Office challenge: What's the quickest way to select a date that's not currently showing in Outlook's Date Navigator?

This week, learn the solution to last week's Outlook challenge, and try your skills at another Outlook quiz.

While we're discussing Outlook, how would you suggest users select a date that's not currently showing? There's more than one way of course, but think of the quickest route possible.

Last week we asked…

How can you select a custom Calendar view in Outlook? Jbenton answered correctly: In Calendar view, drag over the desired dates in the Date Navigator. The Calendar view will update accordingly. This is a handy feature for reviewing a specific period, whether it spans just a few days or a few months.

The Date Navigator is the small calendar, in the top-left or right corner (probably). If you can't find it, someone has probably turned off the Navigation Pane. In Outlook 2007 and 2010, it's a simple matter to turn it back on. In Calendar view, click the View tab. In the Layout group, click Navigation Pane | Off (if Off is checked). In Outlook 2003, choose Navigation Pane from the View menu.

As usual, there are a few more tricks to share. First, to select more than one day, simply drag the mouse over the days in question, as suggested by Jbenton. This method is the most flexible as it allows you to select up to the last few days of the previous month, the entire current month, and the first few days of the next month. In other words, you can select every date showing on the Date Navigator.

This next trick lets you select a period in another month—before you get to that month. Select the dates in the current month. Then, click the appropriate arrow (circled in the figure above) to display the next or previous month. The Date Navigator will automatically select the same dates that you selected before moving to the next month. This particular shortcut is helpful if you want to view the same period in several months because ou select the days only once.

To display non-consecutive days, click a day, hold down the [Ctrl] key and click away. As long as you hold down the [Ctrl] key while clicking, Outlook adds each day to the Calendar view. You don't have to use the Date Navigator. Hold down the [Alt] key and press any key between 1 and 9, and Outlook will display that number of days from the current day in Calendar view. (I've never discovered a way to select previous days.) Please share your favorite shortcuts for displaying a custom period in Calendar view.

By Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.