I think Outlook’s Junk Email Folder does a fantastic job of keeping spam out of my Inbox but … occasionally real emails end up there. Here’s a quick tip to reduce the number of emails that get incorrectly moved to the Junk Email folder.
Outlook has a Safe Sender’s list. Outlook knows that anyone who is on your Safe Sender’s list is authorised to send you email.
It makes sense (most of the time) that anyone you actually write to should automatically be put on your safe sender’s list.
The ability to do this is built into Outlook but is turned off by default. To turn it on …
Go to your Inbox.
Click Actions – Junk Email – Junk Email Options
Click the Safe Senders tab.
Tick the checkbox Automatically add people I e-mail to the Safe Senders List.
Do you need to display your computer screen to others during meetings? Here’s a really easy way of quickly zooming in so that everyone can see the screen.
Hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and scroll using the wheel on your mouse. You can zoom in or out depending on the direction you turn the wheel.
This works in the Preview Pane of Outlook 2010, 2007 and Outlook 2003 (not all emails work in Outlook 2003). It works in all open emails in the above versions of Outlook.
It also works for Word and Excel (2003, 2007 and 2010).
This tip was pointed out to me by one of my team members (Anand) during a team meeting and it has made our frequent meetings (where we discuss ideas around a computer screen) much more productive.
I hope it also works for you.
If you have been using the same Outlook data file for a long time, then you may need to check it’s size and do some maintenance… or you could suddenly (i.e. without warning) end up with a corrupted Outlook data file with Outlook no longer able to open your emails.
If you started using (or maybe are still using) Outlook before Outlook 2003 then your PST file (Outlook data file) is allowed a maximum size of 2 GB. This may still be true even if you migrated to new versions of Outlook since then.
Data files created by Outlook 2003 or later have a much safer limit of 20 GB. But…if you migrated from an older version of Outlook, then chances are your Outlook data file is still in the old format.
If your pre-Outlook 2003 data file exceeds 2 GB then Outlook will not be able to open it… there’s also no warning built in to Outlook telling you that you are getting close to this dangerous limit.
What version is your Outlook Data file?
If you are using Outlook 97, 2000 or 2002/XP then you are using the old format with the 2 GB limit.
If you are using Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010, use the following steps to find out what version data file you currently have.
- Inside Outlook, right-click over the top folder and click Properties.
- Click the Advanced button
If the format displayed says Outlook Data File(97-2002) then you are using the old format. If it says Outlook data File then you’re using the new format.
Things you can do to keep your data file small
- Delete messages that you don’t need to keep (don’t forget the Sent Items folder)
- Empty the Deleted Items folder regularly.
- Compact your PST file occasionally to remove the empty space that remains even after you delete emails. (Click the Compact button shown in the screen above)
I hope these few guidelines will help you keep your Outlook data safe.
Do you use your Outlook calendar to plan and manage your day? Here are a few quick tips to see several days at the same time on your calendar. These tips work on all versions of Outlook from Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2007
Viewing any number of consecutive days
Need to see your appointments for the next 2 days (or 4 days or 6 days).
This is a SUPER EASY tip… it doesn’t even need a picture or step-by-step instructions. Simply go to your Calendar and press ALT and the number of days you want to see. For example, press ALT+4 and Outlook will show you 4 days side by side.
Viewing any number of non-consecutive days
What if you need to see your calendar for days that are not one after another. Easy…
- Go to your Outlook Calendar. You should see a thumbnail view of the current view either on the left or right hand side depending on your version of Outlook.
- Click on the first date that you want to see.
- Now press and hold the control (CTRL) key on the keyboard and then use the mouse to click on all the other dates that you are interested in. If the date that you are interested in is not visible, you can change months by clicking on the little arrows on the thumbnail calendar.
Hopefully these two tips have made it a little easier to get organized.
Do you have any favourite Outlook calendar tricks of your own? Please leave a comment.
EVERY DAY! I used to let my junk mail folder collect emails for months until recently… here’s why?
If you’re like me, your Outlook Junk Emails folder will get at least 20 emails in it every day… most of them actually SPAM.
However you’ll occasionally get emails in there that are actual work emails. You can get Outlook to automatically highlight the work emails in your junk emails folder as I outlined in an earlier article.
But it is still very useful to clear your Junk Emails folder on a daily basis because:
- This habit makes you go to your Junk Emails folder which gives you the chance to see if Outlook has highlighted any emails that might need your attention (no point in Outlook highlighting them unless you actually look at the folder)
- You can also quickly scan through the rest of the emails in the folder to see if there are any other work emails amongst the SPAM.
This will ensure that you respond to incorrectly junk-filed emails in a timely manner.
The whole process is also much easier and quicker since there will be less emails in Outlook’s Junk Emails folder (assuming that you empty the folder out every day) than if you let it pile up over several days, weeks or even months.
Many productivity systems such as Getting Things Done and MPS Take Back Your Life for Outlook have a two minute rule which basically says “Do the email now if it is going to take less than two minutes”.
Personally I have found it difficult to stick to the two minute rule. I look at an email… have some immediate thoughts on it and often start action on it even though I know it will take more than two minutes.
Why? FEAR OF WASTED TIME. I don’t want to lose my initial ideas or have to rethink them. I could make notes in Word or my physical paper notebook but then I have to remember where to look them up later.
Since I have started using Email Notes for Outlook, I have found it easier to stick to the two minute rule. Here’s what I do.
As I am reading the email, I simply click on the Add Note button that Email Notes added to Outlook. A notes screen pops up to which I add my thoughts.
I can then move on to the next email safely aware that my notes will be easy to retrieve and use when I give my full attention to the email later.
Do you have your own story about how you use Email Notes. Please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most Outlook users turn off Outlook’s email notification message. With the volume of emails we all receive these days, it is way too detrimental to productivity to have a message interrupt you every time you receive an email. But… what if you want to be alerted whenever you receive emails from particular people… maybe your boss… or an important client.
Did you know that you can use Rules to display an alert similar to the one shown below… so that it will only come up when you receive an email from one or more specific email addresses?
Here are step by step instructions…
Go to your Inbox.
Click Tools-Rules and Alerts to display the Rules dialog box. (In Outlook 2010, go to the home tab and click Rules-Manage Rules and Alerts)
Click the New Rule button to display the Rules Wizard screen.
Click “Display mail from someone in the New Item Alert Window”. (A on the picture above)
Click on “people or distribution list” (B on the picture above) to display the Rule Address screen.
Select someone from the list or type in the person’s email address in the From field.
Click OK to go back to the Rules Wizard screen.
Click “a specific message” (C on the picture above)
Type in what you want the alert message to say and click OK e.g. Email from Boss!
The next time you receive an email from that person, Outlook will display a message over everything else that you are working on.
This simple trick has helped our own team a lot. I hope it works well for you too.
If you find this tip useful or have your own tips for better email notifications, please leave a comment on the blog.
Whenever you type an email address in the To/CC/BCC field of an email, Outlook helps out by showing you a list of email addresses that match what you have typed. This can be very helpful in quickly entering a recipient’s email address. But …
People’s email addresses change or you may have stopped communicating with certain people – yet their old email addresses keep showing up in the list.
Deleting Single Entries
It’s easy to delete individual items from the list. Type a few characters in the To field to display the list. Then use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move to the old email addresses and click Delete.
Deleting the Whole List
Use with Caution because there is no way of getting the list back!
You can also completely delete the list to start from a clean slate by following the steps in this link:
Testimonials from real customers are powerful. Here’s a small article about why they are useful and how you can use Outlook to get feedback from your own customers to help with your sales.
Testimonials build trust, credibility and a sense of security for the prospective customers when they visit your site.
When a customer who has not had the pleasure of working with you before comes to your website… all marketing messages directly from you will be viewed with some suspicion… after all you have a vested interest in selling your product.
But… testimonials from existing happy customers are different… it’s no longer just you saying how good you are… it’s other people (who have nothing to gain from the sale) saying how your product or service has helped them.
I personally find that it makes me feel safer to buy from business with happy customers.
You need a system to ask for testimonials
Here’s what I recommend…
- Ask for testimonials as soon after the sales as is reasonable but…give the customer sufficient time to actually use the product first.
- Do not assume that all customers are happy. Some customers may actually be having problems so ask for their feedback as well. This may help you improve your offerings and you can always ask again once you have helped solve their problems.
- If you’re requesting for testimonials using email, make sure that you PERSONALIZE the email with at least the customer’s name and the name of the product purchased. We all know that people use automation tools but it still is much nicer to receive an email which speaks specifically to us.
Using Outlook to Request for Testimonials
Depending on the number of sales you make, you may be able to write and send each email individually. Personally I think that testimonial requests can be done once a week.
- Maintain an Excel file with a list of sales. At the minimum the spreadsheet should contain the customer’s name, email address and product purchased
- Create a prewritten email that you will use to request for testimonials. The advantage of a prewritten template is that the quality of your request is not dependant on how you feel or how much time you have.
- Use a product like EmailMerge for Outlook to create and send out your testimonial requests. Email Merge PRO will work directly with your Excel spreadsheet and send personalized individually addressed emails to each person.
Finally… here’s the template that we use to request for testimonials
I hope you find this post useful to getting great feedback from your customers. If you have a lot of customers, download a trial version of Email Merge PRO for Outlook from our website today.
A quick note to let everyone know that I will be away in India for the next two weeks. This visit is part of my duties as the Chairman of Save the Children Fiji.
Several generations ago, my great grandparents moved to Fiji from India. This will be my first visit there so I am planning to also take a week off to see some of the sights.
Things in the office will continue as normal with my team ready to support you in anyway you need… they may actually be more productive without me interrupting them to discuss new product ideas, blog posts etc.
Talking of blog posts… I have written your Outlook Tips for the next few weeks. The team will be posting them at the same regular intervals… you won’t even know I’m gone.
If there are any readers in the New Delhi or Jaipur area who’d like to say hello, please send an email to email@example.com and they will forward it on to me.
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