Tame your computer - it's a date!

In her regular series for Cambridge Network members - now in its 15th year - software training expert Karen Roem offers handy tips to help you 'Tame your computer'. This week she explains how to set a date using English words and formulas (Microsoft Outlook).

roem tip time logo

Back in 2004 I wrote a tip about the fact that Outlook understands normal English when you want to schedule a meeting, create a follow-up task or a flag to remind recipients to reply by a specific date. No need to pick dates or times using the drop-down menus. You can simply type tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, this Wednesday, next Wednesday, next Tue or combinations such as tomorrow next week.

But did you know you can use formulas? They can be extremely handy when someone writes they’ll get back to you in, say, five days’ time and you want to set a reminder.

Here’s how:

1.       Make sure your cursor is in the date field. (Perhaps use TAB to jump to it.)

2.       Try out one of the following:

a)      Type 5d to add 5 days to the date shown in the date field. OR

b)      Type 5w to add 5 weeks to the date shown in the date field. OR

c)       Type 5m to add 5 months to the date shown in the date field. OR

d)      Type 5y to add 5 years to the date shown in date field.

You cannot use formulas to go back in the past, but you can type phrases such as Friday before 20 July or Mon before 20/7 or month before 20/7. Outlook also understands Last week or last month. (With thanks to Sally for the tip inspiration!)

And remember, there is no need to pick up your mouse to select times. Simply type, for example, 10am or 3pm.

Oh, and in Outlook 365 you can also use “natural language” to search. For example, you can type “from karen last month”. But I’ll write a separate tip about that at some point. Lots of inspiration right now because of the recent 60-minute webinars.

Related tips


Upcoming courses

Our current course schedule – open for maximum two people – can be found online. If you prefer to stick to virtual training sessions, let me know and we can cut regular sessions up in short chunks. Or why not schedule 60-minute webinars for you and your colleagues? In a series of 60-minute sessions, I will share top tips that can save you hours of time. Even if you believe you have mastered MS Office, I guarantee you will go away with new and easy to use tricks and shortcuts that you simply don’t have the time for to find yourself.

20 July 2020

Karen Roem offers software training and support through her company Roem Ltd.  Contact her by email (Karen@roem.co.uk) or visit her website at  www.roem.co.uk



Looking for something specific?