Power Users will have to pardon me for repeating myself, but I can’t stop shouting about the Journal feature in Outlook. What a cool tool; deceptively simple yet useful in a multitude of ways, this creature is a favorite in Outlook Essentials training.
There are many ways you might choose to organize your phone calls and conversations; OneNote, an old-fashioned spiral notebook, your impeccable memory… but the Journal is by far my favorite go-to for this. It integrates seamlessly into Outlook; it is searchable, compatible with your calendar, and a welcome addition to the Outlook universe.
Have you never used this feature? You are not alone. I rarely meet someone before Outlook Essentials training who has heard of it.
Apologies to Mac Users
Before I jump in too deep, I have sad news for Mac users… there is not a Journal feature in the Mac version of Outlook. This is only within the desktop PC Outlook program. Not fair! I am sorry, Mac friends.
Where is the Journal?
Even for PC users, Outlook does not make the Journal easy to find.
To find the Journal:
- In the lower left navigation, go to Mail Module
- Click the “…” on the right side of the Navigation
- Select Folders
- On the left side of the screen select Journal.
Make a Shortcut
Since it is a bit of a trek to find the Journal, you might find it helpful to create a shortcut. There are a couple ways to accomplish this, but I am particularly fond of the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). The QAT is a series of tiny buttons above the ribbon in Microsoft programs.
To add the Journal to the QAT:
- Press the down arrow on the right side and select More Commands
- In the dropdown at the top of the popup, change Popular Commands to All Commands
- Scroll down until you find the Journal (the entries are alphabetical). Select the Journal on the left pane, press the Add button between the two panes. Then it will appear on the right pane
- Press OK.
Making a journal entry is remarkably intuitive. Let’s create one. First, navigate to your Journal by pressing the new QAT button.
In the ribbon of the Journal, select the first button, Journal Entry.
In the popup screen notice the ability to enter a subject, an Entry type (e.g. phone, conversation, etc).
You can manually enter a start and end time, or you can make use of the built in Timer.
I particularly like the timer for phone calls.
Once you have created a Journal entry, press Save and Close on the left side of the ribbon.
Now you have created a searchable entry in Outlook. While you are still in the Journal module, there is a search feature in the upper left. If a couple weeks go by and you can’t remember certain details, now you can search by a word and quickly find all the Journal entries
You might want to add a Journal entry to your calendar. Perhaps your phone call was particularly long, or perhaps you would like a record to be visible to people with whom you have shared your calendar. To add a Journal entry to your calendar:
- Click on the entry in the Journal entry list
- Hold down your mouse, and drag this down to the calendar icon in the lower left navigation.
This will create a calendar event with your Journal details.
Note that you will have to hand enter start and end times for the calendar event.
So what do you think? Do you have great plans for the Journal in Outlook?