February 25, 2008, 4:09 PM — Recently, I pointed out how to retrieve misplaced email in Outlook 2007. I said that if you wanted to issue a query against all your mail items and not just the currently selected folder, you had to click the fiddly little dropdown arrow to the right of the Instant Search box and select Search All Mail Items. This is fiddly because that dropdown arrow is indeed little, and if you're mouse-challenged like I am it's a pain to to do this. Readers Matt Metz and Floris van der Zwaard independently pointed out to me that there's an easier way to search all mail items, and I appreciate their feedback.
Matt says: "Click on the All Mail Items icon [found under Mail Folders in the Navigation pane at the left] and the All Mail Items search bar opens up with the cursor blinking in the window waiting for input. This searches ALL mail folders, including all sub-folders." That's great advice and also it saves me a mouse click when I want to search all mail folders -- thanks Matt!
And since we're on the subject of Outlook, here are two nifty formatting tips. First, did you know you can type mathematical expressions accurately into Outlook 2007? To do this in your message body, first press ALT + equals sign to enter "math mode" and then type your equation. For example, let's say you want to type the square root of a quadratic polynomial, here's how you do it: enter math mode and then type "\sqrt(ax^2+bx+c)" without the quotes and then press ENTER. Yes I know that's a pretty geeky tip, but hey, I was a Physics teacher in a previous incarnation so I think it's pretty cool. Note that this also works in Word 2007 which makes sense of course since Word is now the default message editor for Outlook.
And second, if you ever need to type characters used in other languages in Outlook, for example if you need to type a German word that has u with an umlaut, you must make sure that your NUM LOCK key is turned on. To see this in action, try the following in Notepad first: press and hold down either ALT key, type 0252, and release ALT. You'll get u-umlaut regardless of whether NUM LOCK is on or off. Now try the same in Outlook (or Word). This bugged the heck out of me until a reader pointed out to me that it was also that way in the previous version of Outlook (and Word), and the reader added, "Who doesn't have their NUM LOCK turned on nowadays?" Guess I'm behind the times as far as keyboards are concerned, LOL.