Reduce Distraction by limiting New Email Notification to Important Emails Only

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

It can be quite annoying when you are in the middle of something important and you keep getting notifications “you’ve got email”.

Those small pop-up windows on the right bottom corner can really divert your attention especially when you are working on something that is very stressful or the work has come to a point which required a difficult decision… and you were hoping to find something easier to do in your Inbox… something to help you avoid the difficult decision… imagine getting a notification “Happy Hour Tonight from 6pm to 7pm” or “50% off on all iphones

I have personally turned off this notifications except for very important emails for example emails from clients and families.

In this post today, I will show you how to set email notifications for important emails only.

Firstly you will have to turn off all the desktop alerts:

  • Open Outlook
  • Click on the File tab > Options
  • Click on Mail in the left pane
  • Scroll down to the message arrival section and UNTICK the option for “Display a Desktop Alert
  • Click OK

This will now turn off all email notifications.

Next… we will be creating rules which will display the email notification for important emails only that meet the set criteria.

  • Go to your Inbox.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, go to the Home tab and click Rules > Manage Rules and Alerts

In Outlook 2007/2003, Click Tools > Rules and Alerts to display the Rules dialog box.

 outlook_rules_alert

  • Click the New Rule button to display the Rules Wizard screen.

 outlook_rules_wizard

  • 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. In Outlook 2010/2013, it would say “people or public group“)
  • 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!
  • Click Finish

The next time you receive an email from that person (like your Client/Boss), Outlook will display a message over everything else that you are working on.

This simple trick has helped me stay focused on real work and also made me efficient in deciding which emails need my attention first and which ones can wait.

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.

outlook_search

Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 0 )

Reasons why you should avoid using BCC for emails + Alternative Solution

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Outlook users BCC emails for two main reasons… sending sales/marketing emails or sending someone a copy of the email without letting the other recipients know. We strongly recommend that you DON’T use the BCC field for either purpose. Why?

  • Your sales/marketing emails will probably get caught in SPAM filters: Stuffing the TO/CC/BCC field with email addresses makes your email look like spam and it might be caught by the SPAM filters, which means your recipients might never receive your email about an important announcement/sale/event etc.
  • Your sales/marketing email might not get read even if it gets past the spam filter (because it looks too much like a sales email to the recipient)
  • If you used BCC to keep a recipient hidden from others, imagine what would happen if the hidden recipient did a reply-to-all! Suddenly the other recipients would be aware that you had been using BCC and depending on the nature of the email conversation, this may be viewed as dishonest or sneaky.

What to do instead of using the BCC field?

Send Personalized Individual emails (Marketing or Sales emails)

Your emails have a better chance of reaching the recipients inbox if it is personalized and addressed to that person.

You can either send the same email to the recipients one at a time (compose a new email and copy paste the content) which would be time consuming… or

You can use an easy mail merge tool like Email Merge for Outlook to send out personalized individual copies of the email to each recipient. Each recipient will get a personalized copy of the email which is addressed only to him/her.

Forward Emails (when you need to hide a recipient from the others)

If you need to send someone a copy of an email without others knowing about it, don’t BCC them on it. Instead send the email out to the “disclosed” list of recipients. Then forward a copy of the Sent email to the “hidden” recipient. Now if the hidden recipient reply’s to the email, the reply will only come to you.

Avoid accidental Reply-To-Alls yourself

If you or others in your organization are dealing with confidential information that you are BCCed on, you might want to also look at Send Guard for Outlook to avoid doing an accident Reply-to-all yourself!

Send Guard has special filters that check emails as you respond to them and as they are sent out.

A special prompt will warn you and ask for confirmation if you reply to an email on which you have been BCCed.

This can avoid the accidental disclosure to other recipients that we referred to earlier.

I hope you find this tip useful.

If you know of other email abuses or ways to avoid email abuses, share it with us by leaving a comment below

Related Posts:

How to create NON-SPAM emails that get opened and read

When to BCC Emails in Outlook

subsribe_now

Easily find special emails in Outlook by Color Coding them

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Here’s a quick tip that you can use to get Outlook to automatically display special emails in a different colour so that they stand out in your Inbox (or any other folder)

In this example we will be using this technique to display in green bold any emails that you have added notes to (using Email Notes for Outlook).

emails_highlight

Step By Step

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 ViewArrange ByCurrent ViewCustomize Current View to display the Customize View screen.

3. In Outlook 2013/2010, Click the Conditional Formatting… button
On all other versions of Outlook, click Automatic Formatting… button

4. Click the Add Button

5. Enter a name e.g. “Emails with Notes

6. Click the Font button and using the resulting screen to choose how you want emails to be highlighted (I chose the colour Green and Bold). Click OK to return to the previous screen.

7. Click the Conditions… button to display the Filter screen.

8. Click the Advanced Tab

9. Click the Field button > User-defined fields in Inbox > EmailNotes

10.  For the Condition: drop-down, select “is (exactly)” and for the Value: enter “Yes”.

11. Click Add to List

12. Now OK your way back to the Outlook Inbox

You should now notice that any emails with notes would appear in the format you have defined.

In this example we have used this technique to highlight emails with notes linked to them. You can also use the same technique to highlight any emails that are important to you (e.g. emails from you main clients/manager etc).

Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 0 )

Outlook Notes Tip: Why (and how) we need to make Notes on Emails in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Sunday, September 7th, 2014

I was at a friends office yesterday and observed him rummaging through his desk looking for email printouts… on which he had hand-written notes.  We got into a discussion on why we need to make notes on emails at all… and a way of making notes on emails directly in Outlook.

Why do we need to take notes on emails?

It turns out that many conversations are started via email… and then get added to by our own thoughts or phone calls or face-to-face meetings. Adding notes (handwritten or electronic) to emails just makes it easier to refer to the FULL conversation or take action later.

For example:

1. Emails from people outside our own companies are often followed by phone calls… it is convenient to record follow-up notes directly on the email so that all the information is in one place.

2. We often delegate things to other people in our team via email… and then clarify them via phone calls or face-to-face meetings. Recording details directly on the email makes it easier to check if a delegated task has been fully completed.

3. Similarly we may have work that has been delegated to us via email initially but then followed up by phone calls or face-to-face meetings. Recording details directly on the email improves our chances of carrying out the delegated tasks fully.

4. Like many people I have a habit of quickly scanning through my emails… if an email relates to something I can do easily, I take action… otherwise I work on it later but… I may have ideas immediately and it is useful to record it with the email… ready for me to use later. This way I don’t lose thoughts or ideas related to an email.

One way of writing notes on emails is to do what my friend used to do… print out the emails… handwrite on them… and hope you can find them later.

The downsides of this method are that we waste a lot of paper… and the emails and notes are difficult to find when we need them

There is an easier way… use Email Notes for Outlook… an Outlook addin that adds a button inside Outlook for you so that you can easily add, view, edit and print notes on emails… all from inside Outlook.

You can learn more about and download a fully functional version of Email Notes for Outlook from our website.

Here are what some existing customers say about Email Notes for Outlook.

I help people with insurance and Email Notes makes it so much easier for me to work. I make the note on the email lead and it makes it so much easier to keep myself organized. Those notes have made a difference in my closing ratio. – Jim Lambert

EmailNotes gives me an immediate way to jot a reminder to myself connected with the e-mail. Absolutely hassle-free installation and use with Outlook. Wonderful utility!! – Pam Rolph

I don’t have to print the email message, hand write a note on it, and then keep track of it on my desk. Eliminates extra desktop paper and the info doesn’t get accidentally put in a job folder lost forever. – Patrick J. O’Leary, Estimator/Project Manager

Hope you find this tip useful.

Let us know what you think about the tip or Email Notes by leaving a comment below.

subsribe_now

Add Unsubscribe Links to Emails Sent Using Email Merge

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Sunday, September 7th, 2014

A few weeks back we received an inquiry from a customer which read:

“do you have a simple , inexpensive bulk mailer program which I can use to send schedules , newsletters etc to targeted customers including an opt out option. I want a once off purchase – not a subscription service and I definitely don’t want to SPAM my customers as this will lose me business?”

A lot of you may already know what solution we would have offered the customer… Any Guesses?

Yes… our very own Email Merge for Outlook which basically meets all the requirements.

If you are new to Email MergeDownload our 30 day trial version to try it yourself and see just how simple and cost effective it can be for your email marketing needs.

One of the most commonly asked question we have had recently is…

How to add unsubscribe links to the mass emails sent using Email Merge?

In this post I will be showing you just how to add unsubscribe links and also managing your unsubscribe list using Email Merge.

Adding Unsubscribe links to emails

With the method of unsubscribe that I will be showing you, there will be a link in each email that you sent out, when the link is clicked, a new email will be created with pre-filled content and the subscriber can send that back to you. Here is how:

  • Open Outlook
  • Start the Email Merge wizard, move through the steps in the wizard till you reach the step to edit/compose your email
  • Start typing your email
  • Once done, please your cursor where you would like to add your unsubscribe link (I personally recommend right at the moment of your email)
  • Enter a text of your choice for the subscribe link for example “To cancel your subscription please click Unsubscribe”
  • Highlight all the text that you would like to create as a hyperlink. In this example I will only highlight the word “Unsubscribe”
  • Now click the Insert tab > click Hyperlinks. This will open the following screen:

insert_hyperlink

  • On the right side under “Link to:”, select E-mail Address
  • In E-mail Address:, enter the address on which you could like to receive the unsubscribe notification.
  • In Subject:, enter “Unsubscribe from Newsletter” or something similar with the word Unsubscribe in it
  • Click OK

This will now create a hyperlink in your emails. Your newsletter subscribers can request to opt out by simply clicking on the link and sending the notification email to you.

How to Manage unsubscribe using Email Merge

You will now be required to use the Do Not Send To list feature to manage your unsubscribe requests.

To Open the Do not Send List:

In Outlook go to your Inbox, click on the little arrow beside(below) the EmailMerge button on the Toolbar/Ribbon.

Click Do not Send List. The application will open the following screen:

 

1. Add an email-address to Do not Send List:

Click Add, the application will display the following screen:

 

You can add email address(s) to the Do not Sent list using 1 of the 3 options below:

  • Manually add the new items to the list – Select this option if you would like to type-in the email addresses manually. (Enter 1 email address per line)
  • Email address (sender) of currently selected email(s) – Select this option if you want Email Merge to automatically add email addresses for the emails you have already selected in the current folder. The email address of the sender will be added to the Do not Sent List.
  • Emails in current folder with unsubscribe/bounce back words in subject

For the purpose of this example, I will select the last option as the unsubscribe email will have the keyword “Unsubscribe” in it.

You may also find that certain emails addresses on your list are no longer valid as emails you send are bounced back. EmailMerge can automatically add addresses of the above to the Do not Send List by comparing words in the Subject fields.

You can edit the list of words by clicking on Maintain Word List to add, delete or reset the Word list to default.

Now click Next and Email Merge will automatically add all email address with the keyword Unsubscribe in the subject to the Do Not Send To list.

You can repeat the above steps after each newsletter or email campaign to ensure that people who have unsubscribed are added to the list and not contacted further as this could really annoy them.

Here are a few reasons why you maybe want to try Email Merge:

  • It’s a simple tool that works directly inside Outlook
  • It’s one of the most inexpensive bulk mailer program
  • It allows you to send newsletters and even schedule the time for sending emails
  • There are no monthly subscription fee’s… just a once off purchase
  • It lets you send out personalized emails therefore reduces the chances of SPAM
  • Lastly the new “Do Not Send To List” feature even allows you to manage unsubscribes.

Hope you find this tip useful

Let us know what you think of this tip or Email Merge by leaving a comment below.

subsribe_now

How to Snooze Multiple Reminders At Once in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Setting up reminders on Task is simple and quite handy because with so much to do, we are likely to miss or forget about other important tasks that might be due.

BUT the overwhelming part is when you are in the middle of something very important and the Reminder Pop-up comes with several tasks. There is two things you might do at this point:

  • Click on the red X button to close the Pop-up screen or
  • Select each individual task and set a snooze time for it to reappear later

The second option is time-consuming and frustrating when you’re in a middle of something important and have no time to waste.

Get frustrated no more, here is a simple tip that will let you “Select All” Tasks and snooze them all at once:

  • When the Reminder Pop-up appears:
  • Select the First item in the list
  • Press Shift on your keyword
  • Select the Last item. This should now select all the items in the list as shown below:

  • Set the Snooze time from the drop-down
  • Click Snooze

This should now snooze all the items in the list to the time specified by you so you can continue with your important task on hand.

Did you find this tip useful? let us know by leaving a comment below.

Looking for a simple Task Management tool for Outlook… try our eeminders for Outlook addin.

Categories : Outlook Calendar Tip, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 0 )

How to Tag (Categorize) Emails in Outlook so that it is easier to find them later

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

In the last post I showed you how most Outlook users were changing the subject of the emails to make the email findable later.

I don’t personally change the Subject of emails. Instead I use Email Tags to tag my emails with keywords for searching later.

My suggestion appeared to grab the attention of a lot of Outlook user’s who were till date changing the subject of their email BECAUSE there was no other way of making the emails findable. They requested me to elaborate more on what EmailTag was and how to use it.

I realized there might be others facing the same problem so thought to do a blog post explaining about Email Tags.

There has been a shift away from filing things into folders and to using tags/categories over the last few years. This can be seen in programs such as EverNote, Gmail, Picasa… Here is a simple way that you can apply tagging to your emails in Outlook.

We built Email Tags for Outlook on top of Outlook categories to give you the perfect email tagging (and finding) solution.

Outlook’s built-in categories provide a good start to email tagging because they allow the same email to have more than one category.

Here is how Email Tags makes it even better.

How to tag an Outlook email using Email Tags

Email Tags adds a couple of buttons to your Outlook ribbon/toolbar.

Click Tag It to display the Email Tags screen.

 

Email Tags has built in intelligence to recommend tags to you. Alternatively you can type in a new tag or select a tag from your list of tags directly on that screen.

You can even choose to file the email out of your Inbox with the tag, all in one step.

Email Tags will also prompt you to tag your Sent Emails so that all your emails are organized properly.

Video: How to organize and find emails using tags instead of folders

How to search for emails that you have tagged in Outlook

The main reason for tagging emails is so that they are easy to find later. Finding tagged Outlook emails is easy if you’re a Email Tags user.

Just click the Search button on the Email Tags toolbar to display a full list of your tags.

Click on a Tag (in the list) and Outlook will carry out a Search and display all relevant emails to you.

Watch demo video of Email Tags for Outlook

If you haven’t tried Email Tags yet, you can download a fully functional 30 day trial to see just how easy it is to organize and find emails using tags instead of folders.

oi_search

Bonus Tip #5: Fix up Email Subjects so that it is easier to find emails later

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, August 21st, 2014

This again is NOT something that I do or recommend. I prefer to leave received emails exactly as they are. However several users asked if it was possible to change the Email Subject so that it is easier to find the email later.

Here’s how…

  • Open the email by double-clicking on it.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010 , go to the Message tab > click the Actions button under the Actions group > click Edit Message
  • For Outlook 2007 > Click Other Actions -> Edit.
  • For Outlook 2003 > click Edit -> Edit message.
  • Now make any changes that you need to (The Subject can also be changed even though it appears to be read-only).
  • Click Save (or close the email and you will be prompted to Save it).

NOTE: I don’t personally change the Subject of emails. Instead I use Email Tags to tag my emails with keywords for searching later.

Let us know of any other ways you use to easily find your emails in Outlook by leaving a comment below.

oi_search

Related Post:

BONUS TIPS: Fine-Tuning your Email Filing System (Even More)

Bonus Tip #2: Compact your Outlook Data for Better Performance

Bonus Tip #3: BCC yourself on important emails (or use a Rule to copy sent emails to your Inbox)

Bonus Tip #4: Create Tasks or Calendar Items for Emails that need your action

Bonus Tip #4: Create Tasks or Calendar Items for Emails that need your action

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

If you use the Outlook Calendar or Tasks List to get your work done, here’s a quick tip on how to convert emails to appointments or tasks.

Why might you need this? Like me, you probably get a lot of requests to get things done via email. You also probably send many emails that you want to follow up on. I personally do not use my Tasks List or Calendar for this (I use eeminders for Outlook addin which lets me use my Inbox as my To Do list. However if you use your Tasks List or Calendar, this is what you can do.

Options 1: (FREE) Create a Task or Appointment from Emails

To create a Task or Calendar item from an email…

1. Make sure that your folders are displayed in Outlook.

2. Right-click on the email (and keep the right button pressed) and then drag-and-drop the email into your Calendar or Tasks folder. Three options will be displayed (Copy with Attachment, Copy with Text and Move with Attachment).

3. I normally select Move or Copy with Attachment. This allows me to open the resulting task (or calendar item) which has the email attached to it. I can then double-click on the attached email and Reply or Forward it as needed.

Option 2: File and create the appointment/task automatically when you click Send

If you send out a lot of emails that you need to follow up on, I would recommend QuickFile for Outlook. It automatically prompts you every time you send an email out. The email will be filed to the correct folder after it is sent and your follow-up task or calendar item will be created for you.

send&file

Option 3: Get your reminders at the top of your Inbox on the correct day and time

I have personally found that I forget to look at my Calendar and Task List and as a result many actions get left undone. I have started using eeminders which shows me what I need to work on at the top of my Inbox. You can watch a demo video or download a trial version of eeminders for Outlook from here.

I hope you find this tips useful.

Do you know of other ways to schedule your work and complete them on time?

Share it with us by leaving a comment below.

subsribe_now

Related Post:

BONUS TIPS: Fine-Tuning your Email Filing System (Even More)

Bonus Tip #2: Compact your Outlook Data for Better Performance

Bonus Tip #3: BCC yourself on important emails (or use a Rule to copy sent emails to your Inbox)

Bonus Tip #3: BCC yourself on important emails (or use a Rule to copy sent emails to your Inbox)

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Welcome back folks… today we are sharing with you another tip which was shared by a Outlook user.

This is not something that I do myself but I am sharing this as several users indicated that they use these technique. Some background first…

Several readers said that they prefer to have emails that they need to follow up on in their Inbox i.e. after they have sent an email; they would like to have a copy of the email in their Inbox too. The two techniques shared by users were:

BCC Yourself on emails that you need to follow up on
This is easy… simply BCC yourself on emails that you are sending out and you want/need to follow up on.

After the email is sent, you will also receive a copy in your Inbox. Because you have BCC’ed yourself, the other recipients will not know that you were also a recipient.

Or Use a Rule to copy sent emails to your Inbox
You can also setup a Rule to copy ALL emails that you send to your Inbox. Once the email copies arrive in your Inbox, manually Delete the emails that you don’t need to follow-up on.

As mentioned earlier… I don’t use this technique myself but users say that the extra Delete step takes almost no time.

I personally think having copies of emails in your inbox that you will not be working on immediately can be distracting and unproductive… having so many emails in the inbox makes me feel I haven’t done my work today (when in fact I have)

How I personally organize my Follow-ups in Outlook you may ask?

Well in my most biased opinion… I personally use eeminders for Outlook and like the fact that it automatically pops a reminder for emails that I need to deal with on the day that I actually need to deal with it.

  • This does not cause my Inbox to be cluttered with follow-up emails and
  • I don’t have to scroll through emails to find the one I need to deal with. Eeminders reminders me when I need to work on a email.

There is no right or wrong way of doing this… it’s just a matter of preference so I leave the choice to you to choose the best method that suits your style of work.

If you are interested to try eeminders, you can download a fully functional 30 day trial from our website.

Let us know which method you prefer by leaving a comment below.

subsribe_now

Related Post:

BONUS TIPS: Fine-Tuning your Email Filing System (Even More)

Bonus Tip #2: Compact your Outlook Data for Better Performance

Search Blog