Described below are several frequently overlooked Microsoft Outlook tools that can increase your email efficiency and help tame an unruly email inbox.
Deferring Action If there is an email in your inbox that is an action item, but you want to defer it to a future date, you can do this by forwarding the email to yourself and using the delayed delivery function to schedule when it reappears in your inbox. To do this, open the email, Left click “Forward,” address the email to yourself, Then click the “Options” Menu. Select “Delay Delivery,”
then select the date and time you want the email forwarded to your inbox and click “close.”
Now send the email. Delete the original from your inbox. Now you will not see that email again until the chosen date and time.
Displaying Emails as Conversations I prefer my emails organized as conversations as opposed to strict chronological order— displayed this way the original email is visible, but all related emails in the chain are hidden unless you click the expand button on the visible email, which then expands to show all emails in the chain. When you get new emails in a chain, the main email turns to bold. You can set this by going to the View tab of your main mailbox and checking “Show as Conversations.”
Click the “Arrange By:” bar at the top of the message list and select “View Settings” from the menu. Click “Conversation Settings” and you will be offered several choices that are a matter of preference. Using the conversations feature will make yor inbox so much more logically organized. Try it, if you don’t like it then just remove the checkmark from the conversations option.
Searching all Folders For Missing Emails If you use Outlook subfolders to save emails by matter, etc., you may have “lost” an email because it was stored in the wrong folder, making it difficult to find. If you know anything about the email, you can search all of your folders at once to find the wayward email. Go to the “Search Inbox” box in the top right hand corner of your inbox.
Type something that would be found in the email you are looking for, e.g., a name or something in the subject line, then hit “Enter” or click search icon. If the item is not located in your inbox, click the blue link that says “Try searching again in All Mail Items.”
Too many results? You can narrow your search by using any Outlook Mail field, e.g., “To: <Name or any part of name or email address>,” “From: <Name or any part of name or email address>,” “Subj: <text contained in subject line>,” etc.
Bonus Tip – Shortcuts for Inserting Frequently Used Text If you frequently type out the same information over and over again, e.g. conference call dialin instructions, you can save the text as a “Quick Part” and give it a name like “dialin.” Each time you type “dialin” the conference call information will pop-up and you can insert it by hitting “Enter.” To set this up, go to the email composer window and highlight the text you want to insert,
The next time you start typing the phrase or the description, a pop up will appear with the insert – hit return to insert the text.