Monthly Archives: April 2013

Mark Outlook Emails READ only after you ACTUALLY Read them

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Friday, April 26th, 2013

Every morning, the first thing we normally do is download all our received emails in Outlook and quickly look through all emails to see which ones need our immediate attention and which ones can be dealt with later BUT…

As you are clicking through your emails, Outlook is marking them as READ, which means they will no longer appear BOLD for you to clearly identify which ones are still left to be ACTUALLY READ or dealt with.

Here is a simple setting in Outlook which lets you set a minimum time that you need to be on an email before it is marked as read (I have set mine to 5 second):

For Outlook 2013/2010:

  • Click on File > Options
  • Click on Mail from the left side column
  • Click on the Reading Pane button on the right
  • On the Reading Pane dailog box, tick the checkbox for “Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane
  • Enter a time in the box beside “Wait XX seconds before marking item as read”
  • Click OK and than OK again

For Outlook 2007/2003:

  • Click Tools on the menu > Options…
  • Click the Other tab
  • Click on the Reading Pane… button
  • On the Reading Pane dailog box, tick the checkbox for “Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane“
  • Enter a time in the box beside “Wait XX seconds before marking item as read”
  • Click OK and than OK again

I hope you find this simple tip useful.

If you have your own tips for better managing emails and your time in Outlook, share it with our readers by leaving a comment on this blog.

Easy Email Search Tricks in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

In the old days, finding an Outlook email meant wading through folders and manually searching for the correct email. Finding emails now is EASY particularly if you know some tricks to help you get more accurate search results. Here are a few of my favourites.


To look for words anywhere in your email (or contacts, calendar or task lists), simply click in the search box at the top of your emails and type the words that you are looking for.

outlook search tips

In Outlook 2013, you can also change where the Search is done (current folder, current mailbox, all mailboxes etc) directly from the same screen.

In earlier versions of Outlook, the Search is done on the current folder but you can click the hyperlink at the bottom of the search results to search all folders.


The following are some of the tricks that I use to get much better search results.

From: This makes it easy to find emails from a particular person. For example if I want emails from John than I type From:John in the Search box.

To: If I am searching for an email that I sent to someone (say John), I type To:John

CC: In order to find an email that you CCed to someone (say John), type CC:John

OR: Maybe I sent the email to John or maybe I CCed it to him. In this case I can use the OR keyword (OR must be in capital letters). I can type To:John OR CC:John

AND: What if I want to find all emails that I have sent to James and John. I can type To:John AND To: James. The AND has to be in capital letters. This will return all emails that have both John and James in the To field.

I can also use AND to find all emails to James that have the word golf in them by typing TO:James AND Golf.

Exact Phrases: This comes in use where you want to search for words in particular. I may know too many Johns. When I want to find emails from John Smith with the phrase Microsoft Outlook in them. I can type From:”John Smith” AND “Microsoft Outlook”

These tricks have made it much easier for me to find emails. I hope that you find them useful too.

If you have tips of your own, please share it with other readers by leaving a comment on the blog.

How to Protect your Outlook Data file from Corruption (and data loss)

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Friday, April 19th, 2013

Did you know that Outlook is configured (by default) to eventually corrupt itself and lose some and maybe even all your e-mails?

In this post we will cover few essential tips that will help you to ensure that your Outlook data is safe and protected from software corruption or data failure.

1. Find out where your Outlook E-mails are saved and backup regularly

When you first install and start using Outlook, it creates the data file (PST) on its own and saves it in a location that you are unlikely to include in your regular backup plan.

You can read our earlier post on how to backup your Outlook Data file to locate where your data file is saved and include the location to your regular backup routine.

It is a good idea to back up on regular intervals (I tried to restore from a backup CD a few years ago to find that the backup was corrupt too. I lost more than 12 months of e-mails)

2. Outlook may corrupt itself unless you split your data into at least two files.

By default, Outlook saves all your e-mails in one file. There are a number of problems with this:

  • As the Outlook data file gets filled up, Outlook will get slower
  • There is a physical limit to the size of your Outlook data file. You can get instructions on how to check the size limit of your data file in our post “How to maintain Outlook data (PST) Files
  • If you reach this limit, Outlook will suddenly stop working and there is a great risk that you could lose some if not all of your e-mails.

The solution is to split your data into more than one data file.

Step-by-step instructions on how you should split your data file is provided in our free e-book “The Professional’s guide to Email Management in Microsoft Outlook”. Refer to Tips 3 and 4.

3. Use QuickFile to simplify shifting e-mails out of your Inbox and Sent Items folders

QuickFile for Outlook is an inexpensive, easy-to-use Outlook add-on that greatly simplifies the filing of e-mails.

  • It works inside Outlook by adding two buttons to your toolbar
  • It does not require you to change the way you use Outlook
  • It will dramatically reduce the time and effort required to file your e-mails.

Click Here to learn more about QuickFile and download a fully functional trail version.

Hope you find this tips useful in keeping your Outlook data safe and protected.

Do you have some tips of your own to protect your Outlook data?

Share it with us by leaving a comment on this blog.

How to backup your Outlook Data file (To avoid data loss)

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Microsoft Outlook is the most common email client used by thousands of users around the world.

For most users, it is the central place for storing all your emails, appointments/tasks, contact details etc so… how often do you remember to maintain and backup your datafile?

Very few Outlook users know until it is too late that… Outlook does NOT by default save your email, task and calendar data in a folder that you would ever think of backing up.

Unless you are in a corporate network using MS Exchange, all your Outlook data is stored in one Personal Folder file called PST (Personal Storage Table).

  • This file has a .pst extension and is saved somewhere on your computer.
  • This one file probably contains all your Outlook folders, e-mails, contacts, tasks, calendar items, journal entries and notes inside it.
  • (Unfortunately) This file is NOT saved to your Documents folder (at least not by default) so chances are you are not backing it up.

If this file becomes damaged or corrupted, this could hamper the normally operation of Outlook and even cause data loss, therefore it is important that you make regular backups.

So where is this file on your computer?

The exact location depends on the version of Outlook and Windows. To find out where your Outlook data is:

  • Go to your Inbox and make sure that the list of folders is displayed
  • Right-click the top-level folder and select Properties
  • Click the Advanced button. The full path to the data file will be displayed in the box labelled FileName.
  • Just make sure that file is part of your computer backup plan.

If you are using more than one PST (e.g. a separate file for archives), then you need to do the above for each of your Outlook data files.

I hope that this little tip helps keep your Outlook data protected.

Tagging makes it easier to file the same email in two Outlook folders

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I recently changed my Outlook email organization system from filing emails in separate folders to putting them all in one folder and then organizing them with Tags (Categories).

Tagging emails is similar to Gmail style labels but is now available inside Outlook using Email Tags for Outlook.

An email that I archived today clearly demonstrated one of the advantages of tagging over folder based filing.

Tagging makes it easier to “file” an email in two folders.

I made a payment for some translation work that we are getting done. When I received the receipt I needed to file the email in two places… Receipts and Translation Project.

Actually… I don’t need to file it in the two place… I want to be able to find them under either of those two topics. If I had been using folder based filing, I would have had to make a copy of the email and then filed separate copies in the two folders.

With EmailTags I can tag the same email with both categories.

tag and file

Then using Outlooks built in Search (or Email Tags enhanced Tag Search), I can easily find the email later when I need it.

NEW TO EMAILTAGS: Watch a short demo video on our website or you can also download a fully functional trial version of the EmailTags Outlook addon.

Do you have other methods of filing (tagging) and finding emails in Outlook?

Share it with us by leaving a comment below.

How to use Outlook to Build Trust and Credibility

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

When buying products online, one of the key things customers look for on the website is TESTIMONIALS, what do other existing users of the product have to say about the product or the company?

People fear being wrong or making the wrong choice therefore they need some sort of assurance before committing to purchase a product.

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… your sales copy or marketing messages maybe viewed with some suspicion or assumed biased… 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.

This is how I personally shop online, it makes me feel much safer to purchase products from businesses with happy customers.I’m sure this is the same for most of us.

To get testimonials, you need to have a system, so 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 dependent 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

mail merge template

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.

Do you have your own techniques for requesting testimonials?

Share it with our readers by leaving a comment below.

Smart Schedules version 1.0.773 (Improvements based on user suggestions)

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

We have just posted an update to Smart Schedules for Outlook. The updates in Version 1.0.773 have been based on user requests.

This update is free for all existing registered users of version 1.0 or later.

Fixes and Features in this update include:

  • New Feature: Ability to add Project Name before or after the subject of the Appointment/Task.
    SmartSchedules can now display the Project Name in different ways next to the appointment or Task depending on what works for you. For example:

(Project Name) Appointment Subject
Appointment Subject (Project Name)

  • Bug fix: Error messages when browsing for date in Non-English language.
  • Other ribbon changes for Outlook 2010 and above.

Click here to view the full list of updates in Smart Schedules for Outlook

Download latest version of Smart Schedules for Outlook

New to Smart Schedules: Smart Schedules is an Outlook addin that simplifies project management inside Outlook allowing you  to automatically schedule and reschedule Appointments/tasks for the full project.

Watch a short demo video on our website or you can also download a fully functional trial version of the Smart Schedules Outlook addon.

Auto Highlight Important Emails in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Friday, April 5th, 2013

Outlook has an in-built feature which automatically highlights by color coding emails so that you remain focused and easily identify important emails from the hundreds of emails you receive every day.

How is this useful?

If you subscribe to several newsletters/mailing list (like me), you are likely to receive hundreds of emails per day.

More often the emails received or topics discussed will be of little interest to you.

So how do you identify emails which are of interest to you WITHOUT opening the email?

For me, I’m only interested in emails that have the word Outlook in them.

I’ve setup Outlook so that it automatically highlights (Red Bold) any email with the word Outlook in it.

This way you don’t have to waste time scanning through hundreds of emails.

Here’s how to auto-highlight important emails in Outlook:

  1. Go to the Folder in which the emails are. This can be the Inbox or any other folder.
  2. In Outlook 2013/2010, Click View on the Ribbon and then click View Settings.
    On all other versions of Outlook, on the menu at the top, Click View > Current View > Customize Current View to display the Customize View screen.
  3. In Outlook 2013/2010, Click Conditional Formatting… button
    In other versions of Outlook, Click the Automatic Formatting… button.

    automatic formatting outlook

  4. Click the Add Button
  5. Enter a name e.g. “Colour Code Outlook Emails”
  6. Click the Font button and using the resulting screen to choose how you want emails to be highlighted (I chose the colour Red and Bold). Click OK to return to the previous screen.
  7. Click the Condition button to display the Filter screen and enter your criteria and click OK.

    utlook filter

    In my case I chose;
    Search for the word(s): Outlook
    In: Subject and message body

  8. Click OK 3 times to return to your Folder.

Your Emails are Now Color Coded

Any emails in the folder that meet the criteria you specified will automatically be highlighted. Any new emails will also be highlighted.

You can use this technique whenever you need to highlight an email e.g. highlight all emails from your most important client.

I hope you find this tip useful.

Do you know of other methods to highlight important emails in Outlook?

Share it with our readers by leaving a comment on this blog.

Warning: Your Facebook Picture showing up in people’s Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Today I received an email from someone I regularly do work with. When I clicked on the email, Outlook automatically showed me his Facebook profile picture… semi-drunk drinking rum straight from the bottle? He didn’t show me the picture, Outlook (not Facebook) just showed it to me!

Do you use Facebook? If you do, make sure that you have a good profile picture that you are happy for your business contacts to see. Why? Because it’s showing up in their Outlook every time you send them an email… thanks to the Facebook Social Media connector for Outlook (which is available as a  free download).

Once you have the Facebook connector installed, you will automatically see people’s Facebook profile pictures whenever you view an email to or from them…. and they don’t even have to be your Facebook friend to see your picture inside Outlook!

That means that everyone you email can see your Facebook picture… without going to Facebook… inside Outlook… and without being your Facebook friend!

Facebook profile picture

Is your current Facebook profile picture appropriate for your business contacts?

If not update it now… and let your colleagues know if their pictures are unflattering.

You can try out the Outlook Facebook connector for yourself from this link. It works in Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. For Outlook 2013 users, it comes pre-installed.

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