November is fast approaching, and we will soon be headed to the polls. But national elections aren’t the only place where delegates are chosen. Those of you using Microsoft’s Outlook can also choose delegates who can represent you during vacation and other time away from the office. If you’ve never chosen an Outlook delegate, here’s how.

Choosing delegates is easy
A delegate is a person whom you’ve given permission to access your Outlook folders. For obvious reasons, your delegate must also be using Outlook on an Exchange server. Delegates can be granted complete control over your Calendar, Journal, Notes, Tasks, Contacts Inbox—in short, over any Outlook function.

To appoint a delegate, from the Outlook bar choose Tools | Options. In the Options dialog box, click the Delegates tab. If this is the first time you’ve used this option, the Delegates box will be blank. (This is where Outlook will list the delegates you choose.) Also, only the Add button will be enabled. As you add delegates or if you have previously chosen delegates, they will appear in the Delegates box.

Begin by clicking Add. A new window pops up, asking for a name. This window is similar to the one you use to select names for sending e-mails. Simply search for the individual, and then either double-click on the name or select the name and click Add. You may be in a large corporation where the address book lists several names similar to the one you’re looking for. To help discern who’s who, you can select the name and click the Properties button to open a dialog box that contains additional information, such as the person’s address and phone number. You can also use the Find button to open a search window that allows you to search by address, phone, title, company, and so forth.

Assigning permissions
Once you’ve chosen your delegate, click OK. When the Delegate Permissions dialog box opens, you’ll see a list of Outlook features. These are the features that you can grant your delegate permissions to. If you’ve chosen several delegates, Multiple Delegates appears in the title bar and your permissions will be applied to all delegates. If different people are handling different areas, you’ll need to edit each one separately. To do this, click OK to return to the Delegates dialog box. Then, select a delegate and click Permissions. Now when you choose permissions, your choices will affect only the person you selected.

The Delegate Permissions dialog box lists six Outlook features, along with drop-down menus for choosing the permission level for each feature. Delegates can be granted one of four levels: No Access, Reviewer, Author, or Editor. No Access is self-explanatory. Reviewer access gives the delegate read permission only. Author access gives the delegate the right to read and create items. Editor access adds the ability to modify items. All permissions are set to No Access by default. Simply click the drop-down menu and choose the appropriate permission for the features you’re granting your delegate access to.

Delegating meetings
Below the Calendar option, you’ll also notice the check box Delegate Receives Copies Of Meeting-Related Messages Sent To Me. This option becomes available when you grant Editor permission over your Calendar folder. Enable this option if you want Outlook to copy meeting requests to that delegate’s Inbox. It’s a nice feature, bypassing the need for your delegate to open your Calendar and Inbox folders constantly to check for meeting requests. In addition to this option, you can select Send Meeting Requests And Responses Only To My Delegates, Not To Me. This choice keeps your Inbox from becoming cluttered with all the meeting responses in your absence.

Informing delegates
At the bottom of the Delegate Permissions dialog box is the option to send your delegate an e-mail summarizing permissions granted. This option is enabled by default. If you don’t need to inform your delegates of changes, deselect the check box. When you’ve finished creating permissions, click OK. Outlook will return you to the Delegates tab in the Options dialog box. Click OK again to return to Outlook.

Removing delegates
When the time comes to remove a delegate from your list, go back to the Delegates tab in the Option dialog box, select the delegate, and click Remove. This deletion will not be confirmed. Once you click the Remove button, the delegate is gone.

The ability to allow others access to your Outlook folders is just another way Outlook makes it easier for you to get out of the office and relax. You can grant permissions for one person to handle all Outlook features or just one feature. You can also have your delegate send messages in your name. No more carrying the ol’ laptop with you and worrying about whether you will get that connection back into work. Choose your delegates wisely and add that needed vacation time to your Outlook’s Calendar!

Paul Suiter received his first taste of the deadline rush as a photographer for the Montgomery Advertiser, where he earned four photography awards. After receiving degrees in economics and business management from Auburn University, Paul entered the college book business. After managing two bookstores for three years, Paul became a business analyst for EDS. Four years later, Paul continues with EDS, taking its equipment apart, while working with G3 switches and advanced imaging programs. But he’s finally getting back to one of his favorite pastimes—writing. (Of course, he also enjoys spending time with his wife and son.)

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