The Date Navigator is a trick you can use in Outlook to change the part of the Calendar that you're seeing or the time period that you want to look at.

Believe it or not, that unassuming little two- or three-month calendar scrap that appears in the upper-right corner of your Outlook window is probably the quickest way to change how you look at the Calendar and make your way around in it. You only have to click the date that you want to see, and that date opens in all its glory.

To use the Date Navigator, follow these steps:

1. Click the Calendar button in the Navigation Pane (or press Ctrl+2).

The Calendar appears.

2. Choose View --> Task Pad.

The Task Pad appears on the right side of the Outlook screen. The top part of the Task Pad contains the Date Navigator; the bottom part shows an abbreviated list of your tasks.

3. Click the words "Day/Week/Month" in the Navigation Pane.

A circle to the left of these words appears darkened to indicate what you select. Date Navigator appears as a small calendar in the upper-right corner. Here's a list of the options that you have:

• To see details of a single date: Click that day in the Date Navigator. You see the appointments and events scheduled for the day that you click.

• To see a full-month view: Click one of the letters (SMTWTFS) at the top of the months.

• To see a week's view: Move the mouse pointer just to the left of the week that you want to see. When the arrow points up and to the right rather than up and to the left, click it.

As time goes by (so to speak), you gravitate to the Calendar view that suits you best. You can leave Outlook running most of the time to keep the information that you need handy.

Time travel isn't just science fiction. You can zip around the Outlook calendar faster than you can say "Buck Rogers." Talk about futuristic; the Outlook calendar can schedule appointments for you well into the year 4500!

When you need to find an open date fast, follow these steps:

1. Choose Go --> Go To Date (or press Ctrl+G).

A dialog box appears with a date highlighted.

2. To go to another date, type the date that you want in the Date: box, such as "January 15, 2005" or "1/15/05."

You can change dates by typing something like "45 days ago" or "93 days from now." Outlook understands simple English when it comes to dates. Don't get fancy, though — Outlook doesn't understand "Fourscore and seven years ago." (But who does?)

3. Click the OK button.

If you want to go to today's date, choose Go --> Today.

No matter which date you land on, you can plunge right in and start scheduling. You can double-click the time and date of when you want an appointment to occur and then enter the particulars, or you can double-check details of an appointment on that date by double-clicking the date and making changes to the appointment, if you need to. You can also do something silly like find out what day of the week your birthday falls on 1,000 years from now.