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Webucator's Free Introduction to Microsoft Outlook Tutorial

Lesson: The Outlook 2019 Interface

Welcome to our free Introduction to Microsoft Outlook tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Introduction to Microsoft Outlook 2019 course.

Microsoft Outlook 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

  • Become familiar with 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 newer feature of Outlook (introduced in Outlook 2016), and it allows you to quickly preview the different Outlook elements by hovering your mouse over each element.

More Features of the Outlook Interface

Newer versions of Outlook introduced some new features to the interface:

You can quickly view all or only unread messages in your message list.

Unread Message Feature

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

Preview of Messages

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


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 five 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.
  5. Help. The Help tab includes commands for:
    1. Getting help.
    2. Contacting Microsoft Support.
    3. Suggesting a feature.
    4. Showing training options.
    5. Using support tools.
    6. Using diagnostic tools.

Mail Ribbon Tabs

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. Speech
  9. Send/Receive


  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. Window


  1. Help
  2. Tools

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

Tell Me

In Outlook 2016 and 2019, the Ribbon contains the text "Tell me what you want to do..."

Tell Me Feature

If you click this text, it becomes a text box where you can enter text to search on to quickly perform actions. Just clicking the box pops up some possible ideas.

Text in Box

For example, "Show calendar" brings up options related to viewing your Outlook calendar.

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. 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.

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? 5
  2. How many groups are there on the View tab? Usually 6, but the ribbon is customizable, so your answer might be a little different.
  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. 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 Command
  2. On the E-mail tab, double-click an email account to set options. Account Settings Dialog Box
  3. In the Change Account dialog box, you can change your user name, change your password, and so on. Account Settings 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 and Export Tab

The Save As Tab

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

Save As Dialog Box

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

Office Account

Click Office Account to log in to your OneDrive (formerly called SkyDrive) account and see a list of connected services. This tab was 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.

Outlook Options Dialog Box

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 2019.

  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 Command
    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 Command
    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. Personalize Office
    3. Click OK to save your changes.