A Desktop Alert is a notification that appears on your desktop when you receive one of the following items (item: An item is the basic element that holds information in Outlook (similar to a file in other programs). Items include e-mail messages, appointments, contacts, tasks, journal entries, notes, posted items, and documents.):
- E-mail message The alert displays the name of the sender, the subject, and the first two lines of the message.
Note A Desktop Alert doesn't display the contents of an encrypted or digitally signed message. To view the message, you must open it.
- Meeting request The alert displays the sender, subject, date, time, and location of the meeting.
- Task request The alert displays the sender, subject, and start date of the assigned task.
For Microsoft Exchange server and POP3 (POP3: A common protocol that is used to retrieve e-mail messages from an Internet e-mail server.) e-mail accounts (e-mail account: The server name, user name, password, and e-mail address used by Outlook to connect to an e-mail service. You create the e-mail account in Outlook by using information provided by your administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).), a Desktop Alert is displayed only when a new item arrives in your default Inbox. If you want to display a Desktop Alert when an item arrives in any other Exchange folder, or when you receive items that meet specific conditions, you must create a rule (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.). You must also create a rule if you want to be notified when you receive a new item in an IMAP (IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): Unlike Internet e-mail protocols such as POP3, IMAP creates folders on a server to store/organize messages for retrieval by other computers. You can read message headers only and select which messages to download.) e-mail account.
You can use Desktop Alerts to "pre-process" incoming items without having to open your Inbox first. When a Desktop Alert appears, you can perform several actions that would normally require you to open the item. For example, you can set a flag on a message, delete it, or mark it as read—all without opening your Inbox.
If you want to keep a Desktop Alert visible so that you can take more time to read it, pause your cursor on the alert before it fades from view.
You can customize the appearance of your Desktop Alerts. You can have them remain visible for as briefly as three seconds or for as long as 30 seconds. You can also adjust their transparency to make them more noticeable or to keep them from blocking your view of documents and other items on your desktop. You can also change where your Desktop Alerts appear by dragging one of them to a more preferable location on your desktop.
You can also drag the Desktop Alert preview to the location you want from the Desktop Alert Settings dialog box.
If several items arrive in your Inbox at the same time, you won't necessarily receive a Desktop Alert for each item. If you receive a large number of items within a particular period of time, Microsoft Outlook displays a single Desktop Alert to indicate that you received several new items. This prevents your desktop from suddenly becoming overwhelmed with alerts, an annoyance that would almost certainly interfere with your work and temporarily obscure a portion of your desktop.