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Five most-useful Outlook.com featuresSharon Vaknin shows you what to expect as you transition to Outlook.com, whether your Hotmail account is out-of-date or you're just taking a break from Gmail.
Good ole hotmail is now Outlook.com and it's a pretty competitive alternative to Gmail. If you were forced to switch over or are just diving into this new inbox, you only need to get familiar with some of the Outlook's unique features. Here are the 5 most useful outlook.com features and some tips on how to use them. First up is Instant Actions. When you mouse over an e-mail in your inbox, a few little icons will show up. They're like shortcuts. It will let you quickly delete a message, mark it out as in red or flag it. The best part is that you customize these actions. Just go to Settings, More Setting and select Instant Actions. Here's where you create your new actions. Click Add Actions and choose the type of action you wanna add. Also like to categorize, define the category and it gives a shortcut of color. Now, hit Save. And back in My Inbox, you'll see that the shortcut is now available as an Instant Action. Now, I can easily categorize the messages as needed. The second feature to check out is Keyboard Shortcuts. By default, Outlook comes with its own keyboard shortcuts. But if you just move from Yahoo or Gmail, you can use the shortcuts your already familiar with. Just go to Settings, Keyboard Shortcuts and select the set of shortcuts you wanna use. There you go. I just saved you some memorizing. Next, check out Rules. Like Gmail, you can create rules or filters that automatically organize e-mails when you receive them. So for example, you can set up Outlook to automatically categorize e-mails with attachments or automatically delete messages from Facebook. In settings, go to rules for sorting new messages. Here is where you create the filters. Just click New and follow the steps. First, you define a trigger like a sender. Then, you define the action like adding those e-mails to a category or deleting them all together. For people like me who are obsessed with organizing, this feature will do wonders. Here's another one you might have missed. You can send files up to 300 megabytes with outlook.com using the power of SkyDrive. Here's how it works. When you try to attach a file that's larger than 25 megabytes, you'll get this warning. Below it, you have the option to send the attachment using SkyDrive. Click it and the file will be uploaded to your drive. The recipient will get a link in the e-mail to download the file. Just don't forget to delete the file from your SkyDrive later. And finally, Scheduled Cleanups. So when you're viewing an e-mail, you'll see a Sweep Option in the command bar at the top. The feature lets you move or delete messages from a specific sender in one fell swoop. But if you select the scheduled cleanup, you'll be able to plan moves or deletions ahead of time. And you can always change the scheduled cleanups by selecting Manage Rules. So, those are the 5 best features on the new Outlook.com. But, if you have any other cool ones worth sharing, hit me up on Twitter. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin.