The Best and Most Useful MS Outlook Keyboard Shortcuts

Our fetish for keyboard shortcuts isn’t new and longtime readers would know what we are talking about. And frankly, we don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t obsess with them. After all, Guiding Tech’s aim is to make the everyday computer user better and more productive at what he does, and keyboard shortcuts offer a great way to speed up tasks.

So, continuing the series of keyboard shortcut posts, today we have my favorite email client – MS Outlook. Believe me, if you master them, you will love the mailing activity.

Outlook Keyboard Shortcuts

Lets see which are the best and most useful keyboard shortcuts for MS Outlook.

Go to Mails, Contacts, Calendar etc

The Navigation Pane has tabs for Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, Folder Lists and Shortcuts etc. The best way to switch among these elements is to use a number with the Ctrl key. For example Ctrl + 1 will open Mails, Ctrl + 2 will open Calendar and so on. It depends on the order of placement.

Elements Of Navigation Pane

Creating New Items

Ctrl + N is almost synonymous with ‘create new items’. On Outlook doing that will create a new item for the feature you are accessing currently. For example, if you are on the Mails interface Ctrl + N creates a new email, if you are on Tasks interface Ctrl + N creates a new task and so on.

Here are the shortcuts for creating new items from anywhere on Outlook:-

Ctrl + Shift + MCompose New Message
Ctrl + Shift + ANew Appointment
Ctrl + Shift + QCreate Meeting Request
Ctrl + Shift + CAdd New Contact
Ctrl + Shift + KPile up a New Task
Ctrl + Shift + LCreate a Distribution List
Ctrl + Shift + ECreate a New Folder
Ctrl + Shift + PCreate New Search Folder
Ctrl + Shift + URequest for a Task
Ctrl + Shift + JMake a Journal Entry
Ctrl + Shift + NAdd New Note
Ctrl + Shift + XSend Internet Fax

Responding to Messages

You should be familiar with the actions associated with Reply, Reply to All and Forward. How about the keyboard shortcuts?

Reply Forward
  • Ctrl + R: Reply
  • Ctrl + Shift + R: Reply to All
  • Ctrl + F: Forward an Email
  • Ctrl + Alt + F: Forward Email as Attachment

Change Calendar View

The calendar interface lets you see details for a day, work week (5 days), week (7 days) and a month. The easy way to toggle them is Ctrl + Alt + [1, 2, 3, 4] respectively.

Calendar View

Alt + [Arrow Up, Arrow Down] takes you one day up and one day down in the calendar.

Mark Messages

It is a good practice to mark messages that you have already read or those which you would like to read later. Use the keys Ctrl + U or Ctrl +Q respectively.

Move Mails to Folder

Do not have folder rules defined for emails? Yet, if you have folders created and use the drag and drop method to move messages, try hitting Ctrl + Shift + V.

Move To Folder

Turn Off Elements

Recently we told you how to customize the different panes in Outlook. Alt + F1 and Alt + F2 are quick ways to turn off Navigation Pane and To-Do Bar.


Some more that we could not group under a common heading but are quite useful:-

  • Ctrl + Shift + B: Launch the Address Book
  • Ctrl + K: A quick way to complete a sender address or find one which adding receivers.
  • Ctrl + E: Takes mouse focus to search box
  • F9: refresh Send and Receive for all items.
  • F1: Launch the help menu.
  • Use the Spacebar to read messages quickly.


There are many more combinations but we have listed the most common and most useful ones. If you feel we have missed something let us know in the comments section.

If you are not satisfied with our list, consider taking these free trainings from Microsoft:-

We don’t expect you to remember all the shortcuts at once, so don’t forget to bookmark this post and come back to it frequently till the time you have memorized most of the shortcuts.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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