Place reminders in your line of sight— Let Outlook’s Notes keep you on track


by Julie Duncan

Application: Microsoft Outlook 2016

Operating System: Microsoft Windows

Do you place sticky notes all over your computer screen and workspace? Though notes scrawled on paper can serve an important purpose in helping us remember crucial bits of information, they aren’t easy to transport, transfer, edit, or organize. Fortunately, Outlook allows you to place electronic Notes on your desktop, share them with others, and revise and categorize them as you see fit.

To get the most from Notes in Outlook, we’ll:

  • Type important information in a Note.
  • Instantly create a Note using text from another application.
  • Place a Note on your computer’s desktop for easy reference.
  • Share Notes with others.
  • Add a desktop shortcut so you can create new Notes without opening Outlook.

Paper sticky notes are convenient—until you misplace one. There’s no record of that note anywhere else. Plus, it isn’t easy to transfer information from a piece of paper to someone else, unless you like duplicating your efforts. Harness the power of Outlook’s Notes and keep important information prominently displayed without fear of losing it, as shown in Figure A. Electronic-based notes are easy to share, categorize, and duplicate as well.

Setting up a Note is just a matter of finding the right place in Outlook and learning the main steps. We’ll take you through the process and offer a few options for maximizing your usage of these handy Notes.



Notes in Outlook provide a useful electronic alternative to traditional, paper sticky notes.

Create a new Note

First, we’ll show you how to create a simple Note in Outlook.

To create a Note:

  1. Open Outlook and click on Notes in the Folder Pane. You may need to click on the More button and then choose Notes from the resulting menu, as shown in Figure B.
  2. On the Home tab, in the New area, click on New Note.
  3. Type your reminder in the Note, as shown in Figure A.

Now that you’ve created your first Note, you can leave it open on the desktop while you continue working, or you can close it. Outlook automatically saves a copy of the Note in your My Notes folder, as shown in Figure C.



Open your Notes folder to create a new Note.



Outlook saves each Note in your My Notes folder.

Use text from another application to create a Note instantly

We are all about productivity, so here’s a great trick! Say a memo from your boss outlines a bulleted list of projects you need to complete. You can make a Note from that bulleted list in an instant, rather than taking the time to retype it. This shortcut works for other Office applications such as Word and PowerPoint, and you can even take the content of an email. We’ll show you how.

To create a Note from text in another application:

  1. Open the document containing the text for your Note.
  2. Select the text you want to use.
  3. Drag your selection to the My Notes folder in Outlook.

The new Note instantly appears onscreen. You can adjust the Note’s text if needed.

Categorize your Notes

Once you’ve created several Notes, you can keep them organized by categorizing them. Outlook will assign a color for each category. Simply right-click on a No[...]

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