From a reader:
"In Outlook 2000, once you were inside contacts (as opposed to calendar, mail, etc), you could simply start typing the letters of a person's name, and outlook would bring up the correct address card as soon as you'd typed enough letters. Now I don't see any way to search except to hit the alpha letters at the right screen – a laborious process – or to search through the "type a contact to find" – you need to use your mouse to get there."
Outlook 2003 changed where the focus is when you open a folder. This change was made, in part, to prevent messages from automatically previewing in the Reading pane.
To use the shortcuts, first hit tab once to move focus to the item list, then type your letters.
The change in the focus also changed the behavior when you use the keyboard to quickly move through the folder list. The solution for this is also tab – tab until the selected folder is highlighted in a dark color, then you can press a key to move through the folder list. Press Enter when the folder you want to view is outlined by a dotted box and you'll be able to view the contents.