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MS Outlook: Navigating Your Inbox Without the Mouse

Many people strive to free themselves from anything to do with the mouse… all the changing hand positions (keyboard, mouse, keyboard, mouse) gets a bit tiresome, and it definitely takes more time to complete tasks than it would if we just knew how to avoid the mouse.

Today I’ve got a few pieces of information that will help you navigate your message lists more efficiently.

We’ve all found that the up and down arrows will move your selection from one message to the next, and we’ve previously discussed used the Space Bar to read messages in the Reading Pane…

You’ve got to wonder… what else can we do without the mouse?

Well, quite a bit actually.

First, let’s talk about the left and right arrow keys.

These handy little gems will collapse (left arrow key):


…and expand (right arrow key):


…a list of messages that are grouped together.

Collapsed groups will clean up the list so that you’re not looking at every single message from any group that’s visible on the screen and obviously expanding the group allows you access to the individual messages.

Additionally, you can move up one visible screen through the message list with the Page Up key and conversely one visible screen down with the Page Down key.

If you combine Shift with either the Page Up or Page Down buttons, then you’ll be able to select multiple consecutive messages very quickly.

I also found that the Tab key would cycle through the different displayed panes… Inbox, Reading Pane, Task List, Folder List & Search Bar.

While I’m sure there are more, give these a try and see if you can’t make your work in Outlook a little easier.

~ April