Using Only Keyboard Shortcuts to Send Email

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Keyboard shortcuts are one of the best ways of getting things done when using Outlook. Keeping your hands on the keyboard and hitting various key combinations is much faster than using the mouse to accomplish the same tasks.

Throughout this site and on the pages of my books I've shown you keyboard shortcuts that replace various mouse actions (and of course I teach many of those same shortcuts in my online classes too). Here we put it all together in a set of steps for sending Outlook email messages without touching the mouse.

NOTE: The original idea for this page and the basic steps for the Outlook 2003-style shortcuts came from the Cranking Widgets blog, by way of Lifehacker.com
To send email using only the keyboard (assuming Outlook is running), follow these steps:

  1. Get into Outlook using the ALT+TAB shortcut if you are not already there.

  2. Open a new email message window. If you are in a Mail view, use CTRL+N. If you are in any other view, use CTRL+SHIFT+M.

  3. The cursor is in the To field. Type the name of the first person you want to send the message to. If Outlook offers you a menu of choices as you type, you can use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through this list, then press ENTER to select that person.

  4. If you want to add more people to the To field, type a semi-colon (;), a space, then the next person. Press TAB when you're done with the To field.

  5. Fill in the Cc and Subject fields the same way you did the To field, pressing TAB to move to the next field each time. Pressing TAB in the Subject field puts the cursor in the body of the message.

  6. Type your message normally.

  7. To check the spelling of your message, press the F7 key. For Outlook 2007, you can also use the ALT, H, S keyboard shortcut, but the old-style F7 is a lot faster.

  8. Press CTRL+ENTER to send the message. If you are using Outlook 2007, you may see a dialog box asking if you want to use CTRL+ENTER as a keyboard shortcut for sending a message.


  9. CTRL+ENTER dialog box



    Tell Outlook 2007 to use this shortcut.

  10. Press P to tell Outlook not to show you this dialog box again, then press Y to tell it you want to use CTRL+ENTER as a shortcut for sending a message from now on.

That's all it takes to send email without touching the mouse. If you're like me, it will take you some practice to get consistent with this way of doing things, but once you do, you'll get this most common of Outlook tasks done with less effort. Over the course of your day, the savings will definitely add up.


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When You Have More Than One Email Account in Outlook

The steps shown above work well for most people, but they don't address the issue of what to do when you have multiple email accounts and you want to choose which one you will use to send the message. For most Outlook users this isn't a problem, since they only have one account.

However, if you need to be able to choose among multiple accounts when sending messages, I suggest you follow this modified process instead (the new step is italicized):

  1. Get into Outlook using the ALT+TAB shortcut if you are not already there.

  2. Open a new email message window. If you are in a Mail view, use CTRL+N. If you are in any other view, use CTRL+SHIFT+M.

  3. The cursor is in the To field. Type the name of the first person you want to send the message to. If Outlook offers you a menu of choices as you type, you can use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through this list, then press ENTER to select that person.

  4. If you want to add more people to the To field, type a semi-colon (;), a space, then the next person. Press TAB when you're done with the To field.

  5. Fill in the Cc and Subject fields the same way you did the To field, pressing TAB to move to the next field each time. Pressing TAB in the Subject field puts the cursor in the body of the message.

  6. Press the ALT+A keyboard shortcut. This displays a list of your email accounts, using whatever names you assigned them when you created them. The list appears below the Account button, which is to the left of the Subject field. Select the account you wish to use by pressing the number key that corresponds to the underlined number next to the account name.

  7. Type your message normally.

  8. To check the spelling of your message, press the F7 key. For Outlook 2007, you can also use the ALT, H, S keyboard shortcut, but the old-style F7 is a lot faster.

  9. Press CTRL+ENTER to send the message. If you are using Outlook 2007, you may see a dialog box asking if you want to use CTRL+ENTER as a keyboard shortcut for sending a message.

  10. Press P to tell Outlook not to show you this dialog box again, then press Y to tell it you want to use CTRL+ENTER as a shortcut for sending a message from now on.


Any Thoughts on Using Only the Keyboard to Send Mail?

Did you find this page useful? Is there anything else we should talk about when it comes to sending mail using only the keyboard? Let me know!

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What Others Say About Sending Mail with Only the Keyboard

Click below to see comments from other visitors to this page...

This is great but what I need is how to attach an email to a new email 
This is really a simple keystrokes approach but how about attaching an email or calendar snapshots in a new email? - - - - - - - - - - - Rolly, …

Ctrl + ____ Not rated yet
Ctrl + F With bring you to a porno site :) --------------------------- If pressing CTRL + F takes you to a porno site, your computer is infected …

Highlighting portions of your email Not rated yet
Is it possible to use a shortcut to highlight a portion of your email? Would you please email me an answer if you have the time? jemahon@comcast.net …

Coool Not rated yet
Good

Great info, I'm so glad I found you Not rated yet
Thanks, this is wonderful. I'm off on a hunt to get Word to let me "save as" - - - - - - Barbara, I'm glad you found your way here too. Have …

outllook short cuts Not rated yet
great tips..helps to be faster... thanks

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