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Webucator's Free Introduction to Microsoft Outlook 2013 Tutorial

Lesson: The Outlook 2013 Interface

Welcome to our free Introduction to Microsoft Outlook 2013 tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Introduction to Microsoft Outlook 2013 course.

Microsoft Outlook 2013 is an email program that you can use to manage email messages, schedule meetings, manage your calendar, and save and work with contacts.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn about the Microsoft Outlook interface.
  • Learn about the Outlook Ribbon.
  • Learn about the tabs, groups, and commands on the Ribbon.
  • Learn about the Backstage view.

Overview of the Outlook Interface

The Outlook interface can be customized based on your preferences and needs. First, however, it is important to understand the different sections that show up by default in Outlook. They are highlighted in the following graphic:

Outlook Interface

The highlighted areas are as follows:

  1. Quick Access Toolbar. The Quick Access toolbar is a small toolbar which includes commonly used commands and is always accessible. By default, the Quick Access Toolbar is located in the upper-left corner of Outlook.
  2. Ribbon. The Ribbon contains frequently used commands, organized for easy access.
  3. Navigation Pane. The Navigation Pane allows easy navigation of Outlook items, and changes depending on what view you are in. For example, when in your Calendar, you will see a different Navigation Pane than when you are in the Mail view.
  4. Message list. The message list lists your email messages.
  5. Reading Pane. The Reading Pane shows a preview of the selected message.
  6. To-Do Bar. The To-Do Bar shows your Calendar and items flagged for follow-up.
  7. Peek. Peek is a new feature to Outlook 2013, and it allows you to quickly preview the different Outlook elements by hovering your mouse over each element.

New Features of the Outlook 2013 Interface

In Outlook 2013, you can quickly view all or only unread messages in your message list.

All Unread Feature

You can see a preview of your messages in your message list.

Message List

Hover over any of the Peek text at the bottom of the message list to see a quick view of that element.

Peek Text

The Ribbon

The Outlook Ribbon is part of the Office interface designed to help you quickly access commands you frequently use. The Ribbon is in place of the menus that appeared in previous versions of Outlook, such as Outlook 2007.

The Ribbon comprises tabs, which contain groups, which in turn contain commands.


In Outlook, the Ribbon changes, depending on what view you are in. The following are the Outlook Ribbons:

  1. Mail
  2. Calendar
  3. Contacts
  4. Tasks
  5. Notes

Tabs, Groups, and Commands on the Ribbon

The main Outlook Ribbon you will use when working in Outlook is the Mail Ribbon, which contains tabs, groups, and commands related to sending, receiving, and managing your email.

Tabs on the Mail Ribbon

There are four main tabs on the Mail Ribbon:

  1. HOME. The HOME tab contains commands for common tasks including:
    1. Sending and receiving messages.
    2. Deleting messages.
    3. Organizing messages using folders, rules, tags, and filters.
    4. Finding contacts.
  2. SEND/RECEIVE. The SEND/RECEIVE includes commands for:
    1. Viewing the progress of sending and receiving folder items.
    2. Viewing the status of downloads.
    3. Managing issues related to your server.
    4. Working offline.
  3. FOLDER. The FOLDER tab includes commands for managing your email using folders, including:
    1. Creating folders.
    2. Renaming folders.
    3. Deleting folders.
  4. VIEW. The VIEW tab includes commands for:
    1. Customizing the view of your Outlook interface.
    2. Organizing messages by conversation.
    3. Categorizing your email messages.
    4. Changing your Outlook layout.

Mail Ribbon Tabs

In Outlook 2007, the Ribbon appears within only certain areas, such as a new mail message. Outlook 2007 uses the Microsoft Office button for many commands. Microsoft Office Button

Groups on the Mail Ribbon

Related commands in Outlook are organized in groups on each tab. The following table lists the groups found on each Mail Ribbon tab:




  1. New
  2. Delete
  3. Respond
  4. Quick Steps
  5. Move
  6. Tags
  7. Find
  8. Send/Receive
  9. WinZip


  1. Send & Receive
  2. Download
  3. Server
  4. Preferences


  1. New
  2. Actions
  3. Clean Up
  4. Favorites
  5. IMAP
  6. Properties


  1. Current View
  2. Messages
  3. Arrangement
  4. Layout
  5. People Pane
  6. Window

In some groups you will see a button in the lower right corner, next to the group name. This is the Dialog Box Launcher. Opening the group's dialog box will give you access to additional commands associated with that group:

Dialog Box Launcher

Configure Views

You can use the VIEW tab in Outlook to configure Outlook's view to suit your needs.

  1. Use the Current View group to select a view option and reset the view.
  2. The options in the Messages group allow you to show conversations.
  3. In the Arrangement group, you can set how messages display, such as by date or by sender.
  4. Use the Layout group to configure how the various Outlook panes are displayed.
  5. In the People Pane group, you can choose to show the People pane or hide it.
  6. Use the Window group to open a new window or open reminders in a separate window.

Configure View

Commands on the Mail Ribbon

Commands are contained within groups on the Outlook Ribbons. For example, on the Mail Ribbon, on the HOME tab, within the Respond group, you will find options to reply to your messages, including replying to the sender, replying to all, and forwarding a message.

Respond Group Commands

Exploring the Ribbon

Duration: 15 to 25 minutes.

In this exercise, you will explore the Ribbon to answer the following questions.

  1. How many tabs are there?
  2. How many groups are there on the VIEW tab?
  3. Which tab contains the most commonly used groups and commands?
  4. On what tabs are the following groups found?
    1. Clean Up
    2. Server
    3. New
    4. Arrangement
  5. On what tabs and groups are the following commands found?
    1. Reply All
    2. Conversation Settings
    3. Forward
    4. Work Offline
    5. New Folder


If your installation of Microsoft Outlook has been customized, some of your answers may differ.

  1. How many tabs are there? 4
  2. How many groups are there on the VIEW tab? 6
  3. Which tab contains the most commonly used groups and commands? HOME
  4. On what tabs are the following groups found?
    1. Clean Up - FOLDER
    2. Server - SEND/RECEIVE
    3. New - HOME
    4. Arrangement - VIEW
  5. On what tabs and groups are the following commands found?
    1. Reply All - HOME > Respond
    2. Conversation Settings - VIEW > Messages
    3. Forward - HOME > Respond
    4. Work Offline - SEND/RECEIVE > Preferences
    5. New Folder - FOLDER > New

The Backstage View (FILE Menu)

At the upper-left corner of the Ribbon, you will see the FILE menu. This was a feature new to Outlook 2010, so it is not available in versions previous to 2010.FILE Menu Tab Selecting FILE will bring you to the Backstage view, where you can manage your Outlook account, as well as print items, get help, and alter your Outlook settings.

Backstage View

The Info Tab

You can use the Info tab in the Backstage view to:

  1. Manage your account settings.
  2. Clean up your mailbox.
  3. Manage rules and alerts.

Info tab

Set Outlook Options

You can configure Outlook options using the Info tab in Backstage view.

  1. In Info, select Account Settings, and then select Account Settings again. Account Settings
  2. On the E-mail tab, double-click an email account to set options. E-mail Tab
  3. In the Change Account dialog box, you can change your user name, change your password, and so on. Change Account Dialog Box

The Open & Export Tab

The Open & Export tab contains options to (this is the Open tab in Outlook 2010):

  1. Open calendar and data files.
  2. Import and export files, settings, and RSS feeds into Outlook.
  3. Open a folder shared by another user.

Open & Export Tab

The Save As Tab

Use the Save As tab to open the Save As dialog box, to save a file.

Save As Tab

The Print Tab

Use the Print tab to:

  1. Select a printer and print options
  2. Set print options.
  3. Set print settings.
  4. Preview the item you are printing.

Print Tab

Please note that there is no FILE menu or Backstage view in Outlook 2007.

Office Account

Click Office Account to log in to your Skydrive account and see a list of connected services. This tab is new to Outlook 2013.

Office Account Tab


Clicking Options in the Backstage view launches the Outlook Options dialog box. You can use this dialog box to customize Outlook, including:

  1. Setting mail options.
  2. Setting calendar options.
  3. Setting language preferences.
  4. Managing add-ins.
  5. Personalizing your copy of Office.


Exploring the Backstage View

Duration: 15 to 25 minutes.

In this exercise, you will use the Outlook Backstage view to perform some tasks in Outlook 2013.

  1. View the printer information.
  2. Customize your Outlook environment by specifying your name and initials.


  1. To view printer information:
    1. Enter the Backstage view by selecting the FILE tab.
    2. Select Print. Print Option
    3. Look at the Printer section to see the printer that is configured with Outlook. Printer Section
  2. To customize your Outlook environment by specifying your name and initials:
    1. Return to the Backstage view, and select Options. Options
    2. In the Outlook Options dialog box, on the General tab, in the Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office section, enter or confirm your name and initials. Outlook Options Dialog Box
    3. Click OK to save your changes.