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Outlook - Mr. Modem's Top Ten FAQs

The following Microsoft Outlook Help questions were answered by Mr. Modem in his weekly “Ask Mr. Modem” computer help newsletter. As a subscriber, in addition to weekly computer troubleshooting tips and the finest, advertising-free newsletter available on the Internet, Mr. Modem will personally respond to your questions by email. For additional information or to subscribe (and you simply must subscribe!), visit

1. Q. My Outlook continually tries to connect to the Internet, even if there isn’t an Internet connection present. How can I make that stop?

A. By default, Microsoft Outlook will attempt to connect to the Internet in the manner you describe. To prevent Outlook from automatically connecting, click Tools > Options > Mail Delivery tab. Remove the check mark from the option to check for messages every X minutes.

2. Q. When using my Outlook Calendar, Saturdays and Sundays are combined, compressed into what normally would be a single day, so it doesn’t allow much room for entering data. Is there any way to have Saturdays and Sundays appear as stand-alone days, as the other days of the week do?

A. The default month view for the Outlook Calendar combines Saturday and Sunday into one column. You can, however, change it to display a separate column for each day, which will make Saturdays and Sundays the same size as the other days on the calendar.

To expand the weekends (if only it were so easy in real life), right-click anywhere on the calendar and choose Other Settings. Remove the check mark from the option to Compress Weekend Days. This setting also controls whether the calendar prints with six columns or seven.

3. Q. When I try to import Outlook Express email into Outlook, the received dates get changed to the date that I’m importing. Is there any way to avoid that?

A. Instead of using Outlook’s Import function (File > Import and Export), export from Outlook Express email (File > Export > Address Book) to Outlook. This will preserve the received dates and allow you to choose which folders to export.

4. Q. Is there a way to select several days at a time when using Outlook’s calendar?

A. Hold the Shift or Ctrl keys and select days or weeks in the navigation calendars to control how many days are displayed. This works with any of the Day/Week/Month views, but you’re limited to 14 days or 5 weeks total, depending on the view selected.

5. Q. I’m continually closing Outlook when I mean to minimize it. Is there any way to prevent that or get a warning that would give me a chance to stop what I’m doing?

A. Microsoft Outlook help doesn’t provide that type of warning, but here’s a way to create your own. This works in all versions of Outlook except 2000. Why? I have no idea.

Start by composing a new message and type “Keep Outlook Open” in the Subject line. Do not enter an address in the To: field. Save the message to your Drafts folder, then drag it from the Drafts folder to your Outbox.

Whenever you attempt to close Outlook thereafter, whether intentionally or accidentally, the following message will appear: “There are still email messages in your Outbox. Would you like to exit anyway?” You will then have an opportunity to click “No” and minimize Outlook instead.

6. Q. When I paste URLs into HTML-formatted email, the Web site addresses appear as plain text instead of clickable links. What am I doing wrong, Mr. M?

A. When you paste URLs into HTML-formatted email, the Web address appears as plain text until one of three things occurs: 1.) You press the spacebar; 2.) You begin typing at the end of the URL; 3.) You press Enter. When any of these actions are performed, the URL will immediately transform into a clickable link.

7. Q. I’m trying to use the reminder feature of Outlook with my recurring tasks, but either the tasks aren’t recurring or the reminders aren’t reminding me. Help!

A. When you set up a recurring task and the reminder pops up, don't “dismiss” the reminder. Instead, open the task and mark it “Complete.” This will allow the next occurrence of the task to be generated. Since the reminder wasn't disabled on the original task (by dismissing it), it will be enabled and thus appear on the newly generated task.

8. Q. The new mail notification sound drives me crazy in Outlook. How can I change that to something more pleasant, or can I eliminate it completely?

A. To change the new mail notification sound for Outlook, go to your Windows Control Panel and double-click the Sounds (or Sounds and Audio Devices) icon. In XP, select the Sounds tab from the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box.

Under Program Events, scroll down to New Mail Notification and click to select it. In the Sounds: field, you’ll see the name of the current sound file being used. Click the Browse button and navigate to the sound file (it must be in .wav format) you prefer to use, select it, and click Apply > OK to exit. If you would prefer the sounds of silence, under Program Events, scroll down to New Mail Notification and click to select it. In the Sounds: field, select (None), which appears at the top of the list of available sounds.

9. Q. How can I forward a received email as an attachment? When I forward messages within the body of an email, what the recipients get doesn’t appear the same as the original message I received.

A. You’re absolutely right. Though most people simply forward a message without making it an attachment, forwarding as an attachment is a way to share an email in precisely the same format you received it. This makes it easier for the recipient of your forward to reply to the original sender and it preserves some message details that can otherwise be lost.

To forward a message as an attachment in Outlook, from the Menu Bar, click Tools > Options. On the Preferences tab, click Email Options.

Under “When forwarding a message,” select “Attach original message” using the drop-down menu. Click OK > OK to save and exit.

To forward messages, simply select (highlight) any message you want to forward, then click Forward. Address and send the email with the original message attached. You can add comments in the form of a cover email in the body of the message you’re composing.

10. Q. How can I create a signature line that will appear on all email I send from Outlook?

A. To create a signature line in Outlook, click Tools > Options. On the Mail Format tab, at the bottom of the page, click the Signature Picker… button.

Click the New... button and enter a name for the new signature (something like "Home" or "Work"), then click Next.

In the Edit Signature window, type the information you want to appear with your signature in each email. Make sure your spelling is correct and don’t overdo it. Less is more when it comes to signature lines. When you’re finished, click Finish. (Clever isn’t it?)

Lastly, click OK > OK to return to the Mail Format tab on the Options screen. At the bottom of the page, in the “Use this signature by default” area, select the name of your new signature and click Apply > OK. While you’re there, review the other signature options and select any options most appropriate for your personal use.

If you enjoyed this article featuring computer troubleshooting tips for Microsoft Outlook help, there’s a lot more practical, easy-to-understand computer- and Internet-related information available to you as a subscriber of Mr. Modem’s Weekly Newsletter ( Subscribe today and you’ll receive helpful computer troubleshooting tips, virus alerts, hoax information, plus prompt personal responses to your computer questions by email!

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