Step-By-Step: Setting preferences in the Tools menu

Set preferences in Lotus Notes Tools menu

Teaching users how to take full advantage of Lotus Notes mail can be a chore. One way to accelerate the process is allowing them to add personal touches to their mail database. Lotus Notes offers plenty of customization options in addition to folders, and these simple instructions will have your users using these features in minutes. One particular feature is mail preferences, so let's take a closer look how users can use preferences in their own mail files.

The right tool for the job
A standard part of any Lotus Notes Inbox is the Tools menu button shown in Figure A.

Figure A
Lotus Notes Tools menu

The Tools menu provides access to five Inbox features:
  • Preferences
  • Archive Settings
  • Mark/Unmark Document As Expired
  • Add Send To Address Book
  • New Memo—Using Stationary

The user decides
The Preferences selection from Figure A allows a user to establish the colors and stationary used as well as delegating another user to access their mail. Figure B shows the Mail tab of the Mail Preferences window that opens when Preferences is selected.

Figure B
Lotus Notes mail preferences

In addition, Figure C shows the Preferences window open to the Calendar & To Do tab and Figure D the Access & Delegation tab.

Figure C
Lotus Notes Calendar & To Do preferences

Figure D
Lotus Notes Access & Delegation options

The mail options available in Figure B allow the user to define the following aspects of their mail file:
  • Mail file owner
  • Security options
  • Enabled/disable automatic trash removal
  • Standard letterhead used for mail memos (only applicable for Lotus Notes mail)
  • Mail signature (text/graphic placed at bottom of all mail messages)
  • Colors used in mail messages

Specifying these options allows a user to easily personalize and customize their mail file. As an added benefit, users become more knowledgeable of their mail system.

The Calendar & To Do settings allow a user to personalize the setup and appearance of their calendar and to do lists. You may define the following areas for calendar and to do views:
  • Default document time for calendar entry (meeting, appointment, event, anniversary, reminder)
  • Default appointment duration
  • Anniversary repeat occurrence (every x number of years)
  • Beginning of work day
  • End of work day
  • Days to display on calendar
  • Start of work week
  • Default time zone
  • Available meeting time and days
  • Colors used in calendar entries

The Access & Delegation selection displayed in Figure D allows a user to signal what users, if any, may read their e-mail or process calendar entries. This may allow a busy executive to delegate authority to their assistant to work with their calendar and mail messages.

A signature item
As an example of establishing a Lotus Notes mail preference, I've set my mail message signature in Figure E. Notice the option to automatically include this signature in each new message is selected.

Figure E
Establishing mail message signature

Figure F displays a new memo created; notice the signature placed at the bottom of the message.

Figure F
Mail message signature in action

If a user decides against the automatic placement of the signature in all new messages, then a signature may be inserted when a new memo is composed. This is available from the Tools menu as shown in Figure G.

Figure G
Inserting signature when composing message

The results of choosing to insert a signature are shown in Figure H. This allows you to choose a predefined signature from your preferences or load something from a local drive.

Figure H
The personal choice of letterhead

Using letterhead adds flare to an e-mail message, but it is only supported on Lotus Notes mail systems. That is, the letterhead is lost when communicating outside your Lotus Notes mail network, for example, when communicating with Internet e-mail users. With that said, you may choose your default letterhead from a predetermined list (see Figure I). Once chosen, it is inserted into all newly composed messages.

Figure I
Choosing the default mail letterhead

Make your own hours
Keeping track of your schedule is an arduous task, and every user is different. For example, I have one friend that strolls into the office at 9 A.M. everyday and another that is always in the office by 7:30 A.M. Lotus Notes Calendar preferences allow each user to establish their calendar setup. This includes the start and end times for their work days as well as what days they work and so forth. Figure J shows my calendar setup to begin at 9:30 A.M. and end at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday through Saturday.

Figure J
Customize your schedule

What do you prefer?
Lotus Notes mail provides plenty of tools to help your users through their day. This includes e-mail, calendars, and to-do lists. The ability to customize each of these items is readily available via preferences available in the toolbox. Teaching users how to customize their mail file places power in their hands and incentive to dig around and become more familiar with Lotus Notes.

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