Monthly Archives: November 2012

How much time does email waste every day?

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Friday, November 30th, 2012

I can either do my work or I can do my email!

We often hear from users that email takes too much work.

It takes too much work to keep them organised so that they can be found later!
Too much of the day is just wasted moving emails around!

The problem is that we are still trying to use systems from the paper world to manage ourselves in the digital world.

The unfortunate reality is that those systems don’t always work as well in the digital world as they used to.

I believe that one of these changes is the replacement of Folder based email management with Tag & Search based email management.

But folders have worked well for managing emails until now… what’s so different now?

Folders were the right tool for managing emails initially.

  • We were dealing with much lower volumes of emails
  • We were often maintaining both paper and digital copies of emails

Because we still had folder based systems in the paper world, it made perfect sense to have the same organization structure inside our computers. Having the same system made information easier to find.

But our filing needs have changed… but our systems have not.

Most of us no longer have complex paper filing systems. Even those of us that have them only keep printed copies of the essentials. Paper is too difficult to store and retrieve information from.

Instead most of us now store the majority of our information electronically… so it is time to try and implement systems that are best suited to the digital world.

We released Email Tags for Outlook a few weeks ago to help Outlook users make this leap. However we made a few mistakes that meant our solution was not as perfect as we wanted it to be.

We’re fortunate that we have such great list of customers and readers (of our blog). We’ve made a lot of changes and almost completely redesigned Email Tags.

While we have finished the software(the new version is online), our website and video of the software is still old.

We’re redoing the web pages and the video… so that we can show you how Tags can be better than folders.

The video will be ready in a few days and we’ll send you a link. In the meantime you may want to look at the following posts

How to make Email Tags work like Folders in Outlook

Find Emails by Conversation in Outlook

Your Outlook Team at Standss

PS: The latest version of the software is actually already online… and we have a $10 discount while we get the website and video ready.

How to make Email Tags work like Folders in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Last week’s blog post Outlook Users want Help Finding Emails… not Filing Emails had many users writing to us in disagreement.  This week I want to look at how you can get the benefits of folders using tags… without the heavy maintenance requirements of actually using folders.

Before I start…

There are some users for whom folder based system works very well. Those users may want to read the rest of this post but you shouldn’t make changes unless you feel that your current system is either 1) not working or 2) takes too much effort. Your email organization system is meant to serve you… if you’re happy with what you’re using then please don’t change.

Now let’s start…

There has been a strong trend away from organization information of all kinds into folders. Instead the new trend is to use Search tools and to compliment this using tags.

This can be seen in Gmail which has implemented labels (which are essentially the same as tags) as well as most digital photo management applications, notes applications such as EverNote and much more.

But there are some advantages of using folders over search and tags (until now).

What are the advantages of Folders that users want?

  1. It is easy to see all the things that are important to you simply by looking at your list of folders i.e. your list of folders shows you your projects.
  2. Folders make it easy to see a lot of related information easily and cleanly in one place. You open a folder and everything for a project is right there… you don’t have to manually sort out stuff that doesn’t belong.
  3. It takes more work but is easier to ensure that information is saved in the right place.. as long as you have the discipline to do the filing. Some methods of tagging make it too easy to tag an email with the wrong tag and therefore lose the email.

Can Email Tags provide the same benefits of folders?

We have just put the latest version of Email Tags for Outlook on our website. In the rest of this post, we want to show you very quickly how the three advantages of folders listed above can easily be achieved with Email Tags.

  1. The Email Tags user interface has been updated to easily show you a list of your tags.
  2. EmailTags search screen

    As you can see in the Search screen above, the screen generally shows you your more recently used tags.

    This means that you can see your “current projects” easily. Tags can also be contained of multiple words so you can have tags with customer names, project names… whatever you want.

    You can also click on the Show All Tags link on the screen to see a list of all your tags as shown below:

    show all tags

  3. The Search screen in Email Tags makes it easy to see all your tags for a particular project.. just as if your emails were in a folder.
  4. search tags groups

    The advantage is that it takes much less effort to maintain tags than a massive folder tree.

  5. Email Tags has a number of features built into it that makes it almost impossible to incorrectly tag an email.

    This includes:
    a. Email Tags has built in artificial intelligence that will suggest tags to you based on the contents of the email
    b. You can always click Show All Tags and then pick from your full list of tags
    c. Start typing in the Tags text box and Email Tags will show you a list of matching tags to pick from thereby eliminating most common typing mistakes.

email tag suggestions

The latest version of Email Tags is available on our website for you to try and download right now. We also have a discount of $10 for a few days if you decide to purchase the software soon.

NOTE: While we have the latest version of the software online already, the video and pictures on the website are still for the old version. We’re working on updating those in the next few days.

Download Email Tags for Outlook

What do you think of the new version. Try it out and let us know by leaving a comment below or send a email to

Find Emails by Conversation in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

When you are working on projects, supporting a customer or trying to close a sale, you are likely to exchange several emails overtime.

So when you need to refer to one of the older emails for additional information, how do you find the email?

You could use Outlook search but the results might give you TOO MANY or TOO FEW emails if you don’t use the right keyword.

In this post we will show you how to group your emails by Conversation so that all you get are emails related to the conversation.

To find related emails:

In Outlook 2010:

  • Open Outlook
  • In your Inbox (or any folder), right-click on a recent email related to the conversation
  • Click Find Related > Messages in this Conversation

Outlook will now search all folders and find all emails (sent or received) related to that conversation.

In Outlook 2007/2003:

  • Open Outlook
  • In your Inbox (or any folder), right-click on a recent email related to the conversation
  • Click Find All > Related Messages… this will pop-up a screen as shown below

outlook find emails

All related emails will be grouped and you can double-click to open any email. (as shown above).

This built-in search features are handy but limited as you can only group emails by conversation or sender.

Our outlook addin EmailTags gives you the flexibility to easily group/find your emails by project name, job number, customer or anything else… all at the same time.

Try the fully functional 30 day trial to see for yourself.

I hope you find this tip useful.

Do you have your own methods for grouping/finding emails?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Mistake #2: Outlook users hate paying subscriptions for non-cloud products

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Monday, November 19th, 2012

In my last post, I mentioned that we will look at some of the mistakes we made when we launched Email Tags for Outlook. Here’s mistake Number 2. We decided to go with a yearly price instead of a one-off price as in the past.

Our reasoning was that we would charge a lower price that would allow more users to use the product. Unfortunately most users were either confused by it or hated it!

We’ve heard and we’ve made changes… but we thought we’d share what you told us.

Email Tags is not a cloud based product… so you expect a one-time charge, not a subscription

Users told us that they were happy to pay a higher one-time charge and then pay for updates later. They were only comfortable paying a subscription for cloud based products… which Email tags was NOT!


The subscription also alarmed users… was their data being stored on the Internet? NO! Your data is safe on your computer… where it has always been. Email Tags just makes it more organized and findable.

What happens if I stop using Email Tags? Will I still have access to my emails?

YES! Your emails are all stored safely on your computer. They will all still be accessible from inside Outlook the same way they have always been even if you stop using Email Tags.

The subscription model was causing too much confusion so we’ve changed it! There is a special discounted price for Email Tags available on our website until we launch the new version. All registered users will get a FREE upgrade to the new version.

You can download a fully functional trial of Email Tags (current version) today.


By standss - Comments ( 4 ) Friday, November 16th, 2012

This is the first blog post in a series that highlights lessons we learnt from interviewing customers before and after launching Email Tags recently.

This lesson took us by surprise!

We’ve always focused our products (and related websites) on helping customers file their emails better.  But when we spoke to customers, it was clear that there was a shift away from filing emails to searching for emails.

Filing emails was the old way of making them findable. The new way for most users is Outlook Search.

This was true even for Outlook users who had good filing systems in place already.

Nobody wanted to go into folders and look through emails manually. Instead they were using Outlook’s built in Search tools to help locate emails quickly.
Users of Outlook Search however identified the following 3 problems:

  1. Search sometimes returns too few emails i.e. important emails may not be found if they don’t have the necessary keywords in them.
  2. Search sometimes returns too many emails… there may be other emails with the same keywords too.
  3. Unless you have your emails filed in separate folders, it is difficult to see a group of RELATED emails easily

Filing emails in folders could be a solution for some but for most people it no longer is an effective solution. It takes too much effort to maintain a folder based email filing finding system.

We created Email Tags for Outlook as a solution that builds on Outlook Search and provides all the benefits of folders and search.

We launched it and then interviewed users and found out… that you liked it… BUT… YOU HAD FANTASTIC IDEAS TO MAKE OUTLOOK THE IDEAL EMAIL FINDING TOOL!

We’re working on your ideas and will release something next week.

In the meantime you may want to look at the following links:

Email Tags for Outlook

Fixing Search Problems In Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

Make Outlook 2007/2010 search all folders instead of just the current folder

Search Additional Outlook data files (PSTs, OSTs) in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

How to choose which Calendar is used to populate the To-Do Bar

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Last week we showed you how to customize your Outlook To-Do bar to display the information you need.

If you have several email accounts (POP, IMAP, Exchange etc) configured in Outlook, you will also have several calendars (one for each email account). So how do you choose which calendar should be used to populate the appointments in the To-Do bar?

In this post, we will show you how to choose the calendar you wish to use.

It is only possible to display your DEFAULT calendar and tasks in the Outlook T0-Do Bar. You CANNOT combine items from different calendars or task folders.

The instructions below can be used to change what Outlook considers to be your default Calendar folder. Making this change will also automatically change what Outlook considers to be your default Tasks folder… and your default Inbox and Sent Items… so…


Note: the instructions below are only for Outlook 2010 unless specifically mentioned.

  • Open Outlook > Click on the File tab > Account Settings > Account Settings… This will open the following screen:

Account settings screen

  • Click on the Data Files tab. This should list all the data files you currently have connected to Outlook.
  • Choose the datafile which has the Calendar you want to use to populate your appointments in the To-Do bar and click Set as Default.
  • Click Close

You should now find that the appointments (and tasks) in your To-Do bar are populated from the data file you select above. Hope you find this tip useful in organizing your work day better.

Till next time… have a better Outlook.

Happy Diwali (New Year) from Your Outlook Team at Standss

By standss - Comments ( 3 ) Monday, November 12th, 2012

Tuesday 13th November 2012 is Diwali. Diwali is also known as the festival of lights and is probably the most important celebration in the Hindu calendar.

It would be the equivalent of Christmas in terms of the scale of celebrations… which is done with much eating and fireworks. Here’s a photo of the morning tea our team enjoyed today.

Standss Team for Diwali

What is the reason for celebrating Diwali?

Diwali is celebrated for two main reasons:

  • The return of Lord Rama after 14 years of banishment. His adventures and triumphs over evil during his banishment are told in the epic Ramayana. Upon his return diyas (small clay oil lamps) were lit all over the kingdom to welcome him back. To this day people light up their houses on Diwali night.
  • It is also considered the Indian New Year.

So how do we celebrate Diwali here in Fiji?

While the origins of Diwali are obviously in India, Diwali is now celebrated all over the world.

Our company is in Fiji.

My great grand-parents had come from India more than a hundred years ago when many Indians were brought to Fiji to work in the sugar-cane industry.
Today Fiji is a fantastic multi-cultural place to live. Diwali day is a public holiday and celebrated and shared with everyone irrespective of their religion or race.

Our homes and office are thoroughly cleaned before Diwali. Many people also take this opportunity to do renovations.

New garments are purchased as it is considered auspicious to where something new on Diwali.

Our homes are also lit with lights of different colors. In Suva (the city where I live) there is even an award for the best decorated house which a golfing buddy has won many times.

On Diwali day, Diyas (small clay lamps) are lit around the house. Prayers are held at 6 PM but this is normally private to the family. Guests are welcomed into the house from 6.30 (or 7) on wards. Many varieties of sweets and vegetarian dishes are made and shared with friends and family.

Children (and many adults) play with fireworks that light up the skies.

It is a greatest way to start the year.

So as we end this year, I thank you all again for your support… for reading our blog… for using our Outlook addins… for all your input and ideas that have helped us to become a better company.

We wish you all a happy Diwali and look forward to serving you even better in the New Year.

From Sanjay and the rest of your Outlook team at Standss

Categories : General Comments ( 3 )

Customize the Outlook To-Do bar to Display Information you need

By standss - Comments ( 3 ) Friday, November 9th, 2012

The Outlook To-Do bar is a great addition to Outlook 2010 (and 2007), it shows you the appointment(s) for the day, your task list and easily lets you navigate to future dates to see your upcoming event.

What makes it better is that you can easily customize it i.e. turn on or off the information to Display on the To-D0 Bar. Here is how…

Note: the instructions below are only for Outlook 2010 unless specifically mentioned.

  • In any Outlook folder, click on the View tab > in the Layout group click To-Do Bar
  • The information that is currently being displayed in the To-Do bar will be TICKED, to hide any item, simply click on it again and it will get untick.

Now only the items which are ticked will be displayed in the To-Do bar.

Apart from customizing what gets displayed or not displayed on the To-Do bar, you can also customize the individual items such as increasing or decreasing the number of appointments or task which can be displayed on the To-Do bar.

But note that when you increase the information to display for one item, it decreases the number of items for the other. Here you need to prioritize what information you need to be aware of more often, your appointments or tasks:

  • Simply move your cursor on the To-Do bar between the Appointments and Tasks list
  • When your cursor changes to an arrow like image, drag the bar up or down to increase/decrease the number of items to display.

I hope you find this tip useful in organizing your workday.

Do you have suggestions for any other customization in Outlook?

Share it with our readers and us by leaving a comment below.

The new Quick Response Feature in Outlook 2013

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Outlook 2013 has now been available for preview to consumers for some time and. We have been testing various features for the last few months. Here’s one we like.

Microsoft has implemented a new feature in Outlook 2013 called Quick Response. This feature lets you respond to your emails without leaving your Inbox or opening a new reply window to compose and send your emails.

With the new Quick Response feature, your reading pane itself converts to a compose area and you can perform all the normal functions right there like formatting, adding attachments, CC/BCC etc… and even send the email. However you also have the option to open the normal reply window simply by clicking on Pop Out.

Quick Response Outlook 2013

Another new feature is the [Draft] Indicator. Say for example you started typing an email and left it incomplete, maybe you had to rush of to an urgent meeting or reply to another urgent email.

You will now have a draft indicator (as shown above) indicating that this email is not complete or not responded to yet. Once you return and select one of the emails with the Draft indicator, you can start typing your response again from where you left off.

So how are this features useful?

Well it depends on how you work in Outlook and the benefit may vary from person to person but personally Quick Response feature is handy because:

  1. I get to respond to my emails much quicker , which is obvious because that is what this feature is meant to do.
  2. Saves a few extra clicks especially for those who do not have the option to Automatically close the Reply windows enabled (in older versions of Outlook)
  3. I can easily spot emails that are incomplete i.e. I started typing the respond but didn’t complete it. This can be viewed right in your Inbox rather than having to jump back and forth between the inbox and drafts folder.

What are your views on the new Outlook 2013 and its features?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 1 )

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