Microsoft recently made Outlook for Mac free, a move that’s sure to encourage adoption. If you’re using Outlook for Mac or thinking about making the switch, here’s how to customize the app’s email views.
Microsoft Outlook has long been the de facto email client application standard for businesses, and for good reason. The program is reliable, offers easy account setup, and generally eliminates many formatting and other potential issues that Microsoft-centric IT staff or others might occasionally be tempted to blame on the native Mac Mail app. .
In early March 2023, Microsoft made the Outlook for Mac app free. Previously, a Microsoft 365 subscription or separate license was required.
How to get Outlook for Mac
The Microsoft Outlook for Mac application is easily obtained. Just go to the Mac App Store and download the program.
Once installed, associate your email account with the application. To add an email account to Outlook for Mac, open the program, click Tools on the menu bar, and then select Accounts. Within the Accounts window that appears, click the + icon (Figure A).
Add email accounts to Outlook for Mac using the Accounts window.
Always versatile, Outlook for Mac lets you associate a variety of email accounts, including those that work with Microsoft Exchange, IMAP, Google, and Apple iCloud. A wizard for adding accounts (Figure B) is included to help with the process.
Outlook for Mac includes an Add Account wizard to help connect email accounts.
After you enter the email address and specify any necessary account settings, Outlook for Mac adds the email account. The corresponding messages should appear within the application.
How to customize Outlook for Mac
Microsoft’s Mac email client allows easy customization to view combinations. Figure C displays an option where both My Day folders and sidebars are hidden to allow the reader to focus on the messages.
Multiple view settings and adjustments are available using Outlook for Mac. Here, the sidebars are hidden so you can focus on your messages.
One of the best methods for navigating your Outlook for Mac view settings is to pause when you hover over various icons. After a while, as is common, the app will display the corresponding pop-up explanations. Using 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 side.
- See more hidden items within the list of icons displayed, which allow you to delete, reply to, and forward messages.
- Share items using Teams.
- Send information to OneNote.
- Report suspicious phishing messages.
You can access additional Outlook for Mac display settings by clicking View on the menu bar. Options include hiding or disabling message previews and converting messages to Conversations view, in which Outlook threads messages together.
You can arrange the Reading Pane, the window where the message content appears, on the right side of the screen. Some professionals prefer to place that panel at the bottom of the application. To change the location, click View, then Reading Pane, and specify Right, Below, or Hidden (to remove the Reading Pane entirely).
Outlook for Mac also offers a Priority Inbox. This feature, when enabled, separates the email into two tabs: one for Focused and one titled, perhaps inspiringly, Other.
Messages that are considered important are placed on the Focused tab, while information suspected of being less relevant is moved to the Other tab. To enable Focused Inbox, click View and select Turn on Focused Inbox. To disable the feature, click Enable Priority Inbox, which will remove the check mark indicating that the feature is actively processing messages in the Inbox and return the settings to traditional view.
The message preview is another element that is easily added or removed from the app’s mail view. The image shown earlier in Figure C featured previews, which appear as a one-line message in each corresponding email, immediately below the respective subject line.
While the default Outlook for Mac toolbar works fine, adjustments are easy to make and take just a moment to bring convenience and time savings throughout your business day. To adjust the toolbar, click View, and then select Customize Toolbar. The toolbar customization window will appear (Figure D). Just drag and drop the respective icon to add, remove and change your locations within the email client.
When the Personalize toolbar is selected in Outlook for Mac, the icons that appear within the personalization window will gently wave to indicate that the application is in personalization mode. Delete, Archive, Pin/Unpin, Undo, and Lock are some of the many options available for customization.
A few quick tweaks pay ongoing dividends
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 most email accounts or services. Taking the time to do a few tweaks or tweaks first helps ensure the tool matches personal preferences and aids productivity throughout each work day, so the corresponding quick time investment is well worth it. In the worst case, if you determine that a view setting you entered isn’t working as expected, you can always change back.