Desktop alerts are messages that appear on your screen when certain events occur in Outlook. You’ve probably seen them in the bottom right corner of the screen appearing in everything you do when a new email comes in Outlook. While alerts on the desktop are more common when new messages arrive, they can also occur when any of the following events occur:
You will receive emails: in this case, the warning will show the sender’s name, the subject matter, and the body part of the message.
You receive a meeting invitation: The meeting invitation warning includes the sender’s name, topic, date, time, and place of meeting.
You get a task request: The task request alert shows the sender’s name, theme, and start date.
If Outlook is running (even rolled up) and desktop warnings are active (this is the default option), any of the events above will trigger a warning.
Desktop warnings show everything you see on your screen. By default, they are partially transparent and are accompanied by some tone or sound to get your attention if the visible part of the warning is not enough. The warnings remain for a few seconds and then disappear. Each of these characteristics can be personalized.
Dealing with desktop alerts
Desktop alerts don’t just tell you something important. They allow you to work with the item without being distracted from what you’re doing in your inbox. The next time you see a warning on your desktop, you’ll see a small arrow down in the top right corner. If you click this arrow down, Outlook will display a menu of settings that you can click on to perform different actions.
How to set up desktop alerts
Many people do not realize that you are completely in control of the behavior of warnings, including how long they appear and whether they appear at all. The easiest way to set up alerts is to use the Desktop Warning Settings dialog in the main Outlook window. Here’s what to do:
Click Tools> Options to open the Settings dialog window.
Click “Mail Options” on the Settings tab of the Settings dialog.
Click “Additional Mail Options” in the Mail Settings dialog.
In the “Additional Email Options” dialog, click “Desktop Warning Options.”
As soon as you move to the Desktop Alert Settings dialog, you’ll be able to adjust the duration of the warnings on the screen, as well as the transparency of the warning window (see “Use Warnings from the Office” on the Living With Outlook website for more information). Click the “preview” button at the bottom of the dialog to see what your changes will make. Click OK when you’re happy with the way things were set up.
Learning to use and manage desktop alerts is just one of the topics discussed in Lesson 2 of the six-week online Outlook 2007 course. If it makes sense for you to improve your skills with Microsoft Outlook 2007 at this time of uncertain job prospects,