Hate Microsoft Outlook? How to fix top annoyances

Microsoft Outlook is big, slow and quirky. Here's how to make it work better for you.

There is a way to use HTML for your messages and turn off smart quotes at the same time. Select Tools -- Options, click the Mail Format tab, and click the Editor Options button. Click Proofing, select AutoCorrect Options, and then click the AutoFormat as You Type tab. Uncheck the boxes next to "Straight quotes" with "smart quotes," "Ordinals (1st) with superscript," and "Hypens with dash." Click OK, and keep clicking OK until the dialog boxes go away. You'll be able to compose HTML mail from now on, but without the oddball characters.

Annoyance No. 10

Why won't Outlook work seamlessly with Gmail? Gmail can be used as a POP3 client, just like any other ISP. But users have complained that they can't get Outlook to work properly with Gmail because of the complexity of configuration. Is there any way it can be done more simply?

How to fix it: Yes, it's confusing to configure Outlook to work properly with Gmail. But I'm here to report that it can, in fact, be done -- and to show you how to do it.

First, you'll need to tell Gmail you want to use it as a POP account. In Gmail, click Settings, and then click Forwarding and POP/IMAP. Select "Enable POP for all mail" if you want to download all mail to Outlook -- including existing mail -- in your Gmail account. If you only want to download mail that you receive in the future, select "Enable POP for mail that arrives from now on."

Next, select how you want Gmail to handle incoming messages -- whether to keep copies of messages in your inbox after they've been downloaded to Outlook, delete the messages or archive them. After you've done that, click Save Changes.

With that done, you're ready to tell Outlook how to work with Gmail. Here's how to do it:

1. In Outlook, select Tools -- Account Settings and click New.

2. From the screen that appears, select "Microsoft Exchange, POP3, IMAP, or HTTP" and click Next.

3. On the screen that appears, type in your name, Gmail e-mail address and your password in the appropriate boxes. Check "Manually configure server settings or additional server types" at the bottom of the screen and click Next.

4. From the screen that appears, select Internet E-Mail and click Next.

5. A screen like the one above appears. For Account Type, select POP3. For Incoming mail server, enter pop.gmail.com. For Outgoing mail server (SMTP), enter smtp.gmail.com. In the Logon Information area, enter your username and password. Check the box next to Remember password.

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