbar works well, customizations are easy to make and take only a moment to bring time-saving convenience to any workday. To customize the toolbar, click View and then select Customize Toolbar. The toolbar customization window appears (Figure D). Simply drag and drop the respective icon to add, remove and change the locations within the email client.
When the Customize toolbar is selected in Outlook for Mac, the icons that appear in the customization window will wave gently to indicate that the app is in customization mode. Delete, archive, pin/unpin, undo, and freeze are among the many customization options available.
A few quick adjustments pay dividends all the time
Outlook for Mac is a robust, reliable and capable email client. Now that it’s free, even more Mac users can use the app for just about any email account or service. Taking the time to make a few tweaks or tweaks first helps ensure the tool matches personal preferences and promotes productivity throughout each work day, so the associated quick time investment is well worth the effort. Worst case scenario, if you find that a display adjustment you’ve introduced isn’t working as intended, you can always switch back.