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No Mouse Required: How to Create and Send an Email in Outlook Using Only Your Keyboard

Mouse

I spend a whole lot of time in front of a computer. It was (and still is) my hobby, and subsequently became my profession. And being a GTDer, I’m constantly looking for ways to streamline my computing processes. After about 7 years of full-time computer use, I’ve discovered one of the greatest productivity killers in computing history: the mouse. That’s why I’ve introduced a new snazzy post category called “No Mouse Required”. Constantly moving your hands on and off the keyboard wastes all sorts of time, so I’m determined to eradicate (to the extent it’s possible) my personal use of the mouse. So, anytime you see a post under that moniker, you’ll know there’s a nugget of mouse-less bliss awaiting you.

For the inaugural post, I thought I’d cover something that many, many folks can do faster: send an email using Microsoft Outlook. This may not be news to most of you, but I’m fairly certain somebody will find this tidbit useful. (Note that this post assumes you’re running some flavor of Microsoft Windows).

To send an email without ever taking your hands off of the keyboard, follow these simple steps:

  1. Use Alt+Tab to switch to Outlook.
  2. If you’re looking at anything other than one of your mail folders (like your Calendar or Contacts), hit Ctrl+Shift+M to open a new mail message, otherwise just hit Ctrl+N.
  3. You should now be looking at a blank email, with your cursor placed in the To: field. Type the recipients name (and if Outlook is connected to Microsoft Exchange Server and you’re emailing somebody in your organization, you can type their name and hit Ctrl+K, which will verify their address for you).
  4. Use the TAB key to navigate between the CC:, BCC: and Subject fields, filling in as necessary.
  5. Hit TAB to enter the main text area of the email, type the body of your message.
  6. Invoke the SpellCheck utility using the F7 key. Use the TAB key to navigate, making changes as needed.
  7. Once you’re ready to send, hit Ctrl+Enter.
  8. Bask in the knowledge that you’ve just sent an email and your mouse is getting dusty!

Pretty simple, right? This process is a little weird at first (especially if you want to attach files, etc. – use Alt+I, F to do that), but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it!

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