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KSU Physics uses Microsoft Exchange Server and the Outlook client.
This is a brief tutorial on using Outlook 2000's mail-handling features;
there's also a companion tutorial on Outlook's automated message handling.


The Physics Computing Support Center (PCSC) has installed a Microsoft Exchange Server. Exchange provides a wealth of services for exchanging e-mail, providing synchronized group appointment calendars and for sharing Office 2000 documents. Many of these services are most easily available through Outlook 2000, a component of the Office suite. Outlook is a complete personal information manager, providing e-mail, calendars, journals and many other useful features. This tutorial will focus on setting up and using Outlook for e-mail.

Starting Outlook 2000

The standard Windows NT/2000 desktop includes a little gold icon labeled "Microsoft Outlook". Double-clicking on this will launch Outlook. You can also find an icon in the "Microsoft Office 2000" group of the Windows "Start" menu. If you have never run the Office 2000 suite or Outlook before, the Office 2000 Installer will automatically run and install Outlook under your account; this may take a few minutes. You may be asked for your full name and initials; Office will use this to personalize your account. Outlook should also offer to become your default e-mail and news client; click "Yes" to accept the offer. Finally, you'll be asked for your e-mail username and password. Type in the username and password that you use on the Physics NT/Novell system. If you want Outlook to remember your password click on the checkbox at the bottom of the dialog box; otherwise you will be prompted for your password whenever you launch Outlook in the future.

Now the animated "Office Assistant" character should appear. People either love this or hate this. If you love it, fine, do nothing and you'll have a constant companion. If you hate it, right-click on the character and select "Hide"; he'll look forlorn and skulk away...

At this point, if you're working at a standard Physics department PC, Outlook should start downloading the contents of your e-mail inbox from the server (otherwise, you may need to complete some of the steps below). If you have a lot of mail cached there, this could take some time. The first message will be a special message from Outlook outlining its use and its capabilities. You should look over this message at least once.

Customizing Outlook

You can now see the basic layout of Outlook at work. On the left is the "Outlook Bar", which houses icons linking you to the various functions of Outlook (and more). To the right are windows displaying the details of the selected function, in this case, e-mail. This layout is extremely adaptable, as are the details of virtually everything that Outlook does. We'll now take a look at how to customize Outlook to meet your needs and desires.

Customizing E-Mail Delivery Options:

There are two ways of connecting Outlook to our e-mail server. If you're setting up a machine on the Physics network or if you have an "always-on" broadband home network (cable modem or DSL line), consider using the "Corporate/Workgroup" type connection. If you use a dial-up modem connection from home or from your laptop, you'll probably prefer using the "Internet Only" style connection. Both are covered separately below. The "Corporate" option is the default for Physics systems. If you are installing Outlook fresh onto your PC, you will be asked which option you want to use. You can change from one system to the other on a previously installed instance of Outlook by going through the "Tools" | "Options" | "Mail Services" menus and clicking on the "Reconfigure Mail Support" button. It would be a good idea to back up any existing Outlook folders before you do this.

A) "Internet Only" Dial-Up Configuration

The "Internet Only" option is the best for users making intermittent dial-up connections and who only want to download their e-mail. This option does not keep your Contacts, Notes or other Outlook options synchronized to the server, but stores them locally. This is a good thing if you do most of your work off-line.

To begin, let's check the details of your e-mail account. Go to the menu bar and select "Tools", then "Services". From the window that appears, find and double-click on the "Internet E-Mail" entry. A four-tabbed dialog box will pop up. Under the "General" tab should be your full name, your organizational affiliation and your e-mail address. You can change these if need be; you can ignore the "Reply-to" field (with an exception to be noted later).

To begin, let's check the details of your e-mail account. Go to the menu bar and select "Tools", then "Services". From the window that appears, find and double-click on the "Microsoft Exchange Server" entry. A four-tabbed dialog box will pop up. Under the "General" tab should be the name of our Exchange Server (Iris) and the name of your e-mail account. Don't mess with these. The other controls here, which specify how Outlook connects to Exchange, can be ignored.

Under the "Servers" tab is information about the server computers that handle our e-mail. Our incoming, or POP, mail server is called "" while our outgoing, SMTP, mail server is named "". If you read your e-mail from home or from the road, you'll need to remember these two names to configure your remote mail reader. Your account name and password are also stored here. You can ignore the parts about user authentication.

(Note that you can only send mail through our server if your IP address is from the university (addresses of the pattern 129.130.*.*). If you connect through some other party, you will have to specify their SMTP server instead of "mailhost". You can still retrieve mail using "pop" without restriction. This security precaution is necessary to prevent spammers from hijacking our outgoing mail servers. This is the circumstance where you might want to specify a "Reply-to" address; otherwise replies might wind up addressed to your provider's e-mail server rather than ours.)

Ignore the "Connection" tab. Under the "Advanced" tab, at the very bottom of the box, is an important setting. If you want your mail to be saved on the server (so that you can access it from home, for instance) check the "Leave a copy of messages..." box. If this box isn't checked, then your mail will be deleted from the server immediately after Outlook downloads it to your PC. You can further customize this option by specifying how long the server should keep messages. (You cannot keep them forever - we have set a mailbox quota of 50 MB. That's a lot, but you should occasionally clean out your old mail and empty your "Deleted Items" and "Sent" folders.) You should specify a limit to the time the server keeps mail. I keep mail on the server for about a week. In the unlikely event that my PC fails or my Exchange account gets messed up, a week is more than enough time to discover the fact and get it fixed.

Close the "Internet E-Mail" window. Now double-click on "Outlook Address Book". At the bottom of this window you can choose the have you address book alphabetized by last names or by first names; to get last names, check "File As (Smith, John)". Ignore the rest of this box and click "Close".

A number of other service can be configured under Outlook, but for now we'll stick to e-mail. Close the Services window by clicking the "OK" button. You may get an informational message that changes made to your account won't activate until after you close and restart Outlook. Close and ignore the message for now.

B) "Corporate/Workgroup" Configuration

The "Corporate/Workgroup" option is the best for users with a permanent network connection, be it the hard-wired LAN in the lab or a cable modem at home. This option keeps all of your Outlook files and data on the Exchange server and therefore always up-to-date.

To set up this mode, open Outlook, select the "Tools" menu and the "Services" menu item. A three-tabbed window will open and should display the "Services" tab. Double-click on "Microsoft Exchange Server". A four-tabbed window will open showing the "General" tab, which is the only one we need be concerned with. The name of our Exchange Server is ""; if Outlook has been previously set up, this will be displayed as "IRIS" (in all-caps). Your Mailbox name is your username. Be sure that the "Automatically detect connection state" is checked in the lower half of the window, and click "OK" to leave this window.

Once more you should be looking at the "Services" window. If you don't already have an entry labeled "Outlook Address Book" here, click the "Add" button and select "Outlook Address Book" from the list. If you get a message about this new item not starting until you restart Outlook, click "OK" to exit the "Services" window and then close and restart Outlook. Return to the "Tools" | "Servises" menu item and double-click on the new "Outlook Address Book" entry. There should be an entry in this new window reading something like "Contacts: Mailbox - username". At the bottom of the window, pick whether you want names in your address book alphabetized first-name-first ("John Smith") or last-name-first ("Smith, John"). Click "Close" to finish.

Now select the "Addressing" tab of the "Services" window. On the first line, choose whether you want your personal Outlook Contacts list or the departmental "Global Address List" to be displayed first in your address book. Most folks prefer to see their own "Contacts" list first. The second line, "Keep personal addresses in", should read "Contacts". Finally, the last box determines how address lists are searched and verified. If you chose to list your personal "Contacts" first in the step above, then you'll want that list checked first here. Highlight "Contacts" and use the arrow buttons to move it to the top of the list if it isn't there already. Click "OK" and we're finished with the "Services".

Customizing Look & Feel

Now that the nuts & bolts are attended to, we can turn to appearance and usability options. From the "Tools" menu select "Customize". The three-tabbed Customize window allows you to pick from an assortment of toolbars that can appear at the top of the Outlook window along with the menu bar. You can add or subtract commands or icons that appear in the toolbars or the menus to your heart's content. Most folks should be happy with the default set.

Close the Customize box, go to the "Tools" menu again and select "Options". A large window appears offering a huge smorgasbord of options for each of Outlooks functions. Feel free to explore the various settings offered here - they are far too numerous for me to try to explain right now, save for an important few.

Under the "Mail Format" tab, you can choose the format that your mail messages are sent in. By default, Outlook wants to use "Rich Text". This is fine if your messages only go to others in the Physics department who have Microsoft Word on their PC, but if you correspond with anyone else in the universe, you should select "Plain Text" only. In principle, Outlook and Exchange are supposed to be smart enough to only send plain text across the Internet, but there have been plenty of exceptions and problems with this rule. You can also compose and save an automatic "signature" to be appended to all of your e-mails using the "Signature Picker" at the bottom of this window.

Under the "Spelling" tab, do please check "Always check spelling...". There's just no excuse for the abysmal spelling seen on the Internet when options like these are so readily available!

Under the "Internet E-Mail" tab you can select how often you want Outlook to check to see if you have new mail. Checking every 10 to 15 minutes is usually more than good enough; checking more often than this just bogs down the server. If you really want to check your e-mail "Right Now", you can always force a check by clicking the "Send/Receive" button on the Outlook toolbar.

One last hard-to-find stupid interface trick, alluded to earlier, is learning how to alphabetize your Outlook address book by "Last-Name-First" instead of the brain-dead default "First-Name-First". From the Outlook menu bar, select "Tools", then "Services". Under the "Services" tab, select "Outlook Address Book", and then click the "Properties" button. At the bottom of the window that this pops up, select the "File as (Smith, John)" option.

(Note that this is not completely foolproof, since addresses entered while the default "first-name-first" was effective may still wind up stuck that way. You'll have to correct these addresses by hand in the Outlook Contacts section. Usually this is a minority of the total.)

When you've finished customizing, click "OK" to close the Options window. We've potentially made a lot of changes, so let's close Outlook. From the "File" menu click on "Exit". It takes a few seconds for Outlook to check in with the server and update your account; once that's done, double-click the Outlook icon again to relaunch the application. When Outlook comes up this time, you should see all the options you selected take effect.

Using Outlook

Click on the "Inbox" icon to see your e-mail. You can select from a number of different ways to display your new messages. Under the "View" menu are four selections:

When you're happy with the outward appearance of your Inbox, read your mail! Notice especially that you have a special message from Outlook that outlines the application and tells you how to get to Outlook's own help resources. Be sure to go and look at the Help files - click "Microsoft Outlook Help" under the "Help" menu. The Help menu will also let you configure (or eliminate) the cute little animated "Office Assistants" that provide a convenient (or annoying) interface to the help files.

When reading a mail message in its own dedicated window, you'll notice a menu bar and a tool bar at the top of the window. These allow you to quickly reply to, forward, file or otherwise manage your mail messages. A pair of up- and down-arrows let you easily step to the next or previous message in the current folder. The window will automatically disappear when you reach the end of the list of messages when browsing this way.

If your e-mail message has a reference to a web page in it, Outlook will recognize this and make that reference a hot link - just click it to automatically launch your web browser and have it go to the web page in question.

E-mail messages with attachments will display a special box at the bottom of the window showing an icon for each attachment.


Do Not run any attachment directly out of Outlook! Do not reconfigure Outlook to automatically run attachments! Always save the attachment as a file to disk first, then run it. This gives our anti-virus software a chance to look at the file first. Failure to follow this policy could lead to potentially damaging virus infections and is guaranteed to generate ill-will with your system administrator!

You can save the attachment by right-clicking on it and selecting "Save As", choosing "Save Attachments" from the File menu or by dragging-and-dropping the attachment icon. You can then run the attachment by double-clicking on it in the Windows Explorer or by using the Start Menu "Run" item.

If you are uncertain about what the attachment is or about who sent it to you, do not run it! Check with the source to see what it is supposed to be. If you can't verify that the attachment is valid mail from a trusted source, delete it!

We are running a centralized virus-checker that scans all incoming e-mail. If a suspicious file is detected in your mail, the virus-checker will quarantine that file and replace it in your message with a dummy file. Another e-mail message will accompany the suspect message to inform you that this has happened. In the unlikely event that the virus-checker mistakenly quarantines a file that you need, inform the system manager. He can manually check the file and retrieve it if it is clean. The existence of this virus-checker does not absolve you from following the instructions above! It isn't foolproof!

To send an attachment, simply drag the file to be attached out of the Windows Explorer into the message; an attachment icon will show up at the base of the message. Please don't send very large attachments; use FTP or the Web to post large files and just send the address to your correspondents. Never send any attachment that hasn't been scanned for viruses or whose authenticity you cannot personally vouch for.

Other Outlook Capabilities

Outlook has many other functions besides reading e-mail or managing your address book that are beyond the scope of this tutorial. A companion tutorial on using AutoArchive and the Rules Wizard to automate your message handling is available. Future tutorials on the use of group calendars and other collaborative features are forthcoming. Until then, to get an overview of the program play around with it, read the Help files or visit Microsoft's Outlook 2000 web site. The Physics Computing Support Center will also be happy to answer your questions.

Last updated on Tuesday, 14-Jul-2009