outlook frustrations
January 9, 2008 12:01 PM   Subscribe

outlook 2007 easy question: How do I switch to outlook using the keyboard only, if its minimized in my system tray?

sounds crazy, but googling the usual "outlook shortcuts" pages did not indicate any keyboard shortcut for this. Is it possible to do from the keyboard-only? Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
posted by jak68 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Whenever Outlook's in my system tray, it's always also in my taskbar. And Alt-Tab can be used to switch between items in the taskbar.
posted by box at 12:04 PM on January 9, 2008

Alt + Tab
posted by desjardins at 12:06 PM on January 9, 2008

When you have "Hide When Minimized" checked, Outlook does not appear in the taskbar when minimized to the system tray; therefore Alt-Tab will not work.

But I don't have an answer for you either jak68. I've wondered the same thing. The only thing I can think of is to uncheck the Hide When Minimized option, and use Alt-Tab as suggested.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 12:35 PM on January 9, 2008

When it's minimized to the system tray, this should work (at least it does for me in XP):

-- Hit the windows key (or ctrl-esc)
-- Hit escape
-- Hit tab 3 times (this number may vary; hit it until the system tray is selected
-- Use the right arrow to move to Outlook, and hit enter.
-- If your system tray automatically minimizes, then to expand it select the expansion arrow and hit space
posted by inigo2 at 12:39 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

It won't show up anywhere when you are using Hide When Minimized. But you can get around that by creating a new shortcut to outlook on your desktop.

  • Right click on your desktop
  • Add a shortcut to "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" (or whatever version you're using)
  • Click 'FINISH'
  • Right click on the new shortcut, click on the "Shortcut Key:" text box
  • Press the keys you want to use (eg: CTRL + SHIFT + O)
  • Click 'OK'

    Now you will be able to switch to Outlook at any time by using your Shortcut Key combination. You just need to make sure you minimize it between Shortcut-key presses, or you'll get multiple copies in your task-bar.

  • posted by blue_beetle at 1:03 PM on January 9, 2008

    inigo2's advice is good. You might also find it helpful to know that you can use shift-F10 or the menu key to the right of the space bar to get to the context menu of a taskbar item you have selected using his method.

    If you have memory to spare on a bloated .NET utility you could try using my program Type to Click which was partly developed to make keyboard access to fiddly things like this a bit easier.
    posted by teleskiving at 1:27 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

    if outlook is your default mail client, you could try this:
    * hit the windows key (this would show the start menu)
    * hit the down arrow key twice (it should select outlook )
    * hit enter

    Hope this helps
    posted by motdiem2 at 2:54 PM on January 9, 2008

    I don't know if you're using xp or vista, but if it's vista you can hit the windows key and type outlook on your keyboard. then hit enter and it should open.
    posted by shmegegge at 3:17 PM on January 9, 2008

    give tapping Alt+Esc a try, to see if it'll cycle up.
    posted by Four Flavors at 7:56 PM on January 9, 2008

    Response by poster: thanks for the ideas everyone.

    Inigo's advice would work for winXP (I do have outlook minimizing/hiding and I'd rather not have it on the taskbar all the time), tho seems a bit lengthy with all those keys to hit.

    Shmegegge's advice is easier but only works on vista -- basically what happens there is you're just launching outlook from the keyboard, and even if its already open in the systemtray, since it runs "single instance", it'll just 'maximize itself'. However, Shmegegge's advice only works in vista where you can hit the windows key and type in the name of the program. I have winXP.

    So basically I adopted Shmegegge's method for winXP using autohotkey (autohotkey.com). I now have an autohotkey keyboard shortcut that launches ("runs") outlook.exe, so even if its in the system tray it now just 'maximizes itself' when i hit that hotkey.

    lovely. ;)

    thanks for the ideas.
    posted by jak68 at 9:30 PM on January 10, 2008

    However, Shmegegge's advice only works in vista where you can hit the windows key and type in the name of the program. I have winXP.

    Note on XP you can hit Windows key + "R", and that'll bring up the run dialog, where you can type in Outlook. If you wanted to avoid the autohotkey thing.
    posted by inigo2 at 11:33 AM on January 11, 2008

    Response by poster: hi inigo2 -- i didnt realize win+r works in winxp too (tho for some reason its not working on my system). If that works, then thats an option too (assuming typing "outlook" without bothering with the path etc does indeed launch outlook). With autohotkey, you get the additional advantage of a true (and programmable) hotkey for it.
    Good to know there are some options either way ;)
    posted by jak68 at 3:55 PM on January 11, 2008

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