Advanced tips for Outlook to create distribution lists, print portions of emails and share calendars

By Zach Bickel, Esq.

Although the newest smartphone apps and the latest gadgets, such as the iPad, can boost productivity, lawyers should also review the technology they already have in place to see whether there are features they’ve been missing.

In the March article “Microsoft Outlook in the Law Firm: Three Oft-Overlooked Productivity Tips,” Kansas City lawyer Zach Bickel of The Robertson Group explained how to filter emails, automatically copy sent messages and issue meeting invites. This week, Bickel shares three more tips that will help you get the most from Outlook.

Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

How to Create Outlook Distribution Lists

Advanced Outlook tips part 2

Lawyers are not courtroom robots. We have lives outside our offices, our clients and the courts. Often lawyers are civic leaders in their communities or involved in myriad professional and lay organizations. Lawyers need to communicate with many groups of people on important events and meetings, often at one time in mass email. Adding a person’s email address individually to the mailing list for a mass email can be tedious and time consuming and may also result in the inadvertent sending of emails to unintended recipients. Save your time and always be sure of your recipients by creating distribution lists. (Editor’s note: This can be done in Outlook 2010, 2007 and 2003.)

To create a distribution list, select File, then New, then Distribution List from the menu. Alternatively, hit Ctrl-Shift-L. Type the desired name under Name. The list name is what you will use to address messages to your organization. In this case we will call it Missouri Bar Leadership Academy.

Create a distribution list in Outlook

Now add new members to your distribution list, using the Add New and Select Members buttons.

Distribution list in Outlook

Click Save and Close. When you go to generate an email, type in the first few letters of your distribution list name and it should automatically add it to the To: field. Type your email and send away.

How to Print Portions of Your Email in Outlook

Printing in Outlook

Outlook will automatically print an entire email when you press the Print icon on your Outlook toolbar. It can be annoying when an email chain is 10 pages long, and it is not at all “green.” If you have Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2003, you can fix the problem and only print relevant parts of an email. (Editor’s note: Outlook 2007 users who did not download Service Pack 2 will not be able to use this option.)

Simply go to File, then Print (or you can press Ctrl-P). A window will appear with print options; in the box marked Print within that window, click on the radio button marked Page Range.

Type in any number page range you wish, and click OK, and only your selected pages will print. It’s very useful for adding what you need, not what you have, to your paper files.

Sharing Your Outlook Calendar

In virtually all law offices, big or small, there will be at least one other person who needs access to your calendar. This is an important fail-safe in law practice –if you don’t see your calendar reminder pop up for your 1 p.m. court hearing, someone else will. It could make a great deal of difference not only in your client’s case but also in your malpractice insurance premiums.

If your law firm has Microsoft Exchange, you can share your Outlook Calendar without emailing it or posting it online.

To share calendars with other users in Outlook who are also using Microsoft Exchange, click Calendar on the left side of the window. Click File and then Folder, then select Share My Calendar.

Sharing calendars in Outlook

A new window appears. In the To section, enter the last name of the person with whom you wish to share your calendar. Repeat this step to add additional people. Click OK.

To request permission to see the calendar of the person with whom you are sharing your own, put a checkmark in the box labeled Request Permission to View Recipient’s Calendar. Once you are sharing, you may from time to time wish to add an event to your calendar that you want to remain private, for just your eyes. For privacy, simply right-click on the calendared event and select Private from the window. You will see a small lock icon appear in the far right section of the calendared event, indicating that this event is now only viewable by you, only on your calendar.

There are many more organizational and productivity-boosting uses of Outlook for lawyers. Do you have a favorite Outlook tip? Let us know.

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