Outlook: The Power of Drag and Drop

Most people are somewhat familiar with the concept of “drag and drop” when it comes to software… that is to say, when you click on an item, hold down your mouse, and drag it to another location. Sometimes it is as simple as moving a file from one folder to another; the action of clicking on the file and dragging it to the new folder. But there are other tools you can access with this action. Outlook takes this feature to another level, and contains a remarkable number of possible uses for drag and drop. Here are just a few…


In Outlook Essentials, we talk about the Attach File button in the ribbon…

Attach File button in ribbon

… but another popular way to attach files is by dragging the file from its location into the body of an email. Particularly handy if your document is located on the desktop.

Drag and drop an item from desktop into an email

This will also work to drag the attachment from the body of a received email into a new email.

Drag attachment from one email to a new one

Reorder Calendar View

Here is a secret, little-known drag and drop feature: reordering calendars. Many of us work with multiple calendars open at once, like my two coworkers’ calendars below.

Calendar view, amy belden first, then Madelyne Toney

Sometimes calendar order gets altered for some mysterious reason, or maybe you just want them to be in a different order than the default. Drag and drop to the rescue!

Click on the calendar name on the left pane and change the order with drag and drop.

Drag and drop calendars to different location

In this case, I chose to flip the order, but I could easily flip it back with another drag and drop.Calendar order switched due to drag and drop

By the way, if you are working with calendar groups (come to Outlook Advanced to learn more), you can reorder an entire group with drag and drop. Pretty nifty!

Create Appointments from Other Modules

When I wrote about the Journal (secret feature!) I showed you this little trick, dragging and dropping a Journal entry into the calendar to make a note of the time you spent on the phone call or conversation.

The same goes for the other modules. What if you would like to set aside some time to look at the content of an email, or make a meeting in response to it?

Drag and drop the email from your inbox into the calendar module in the navigation.

Drag and drop email to calendar in navigation

This will create an event with the details of the message plugged in. Don’t forget to set the time and invite attendees, of course!

Appointment created by email drag and drop

Create Emails from Other Modules

What about the inverse? Perhaps you have an event, the details of which you would like to share in an email without an actual invitation.

Try dragging and dropping a calendar event into your mail module in the navigation.

Drag and drop calendar event to email naviagation to create new email

This will create an email, with all the contents of your calendar event, ready to share with interested parties.

Email created from calendar drag and drop

Create Tasks from Other Modules

There are tons of ways to create tasks from an email, but one of them is drag and drop! Same story here, click on the email and drag it down to the tasks module to get started.

Drag an email down to tasks in navigation

In this case, sometimes the flag button we talk about in Outlook Essentials is a little quicker, but this may come in handy too!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

Kelley Smetak

Kelley Smetak