Tip #5 of 8: File your e-mails using the same folder structure as you do for your paper files

By standss · Comments ( 1 ) Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Welcome back folks to yet another week of email management tips.

I had several readers emailing me and asking why the next tip was not posted and when it would be available.

First of all I would like to apologise for the delay in posting this week’s tip… I had intentionally delayed the post for several reasons:

  1. I had mentioned in my first post that I will be posting the tips in the order that I feel would give you a simple and efficient email management system. Several readers wrote back to me saying they were busy and were unable to read the old tips… so I thought to give them a bit of time to catch up.
  2. I wanted to make sure that everybody had enough time to setup the multiple Outlook Data files structure discussed last week.
  3. Lastly… I wanted to know if readers were following the post or not. Based on the number of emails I received as a result of the delay… readers are definitely interested and finding this tips useful… Thank you all for that.

So… without any further delay let’s get straight into this week’s tip.

I have seen clients with thousands of e-mails in the Inbox and Sent Items folders. I have even seen clients using their Deleted Items folder to store old e-mails.

Do you use your trash can to file your important papers? 

Many of our clients file paper copies of their e-mails because they don’t have a system for filing electronic copies. Even if you file paper copies of your e-mails, having an email filing system will make it significantly faster and easier to locate correspondence.

How should you file your e-mails?

The same way you file paper documents – create a separate folder inside Outlook for each project and then file all e-mails for the project into the folder.

If you don’t know how to create folders inside Outlook, here’s how:

  • In Outlook 2013/2013, click on the Folder tab > New Folder
    In Outlook 2007/2003, click File > New > Folder to display the Create New Folder screen.

create_folder

  • Enter a Name for your folder.
  • Select Mail & Post Items in the Folder Contains list.
  • Use the list displayed under “Select where to place the folder” to choose the folder’s location.
  • Click OK. The folder will be created as a subfolder of the location you selected in the previous step

You should use the new PST file created in the previous Tip to file your e-mails. This will ensure that the main PST file that Outlook uses stays small and fast.

We recommend the following folder structure. Create two folders in your Projects PST file called:

Active Projects
Completed Projects

(You can have other top level folders for other important areas in your life called Personal, etc)

Under the Active Projects folder create separate folders for each active project that you are working on. Whenever you receive or send an e-mail that you want to keep, move it to its appropriate project folder.

Name the folders anyway you like. The three common ways are:

  • Have a separate folder for each client
  • Have a separate folder for each project
  • Have a separate folder for each client and then have folders under it for each project for that particular client.

We use project based filing (and not client based filing at our office). However we name our folders in a way that makes it very easy to know both the project and client. Our folder naming convention is:

<Client>-<Project> 

Using the above naming convention, your folders will look something like this:

folder_structure

Note that in the list, the user is working on two projects for John Smith.

This structure works well because:

  1. When you open the Projects folder, you get to see a list of all current projects in one place.
  2. Multiple Projects for a client are shown right next to each other because of the way the folders are named.
  3. It is easy to archive old projects – When a project is completed simply drag its folder from the Active Projects folder to the Completed Projects folder. You don’t need to then find the client folder first.

Time to join the conversation – what do you think?

I hope that you find the tip today useful… try to implement this simple email filing structure and you will see how easy it becomes to file, find and archive e-mails later.

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. Feel free to share your own experience and the filing system that you use to keep your inbox clean and organized with our readers.

If you have not subscribed to our blog yet, JOIN US today so we can notify you when we post the tips on our blog.

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Here are links to the earlier tips we have discussed so far in case you missed out:

Tip #1 of 8: Turn Off Auto-Archiving in Outlook
You should archive e-mails as projects are completed. Don’t disorganize yourself by archiving based on dates.

Tip #2 of 8: Think carefully before using Outlook Rules
Rules can cause you to miss taking action on certain e-mails and also filing them into incorrect folders.

Tip #3 of 8: Find out where your Outlook data file is and backup regularly
How can you be sure that your Outlook data is being backed up if you don’t know where it is?

Tip #4 of 8: Split your Outlook data into more than one file
This technique will stop your e-mail file from getting bloated, slow and eventually corrupting itself and dying.

Tip #4 of 8: Split your Outlook data into more than one file

By standss · Comments ( 2 ) Thursday, June 19th, 2014

We are back this week to continue with the 8 simple tips for email management in Microsoft Outlook.

In the last tip, I showed you where the Outlook Data file is stored by default and why you should regularly back up the data file. But did you know…

Outlook is configured (by default) to eventually corrupt itself and lose
some or maybe even all your data?

Backing up your Outlook data is one way to avoid data loss but there is an even better way to avoid this disastrous incident…

Tip# 4: Split your Outlook data into more than one file
This technique will stop your e-mail file from getting bloated, slow and eventually corrupting itself and dying.

Outlook by default saves all its e-mails into one file.

Prior to Outlook 2003, there was a limitation of 2 GB to your Outlook data file. Although 2 GB seems like a lot, this space can be filled quickly particularly if you receive a lot of attachments.

Once you reach that limit, there is no real warning. Outlook just slows down, e-mails start getting lost and in some cases Outlook just stops opening altogether. Retrieving your e-mails from this corrupt PST is a nightmare.

In Outlook 2003, you have the option of using the new Unicode format of Outlook data file which can hold much more data. However if you upgraded Outlook from an earlier version then chances are that you are still using the older format with the 2 GB limitation.

Irrespective of whether you are using the new or old format data file, you should split your Outlook data into at least 2 files.

Your main PST file should not be used like a filing cabinet for old e-mails. Create a separate PST file to save e-mails that you want to keep for future reference. This leaves your main Outlook data file lean and mean so that Outlook is able to open up quickly.

To create a new Outlook data file:

For Outlook 2013/2010:

  1. Click on Home tab
  2. Select New Items > More Items > Outlook Data File…
  3. Outlook suggests a default location for the file. I recommend that you change this to a folder that you backup regularly, possible a sub-folder in your My Documents.
  4. Enter a filename and click OK to create the file.

For Outlook 2003/2007:

  1. Click File > New > Outlook Data File
  2. Outlook 2003 Only: Outlook 2003 uses two types of Outlook data files. If you will be using the data only in Outlook 2003 or later, choose MS Outlook Personal Folders File. Otherwise choose the Outlook 97-2002 option.
  3. Outlook suggests a default location for the file. I recommend that you change this to a folder that you backup regularly, possible as sub-folder in your My Documents.
  4. Enter a filename and click OK to create the file.

You can create as many Personal Folder files as you need. Most users only need to create one in addition to the one that Outlook creates by default.

PST 1: Default Folder created by Outlook
PST 2: Use to store Project, Case or Client E-mails

You will be moving e-mails from PST 1 to PST 2 as I will show you in the upcoming tips.

If you have a very high volume of e-mails (particularly with large attachments) you may want to have 2 PST files for your Project E-mails, one for Active projects and one for Completed projects.

What’s Next?

By now I’m sure you have started backing up your Outlook data file regularly and following today’s post, I would recommend that you create the multiple data files and prepare for the upcoming posts in which we start organizing our emails and filing them in an efficient way so that it is easy to find and retrieve for future use.

Till next time… have a better Outlook.

Time to join the conversation – what do you think?

I hope that you found the tips so far useful in our quest for a better email management system.

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. Feel free to share your own experience and the filing system that you use to keep your inbox clean and organized with our readers.

If you have not subscribed to our blog yet, JOIN US today so we can notify you when we post the tips on our blog.

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Here are links to the earlier tips we have discussed so far in case you missed out:

Tip #1: Turn Off Auto-Archiving in Outlook
You should archive e-mails as projects are completed. Don’t disorganize yourself by archiving based on dates.

Tip 2: Think carefully before using Outlook Rules
Rules can cause you to miss taking action on certain e-mails and also filing them into incorrect folders.

Tip 3: Find out where your Outlook data file is and backup regularly
How can you be sure that your Outlook data is being backed up if you don’t know where it is?

Creating Email List by Exporting Email Addresses from Emails to CSV

By standss · Comments ( 1 ) Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

In one of our older posts, we showed Outlook users how to export outlook contacts to a CSV file so that the contact list can be used with email marketing tools to send mail merges.

We had several readers write back to us asking a common question:

“Is there a way to extract email addresses from emails directly to external files like CSV…”

If you have this question in mind as well… The answer is YES!!!

What’s even better is that you don’t need to purchase a new software to do this… you can use Outlook’s in-built Export feature to get this done.

Here’s how…

  • The first thing you need to do is move/copy all the emails you wish to extract into a separate folder. For example you can create a folder called “Export” or “Email List”.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, click File > Options > click on Advanced from the left pane > Scroll down and click on the Export button
  • For Outlook 2007/2003, On the main menu Click File > Import and Export…
  • Click Export to a file > click Next > Select Comma Separated Values (Windows) > click Next >
  • On the next screen, select the folder which contains the emails from which you wish to extract the email addresses
  • Click the Browse… button to specify a location and file name for the new file.
  • Click Next > Click Finish.

This should now extract the email address (and other information) from the emails to the new CSV file.

Wondering how this tip is handy?

If you do not want to invest in expensive, subscription-based, online email marketing systems, you can use Outlook and Email Merge for the same.

You can use the steps provided in this post to extract email addresses of your potential clients following a conference, seminar or any other event (who have contacted you) to a CSV file. You could also add them to your Contacts folder but this will be time-consuming as you will have to create each contact individually.

Once all email addresses are in the CSV file, you can use Email Merge for Outlook to create and send personalized emails to your mailing list. With Email Merge, you can send out unlimited number of emails, there is no monthly or yearly fee’s and you can load unlimited contacts from Outlook contacts and external files like CSV, Excel or even Access.

Hope you find this tip useful.

Do you know of other ways the Export feature can be handy?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Tip #3 of 8: Find out where your Outlook data file is and backup regularly

By standss · Comments ( 3 ) Friday, June 13th, 2014

As promised, here I’m with Tip #3 which I personally feel is the most important as it deals with keeping your Outlook data safe from data loss. I don’t even want to imagine the consequences of losing all my emails, contacts, appointments etc for even a day.

Before we get into that, I hope you have had the chance to read the earlier 2 tips, if not here is the link:
Tips 1 & 2 of 8 Simple Tips for Email Management

SO…

How can you be sure that your Outlook data is being backed up if you don’t know where it is?

I am frequently surprised with the number of users who have no idea where their Outlook data is actually saved on their computers.

Unless you are part of a corporate network using MS Exchange, all your Outlook data is stored in one Personal Folders file. This file has a .pst extension and is saved somewhere on your computer. This one file contains all your Outlook folders, e-mails, contacts, tasks, calendar items, journal entries and notes inside it.

So where is this file on your computer?

The exact location depends on the version of Outlook and Windows you are using but unfortunately it is almost never saved in a place you will remember to backup.

To find out where your Outlook data is:

1. Go to your Inbox and make sure that the list of folders is displayed

2. Right-click the top-level folder and select Properties

3. Click the Advanced button. The filename will be displayed in the box labeled FileName.

You need to make sure that you regularly backup this file to a CD, DVD or external hard-disk.

Please make sure that you are backing up your outlook data regularly.

What’s Next?

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

Scary right… but not to worry, in the next tip, I will show you a technique that will stop your e-mail file from getting bloated, slow and eventually corrupting itself and dying.

Till next time… have a better Outlook.

Time to join the conversation – what do you think?

I hope that you found the tips so far useful in our quest for a better email management system.

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. Feel free to share your own experience and the filing system that you use to keep your inbox clean and organized with our readers.

If you have not subscribed to our blog yet, JOIN US today so we can notify you when we post the tips on our blog.

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Tips 1 & 2 of 8 Simple Tips for Email Management

By standss · Comments ( 4 ) Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Hope you all had an awesome weekend and now are ready to get started with the exciting journey to overcome a common problem… Email Overload.

There is no better time than the start of the week to get this battle going as your inbox must already be filled with emails from the weekend and you are wondering how to get over it.

If you are planning to archive this emails or moving them using Rules, then that’s a big NO NO!!!.

Let’s find out why…

Tip #1: Turn Off Auto-Archiving in Outlook
You should archive e-mails as projects are completed. Don’t disorganize yourself by archiving based on dates.

“Time is wasted due to delays in trying to work out if the item I am looking for is in current or archive folders ” – (Norman)

Outlook can automatically reduce the size of your data file by removing old e-mails and putting them in a separate file. TURN THIS OFF NOW!

I will show you a better method of archiving later.

Why shouldn’t you use Auto Archive?

Your work is logically divided into projects or cases. Some projects can take months whereas others may take years. Until a project is complete, all e-mails for the project should be visible in one place.

Using Auto Archive will split your e-mails into multiple files which will compound the problem of finding e-mails while a project is active and of archiving e-mails once the project is completed.

SO… if you thought auto-archiving your email was helping you keep Inbox email clean and organized… think again?

Technically you are wasting the same amount of time finding your emails in separate folders as you would have in your Inbox.

TURN AUTO-ARCHIVE OFF NOW!

To turn off Auto-Archiving:

For Outlook 2013/2010:

  1. Click File menu > Options
  2. Select Advanced
  3. Click on AutoArchive Settings…
  4. Remove the tick next to Run AutoArchive

For Outlook 2003/2007:

  1. Click Tools > Options
  2. Select the Other Tab.
  3. Click the Auto Archive button.
  4. Remove the tick next to Run AutoArchive

This should now stop auto-archiving of your emails… which is the first step forward to a better email management system.

Tip 2: Think carefully before using Outlook Rules
Rules can cause you to miss taking action on certain e-mails and also filing them into incorrect folders.

The three main problems with Rules are:

Problem 1 – E-mails get moved out of the Inbox without you seeing them: Your Inbox is meant to be an action-list. It should show you, in one place, all e-mails that you still need to read and work on.

Problem 2 – Rules shift e-mails out of your Inbox before you have a chance to see them: This means that you have to remember to check other folders for your action list which can result in e-mails getting over-looked.

Problem 3 – E-mails get moved into the wrong folder: If you are working with the same person on more than one project, it is very difficult for an automated system to actually decide what project the e-mail relates to. There is no way to ensure that every e-mail for a project has a word in it that your Rules filter catches.

What’s Next?

We have only started so stay tuned for Tip #3 later this week in which I will be showing you how to keep your Outlook data (emails, contacts, calendar items etc) safe from data loss.

Till next time… have a better Outlook.

Time to join the conversation – what do you think?

I hope that you find the first 2 tips useful in our quest for a better email management system.

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. Feel free to share your own experience and the filing system that you use to keep your inbox clean and organized with our readers.

If you have not subscribed to our blog yet, JOIN US today so we can notify you when we post the tips on our blog.

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8 Simple tips for Email Management in Microsoft Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, June 5th, 2014

During the recent launch of our newest QuickFile for Outlook addin, we carried out survey’s and also spoke to a few readers and customers personally to find out if they needed help with filing and retrieving emails. This is what I found out…

Many users still do NOT have a system for filing their emails. Even users who KNEW they needed a system were not using one … They either don’t have the time or enough information to get started.

The top 3 reasons reported by users for not implementing an email management system are:

Reason #1: Outlook’s built-in automatic filing tools (Rules and Auto-Archive) don’t seem to move things logically for me!

I agree 100%! That’s why in tips #1 and #2 of this upcoming blog post tips series I advise you to turn these features OFF. We’re going to show you an easier way… that still does not need anything outside Outlook or learning a new software.

Reason #2: I don’t have the time.

I think a reader said it best…

When should I file? If I am busy with work then e-mails just build up, if I am busy with e-mails, my work does not get done. (John)

In the next few weeks we’re going to introduce to you a system that takes very little extra time but still gets all your filing done. In the next few weeks, we’ll show you some additional tips to bring the time down to (almost) zero.

Reason #3: How should I structure my email management system… there seems to be so many different ways of doing this.

I like to keep things as simple as possible so I normally recommend to my clients… Create a folder structure inside Outlook that matches the way you file your paper documents. It makes it much easier to find emails (or for that matter anything) later if they’re all filed using the same system.

You can create and use a simple email management system TODAY… with nothing more than Outlook.  This system is already being used by thousands of our customers around the world.  Let’s get started…

In the next few weeks, I will be providing step-by-step instructions for a VERY SIMPLE email management system that will work for any businessperson who works with clients, projects or cases.  Use these simple tips to:

  1. Ensure that your Outlook data file does not get bloated, slow-down and eventually corrupt itself and die (causing possible loss of some if not all your e-mails
  2. Backup the correct Outlook data files in case of hardware failure
  3. Organize your emails so that your E-mail Folders matches your paper filing structure
  4. File your e-mails in a way that lets you quickly see all correspondence (incoming, out-going, to and from anyone) for a project quickly and easily in one place
  5. Get some control over your e-mails and use your Inbox like a proper In-tray holding only the items that need your attention.
  6. Easily archive e-mails for completed projects with other electronic documents (Word files, Excel files etc) for the same project.
  7. Quickly find specific e-mails for a project.

By now you all must be wondering if this is going to be a
FREE tips series or will you have to pay to join?

The tips that I will be sharing with you in the next few weeks has been shared to me by YOU so how can it be charged, therefore this is an absolutely FREE tips series.

I will be posting the tips on this blog in the order that I feel would give you a simple and efficient email management system so I recommend that you go through the tips in the order in which they are presented as they build on each other.

If you have not subscribed to our blog yet, JOIN US today so we can notify you when we post the tips on our blog.

Whats next?

In Tip #1 and #2 next week, I will be showing you why you should not be using Outlook’s Auto-Archiving and Rules feature and how to turn it OFF.

Till then… Have a Better Outlook.

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QuickFile for Outlook Add-in Update (Free)

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

I know that it’s only been a few weeks since we released the new version of QuickFile but we’ve had so much great feedback from users that we felt had to be implemented and put out there for you to use right now.

This update is free for all existing registered users of version 5.

Fixes and Features in this upgrade include:

  • Show Sub folders: In previous versions of QuickFile, it was possible to see subfolders of a folder (after searching for it). We’ve put this feature back in Version 5 and done a separate blog post on how to use it.
  • Remove suggestions: Folder recommendations in QuickFile are significantly more accurate in QuickFile Version 5. However there may be cases where you want to remove a suggestion. You can do this now by right clicking over the suggestion on the QuickFile screen as shown in this blog post.
  • Significant speed improvement when moving emails: Some users found that QuickFile as a sometimes slow when moving emails. We’ve rewritten the moving code.
  • Bug Fixes: There were a number of small bugs in other screens that have been tidied up.

Click to download the updated version (or a fully functional trial version) of the QuickFile Outlook addon.

Registered Users: Download the trial version and install it on your computer. It will automatically pick up your existing registration and settings.

New to QuickFile: Click QuickFile for Outlook Version 5 for more information on the easiest way to file and find your emails in Outlook.

Showing subfolders in QuickFile Version 5

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

QuickFile makes it easy to find a folder but what do you do if you need to see its subfolders too. Previous versions of QuickFile showed you the folders in a way that let you expand folders to show its subfolders. Here’s how to view subfolders in QuickFile Version 5.

Please note that this feature is only available in QuickFile 5.0.5252. If you need to, you can download the latest version of QuickFile for Outlook from here.

Open the QuickFile screen by clicking on QuickFile or Find & Goto on the ribbon.

Blog image 2

Right click over any folder in the Best section.

Click Show Subfolders in Search Results.

The setting will be saved for you and used in all future searches. You can changes it by repeating the steps above.

Please let us know if you find this feature useful by leaving a comment below.

New to QuickFile: Click QuickFile for Outlook Version 5 for more information on the easiest way to file and find your emails in Outlook.

Removing Suggestions in QuickFile Version 5

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Folder recommendations in QuickFile are significantly more accurate in QuickFile Version 5. However there may be cases where you want to remove a suggestion (e.g. if you accidentally used a folder).

Step by Step

Open the QuickFile screen by clicking on QuickFile or Find & Goto on the ribbon.

blog image

Right click over any folder in the Best section.

Click Remove from Best.

If the suggestion was for this particular contact or conversation, it will be removed from the list of suggestions.

New to QuickFile: Click QuickFile for Outlook Version 5 for more information on the easiest way to file and find your emails in Outlook.

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Saving (Exporting) Outlook emails with your other files

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Friday, May 16th, 2014

Here’s a quick tip on how you can save one or more emails outside of Outlook. This is very useful if you want to save your emails on your harddisk in Client folders along with Word files etc.

Step-by-step

Go to the folder (inside Outlook) that has the emails.

Select the email you want to export out of Outlook (You can also select multiple emails by holding down the CTRL button on the keyboard and then clicking on the emails).

Click File-Save As.

Enter a filename.

Choose a format from the drop-down.

Click Save.

What format should you use?

The two common formats that you can use are:

Outlook Message Format (msg): This creates a copy of the entire emails outside Outlook for you and has any attachments etc still as part of the email. This only works when you are exporting single emails. You will also need to have Outlook to view the message in the future.

Text Only (txt): This creates a plain text file (all formatting and attachments are removed). This option is also available when you try to export multiple emails… all emails are put in the one text document with header information (date/sender/recipient/Subject) clearly identifying each email.

What about exporting to PDF?

Outlook cannot export directly to PDF format. However if you are using QuickFile for Outlook-Ultimate Edition<http://www.standss.com/quickfile>, you can export all or selected emails from any folder into a PDF file. The PDF file will have a clickable table of contents (list of emails in date order) at the top and will also have links to all attachments.

On the QuickFile section of the Ribbon, click More Actions-Export Emails.

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