Overlooked Outlook tips and tricks

By Sylvia Hsieh

The Daily Record Newswire

If you only use Microsoft Outlook for sending and receiving e-mails and the occasional meeting request, you are missing some easy features that can save time and help you organize your files and deal with an overflowing inbox.

Deborah Savadra, a legal assistant in Mobile, Ala. and former computer consultant who authors the website www.legalofficeguru.com, recommends the following overlooked tips:

Sort incoming e-mail

To clear out your inbox, create automatic sorting rules so that incoming mail goes into subfolders.

Do this by right-clicking on an incoming e-mail, then selecting Rules and clicking on "Create Rule." From there, you can program e-mails with certain characteristics to be moved into a subfolder or to sound an alert or display in the new item alert window when received.

For example, you may have all e-mails related to a certain case, with a certain subject heading, or from a certain sender automatically moved into a subfolder that you have named for the case.

If you receive regular periodicals and newsletters, you can create a rule to put them into their own dedicated folders.

"This is one way to clear out your inbox, so what's left tends to be things people are asking you for or tasks you need to do right away," said Savadra.

Follow the flag

E-mails that you flag show up on your to-do list in the task folder and go from pink to red as the due date nears.

You can use the "Rules" function in combination with flagging. For example, Savadra created a rule so that any e-mail she receives from uscourts.gov gets automatically flagged for follow-up.

Another way to make the most of flags is to combine them with the "Categories" function. You can categorize e-mails by assigning different colors and naming them by subject. To do this, right-click on an e-mail and under "Categorize" assign a certain color to the e-mail. In the same sub-menu, "All Categories" allows you to name each color.

Once you have set up categories, you can use the Rules function to automatically assign e-mails from certain people to one of your categories.

Published: Mon, Sep 5, 2011

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