On my desktop, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 remains open for days, even weeks at a time. But some users close and re-open Outlook many times a day, or at the very least they close it once at the end of the day when they log off. In the morning, those users may have a preference as to which folder is opened first when they launch Outlook. Whether you launch Outlook from the Start Menu, a desktop shortcut, or the quick launch menu, Outlook opens to a default folder. This is typically the Inbox, where users spend most of their time in Outlook. However, you can choose to have Outlook open to a different folder.

For purposes of this tip I’ll change the folder Outlook opens when it’s launched to the To-Do List. By opening the To-Do List first users can review their tasks before moving on to the messages in their Inbox. Choosing to open Outlook to the To-Do List makes sense for workers who don’t use email, but need access to tasks.

To make this change from within Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 go to Tools, Options, and select the Other tab. Then click the Advanced button under the General section. In the Advanced Options window, there is a Browse button for the option Start in this folder.

This is the same setting in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003; however, Outlook 2007 adds the option to open to the To-Do List as shown in Figure 1. After selecting the To-Do List, restart Outlook (ensuring the outlook.exe process terminates). It will open to your To-Do List as reflected in Figure 2. For some, this may be a better place to start the day. The To-Do List is really a view of the Task folder. The To-Do List can be shown in the To-Do Bar. in Outlook 2007, for a limited number of tasks. For information on customizing the To-Do Bar, see my article, “How do I configure views in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007’s To-Do Bar using either menu commands or the registry,” InstantDoc ID 98436.

You can have Outlook start in any folder in the folder list, including user-created folders or sub-folders. For Outlook 2002 or earlier, you create a new shortcut to outlook.exe with the /select startup switch. For example, to start Office Outlook 2002 or earlier in the Calendar folder, you would create a new shortcut with the following:

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\Outlook.exe” /select outlook:Calendar