How to name your Outlook Email Folders

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Eeminders

If you use Outlook folders to file customer, project or case/matter emails, here is a simple naming system that will help you both file and find emails later.

If you already have an Outlook based email filing system you are happy with, find out how you can file 90% of your emails to the correct folders at the click of one button.

Your folder name should contain the following 3 parts:

Client Name: Needs no explanation but remember that the same client may have multiple projects.

Project/Matter Number (Optional): Many firms assign unique numbers to each project/matter. This number is then used in all correspondence etc. related to that project.

Project/Matter Description: A brief description of the project/matter

I recommend using those 3 part in the order shown below.

CLIENT_NAME PROJECT_NUMBER PROJECT_DESCRIPTION

For example: Acme Corporation 2017-01 Wile E Coyote Vs Roadrunner

(If you don’t use project/case/matter numbers, just leave out the project number part e.g. Acme Corporation – Wile E Coyote Vs Roadrunner)

Naming your folders in this way provides some very specific advantages for both when you want to file and find your emails later.

1. You can see all projects/matters for a particular client together in next to each other (since the folders are shown alphabetically in Outlook).

2. It is easy to identify what is in a folder even if you don’t know the project/matter number since the folder name contains both the client’s name and description.

3. If you use an Outlook addon such as QuickFile to search for folders, folders are much easier to find because you have many ways to search including the client name, project/matter number or any word from its description.

I hope that this short article helps you to make your email folders and more importantly your emails better organized. If you have many folders then we also recommend QuickFile for Outlook.

sale

Categories : QuickFile, QuickFile for Outlook Comments ( 0 )

Best Practices for Creating an Email Filing System in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Eeminders

In this post we define best practices for an Email Filing System that will work for lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects and other professionals who do work on discrete projects (or matters if you are a lawyer).

The simplest system that you can use for organizing your emails is based on having a separate folder for each project/matter.

This is easy for everyone to understand since folder based filing is something that we all know from the paper world.

We will cover 2 Simple Rules that you need to follow and create and name the folders so that emails are easy to file and to find later. We finish with a final tip on how to separate Current Projects/Matters from Closed Projects/Matters.

Once you have read this article, you may also want to look at QuickFile for Outlook which automates the filing of finding of emails in your email filing system.

2 Simple Rules

There are only 2 simple rules that you need to follow.

1. Create a separate folder for each project/matter
2. File ALL (both incoming and outgoing) emails for the project/matter into the folder.

Follow the above two rules and you will be able to find all related emails for a project/matter easily when you need to.

The trick however is to name your folders in such a way that the folders (and therefore the emails) are easy to find when you need them later.

How to name your email folders

There are up to 3 pieces of information that you can use to name your folders.

Client Name: Needs no explanation but remember that the same client may have multiple projects.
Project/Matter Number (Optional): Many firms assign unique numbers to each project/matter. This number is then used in all correspondence etc. related to that project.
Project/Matter Description: A brief description of the project/matter

Assuming that your organization assigns numbers to projects, we recommend that you name your email folders inside Outlook as follows.
CLIENT_NAME PROJECT_NUMBER PROJECT_DESCRIPTION
For example: Acme Corporation 2017-01 Wile E Coyote Vs Roadrunner

If you do not use project/matter numbers, just leave them out so your format is
CLIENT NAME – PROJECT_DESCRIPTION
For example: Acme Corporation – Wile E Coyote Vs Roadrunner

What are the advantages of naming your folders in this way?

Naming your folders in this way provides some very specific advantages for both when you want to file and find your emails later.

1. You can see all projects/matters for a particular client together in next to each other (since the folders are shown alphabetically in Outlook).
2. It is easy to identify what is in a folder even if you don’t know the project/matter number since the folder name contains both the client’s name and description.
3. Folders are easy to find using folder search tools like Find&Goto folder in QuickFile for Outlook because you can search using the client name, project/matter number or any word from its description.

Note: You may have seen system where users create folders for clients and then create the project/matter folders under them. I personally don’t recommend that because it creates an unnecessary level you have to drill down into when looking for emails. The folders are also not that easy to find using Search tools because Project folders do not contain client names and vice versa.

Separating Current Projects from Completed Projects

It is highly likely that you work on many projects and most of these projects are not ongoing forever i.e. they get completed and closed at some point in time.

We recommend that you create two top level folders to deal with this.
A_Current_Projects (or A_Current_Matters)
B_Completed_Projects (or B_Completed_Matters)

(I have named the folders with the A_ and B_ in front of their names so that Current Projects is listed before Completed Projects as Outlook sorts the folders alphabetically). Now…

Create folders for your new and existing projects in the Current Projects folder.

Once a project is completed move the entire folder out of the Current Projects folder into the Completed Projects folder.

Using the Filing System while still doing your real work

I hope that you find the guidelines from this post useful in either setting up or refining your own email filing system… and remember to file emails from both your Inbox and Sent Items folders into the dedicated project/matter folders.

If you work with many emails and many projects, you may find that filing emails takes too much time away from your real work. If that is the case we recommend you download 30 day trial of QuickFile for Outlook which makes it easy to find folders, file 90% of inbox emails at the click of one button, and send and file outgoing emails in one step.

Finally, if you have your own ideas for email systems or need more detailed instructions (maybe by video), please let us know by leaving a comment.

sale

Quick Steps: Add shortcuts to the Outlook ribbon to file your emails

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Quick Steps: Add shortcuts to the Outlook ribbon to file your emails

This week we continue our series on automating Outlook using it’s built in Quick-Steps feature. I will show you how to use Quick-Steps to add buttons to your Ribbon that will let you file emails to any folder at the click of a button.

For example, you may want to create Quick-Steps to folders for your currently active projects.

If you have many folders for emails, you may also want to look at QuickFile for Outlook which learns and recommends filing locations.

Scenario

I have a few folders to which I often need to file emails to. For example, I have a Reading folder to which I read non-important emails that I want to keep for (leisure or research) reading later.  I also have a folder called Keep for Now for emails that are important for the moment (e.g. an email about a golf tournament in the next few weeks).

I have created Quick-Steps for both so that I can move emails to both folder quickly.

Step-by Step: Creating the Quick-Step

Click Quick-Step on the Home tab of the Outlook ribbon.

Click New Quick Step – Move to Folder

sale

Type in an easy to remember name for this Quick Step in the Name box

Tick the Move to folder checkbox

Select the folder to move to in the list

Untick Mark as read checkbox

Click Finish

sale

Now that you Quick-Step Is saved, let’s use it

Step-by Step: Using the Quick-Step

Click on the email that you wish to apply the Quick Step to (in this case the email that I want to move)

Click Quick Step on the Ribbon and then click on the appropriate Quick Step from the list.

… and That’s it!

Summary

Quick-Steps are a great way to file emails if most of your emails go into a few folders only. However if you have many folders, you may want to try a more complete solution for filing your emails such as QuickFile for Outlook.

sale

Searching for Folders in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 3 ) Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Reader Question: Love QuickFile. Makes Zero Inbox possible but… Do you have a product (or know of one) that can jump to a certain folder in my Outlook folder structure? I need this because it takes me too long to manually locate folders when I need to find specific correspondence.

Answer: Yes! It’s actually built into QuickFile!

QuickFile for Outlook is used by thousands of users around the world to file and find emails into folders. QuickFile adds a few buttons inside Outlook for you.

  1. Click on the Find & Goto Folder button.
  2. Type a few characters from the folder name in the Search box. QuickFile will show you list of all the folders that match the characters types.
  3. Select the folder you want.
  4. Click Goto Folder.

steps

Outlook will move to your chosen folder. No more searching through forests of folders to find that one folder you are looking for.

QuickFile can help you file both incoming and outgoing emails… in fact you may find that you can file up to 90% of received emails at the click of one button.

You can try a fully functional trial of QuickFile for a full 30 days.


sale

Categories : QuickFile for Outlook Comments ( 3 )

4 Tips to Tame Email without Multi-Tasking

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Monday, July 4th, 2016

asasa

Studies clearly show that people who do not multi-task can focus for longer periods of time and feel also less stressed. But emails makes it difficult to NOT multi-task, particularly if you get notified each time an email comes in. This post shows you 4 things you need to can do to be more productive with emails without multi-tasking.

Turn OFF email Notifications

Be default Outlook displays a little notification in the bottom right hand corner of your screen every time an email comes in. It may also play a sound or show a little envelope icon in the taskbar.

Unless your work requires real-time notification of emails, we recommend that you turn off ALL email notifications.

Click File and then Options.

Click on the mail tab.

Scroll down to the Mail Arrival section and make sure that all the boxes are un-ticked as shown below.

Doodle

Have Email Processing Scheduled in Your Calendar

Try and have a fixed time where you go through your Inbox and delete out stuff that doesn’t need to be there, respond to important emails etc.

This is your main email time during the day. Don’t worry… you will still get to see emails again later in the day.

Download our free 3 Question Checklist to evaluate your own Outlook Email Filing System

Turn off Outlook when doing non-email related work

Many users turn to emails looking for a distraction when they are at a point in their work that is difficult or requires a decision. They turn to their Inbox hoping to find an excuse to avoid what they really need to work on.

You’re less likely to do this if your Outlook is closed… and even if you do, the time Outlook takes to start up will remind you to go back to your work.

Reward yourself by going to your Inbox when you finish a reasonable chunk of work… or when you finish a particular piece of work

Even if email is a distraction, a lot of real work gets done using it.

I go back to my Inbox roughly around once every one or two hours. This give me my email-fix as well as giving me the opportunity to respond to anything important that may have come up while I was doing other work.

Try these 4 quick tips today. They won’t solve all your email problems but they will put you more in control. You should find you’re getting more work done, feeling less stressed and still getting your emails answered.

checklist_CTA

[Video] Getting Started with QuickFile for Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Friday, July 1st, 2016

This 5 minute video shows you how to use Microsoft Outlook to keep your emails organized.

The video uses QuickFile for Outlook which you can download and try at no cost.

You will see how easy it is to do the 3 ESSENTIAL email filing tasks that all business people need to do.

In less than 5 Minutes you will learn how to:

  • Find folders by typing a few characters from the folders name
  • File 90% of received emails at the click of one button (no misfiled emails because of drag and drop)
  • Send & File out-going emails in one step (instead of having to go back to the Sent Items folder to file your emails later)

Download fully functional trial of QuickFile for Outlook

The right way to file Sent Emails (Move vs Copy)

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Untitled

In this article we look at why many professionals who use Outlook prefer to have two copies of Sent Emails (one in a client/project folder and one in the Sent Items folder). We also show you how to configure QuickFile so that it will Send & Copy File the email for you in one step.

Most power users of emails create Project or Client folders inside Outlook and then move their emails inside them. They do this for both received emails and sent emails so that they can see all related emails in one place. But many users treat Inbox and Sent emails slightly differently.

Try QuickFile for Outlook (and organize your emails without interrupting your real work)

How to file Inbox Emails (Move them!!!)

The Inbox acts as a To do List for most people. It makes sense to leave emails in there while they still need your attention.

Once you have finished with an email, you can either delete it or move it to the relevant project/client folder.

That way your Inbox only shows you what you need to work on

How to file Sent Emails (Move or Copy)

There are two schools of thought on what to do with Sent Emails. You could move the original email out of the Sent Items folder to the Project or Client folder but…

We have found that many users prefer to file a copy to the Project/Client folder and leave a copy in the Sent Items too.

Why?

  1. Users frequently need to refer to emails that they sent recently (to clarify things on phone calls etc). They find it easier to quickly look at the Sent Items folder instead of going to a client folder.
  2. Many users fill in their timesheets for billing purposes at the end of the day. They refer to the Sent Items folder to remind themselves of what they worked on (and what they need to bill for)

How to make QuickFile to Send & Copy

The Send&File feature is probably the #1 Reason that our users choose QuickFile.

QuickFile for Outlook prompts you with a prompt similar to the following when you click Send on an email.

Untitled

 

QuickFile recommends folders using its own recommendation engine or you can use the Search box to quickly select another folder.

You can also choose to either file the original email or a copy of the email as shown above.

Click Send & File and the email is filed automatically when it is sent.

(You don’t have to go to the Sent Items folder at the end of day to file your emails because they’re done already. No more incomplete client folders!)

How to configure QuickFile to Send & Copy by default

You can use QuickFile’s setting screen so that it selects “Copy of Email” by default.

Go to your Inbox

Click the Standss Outlook Addins tabs on the Outlook ribbon.

Untitled

Click More in the QuickFile group and then click Settings.

Select “File a copy of email to folder” for the Send & File dropdown.

Click OK.

Now whenever QuickFile displays the Send & File screen, copy will be select by default. This means that in most cases (because QuickFile normally recommends the correct folder too), you only have to click Send & File.

a

 

Categories : QuickFile for Outlook, Uncategorized Comments ( 0 )

How to use Clutter in Outlook… with and without Office 365

By standss · Comments ( 1 ) Monday, March 7th, 2016

Happy!

Microsoft introduced the Clutter feature for Office 365. In this post, I share how Clutter was designed to declutter your Inbox… my own experience… and what you can use instead.

What is Clutter

Clutter was introduced for Office 365 users at the end of 2014. Microsoft says that Clutter was designed to help you focus on your most important messages in your Inbox.

It uses machine learning to identify lower priority messages and move them out if the Inbox to a new Clutter folder.

How to use Clutter (if you have Office 365)

By default, Clutter is turned off. You need to go to Outlook Web Access (OWA) to turn Clutter on (or off).

There are instructions for doing this on Microsoft’s website here.

My Experience

I find that Clutter does a pretty good job of identifying which emails are newsletter etc and moving them away to the Clutter folder. My Inbox has less emails and they are mainly the ones that I need to work on.

To be honest, I don’t read (or need to read) most of the emails in the Clutter folder.

However… the problem is that Clutter also gets it wrong!

I have found that it occasionally moves out emails that need my attention… and sometimes those emails need timely responses.

As an example, a few weeks ago I had to get my credit card reissued because it had been used fraudulently. The card in question has several important monthly online payments linked to it… payments that were essential for our business.

The payments for these (obviously) could not be processed because the card had changed. Unfortunately, some of the emails related to the card failing ended up in the Clutter folder.

It was only by coincidence that I looked in the Clutter folder for something else and discovered the payment warnings.

So…if you decide to use Clutter, I recommend checking the clutter folder once a day for any important emails.

Otherwise you can turn it off and try the following

Getting the Benefits of Clutter (without using Clutter)

I think the goal of Clutter is still worth achieving i.e. getting lower priority emails out of your Inbox and to a separate folder which you can read at a time of your choosing…

… and to be honest you probably will find that you don’t choose to read those emails very often. I know I don’t.

You can achieve this by creating a folder (called say Newsletters) and then using Rules to move the relevant emails to the folders automatically.

You can find instructions on using Outlook Rules to Declutter your Inbox here.

The problem with this as that it takes a lot of work to maintain rules.

The automated way: Use the Newsletters feature that is built into QuickFile for Outlook.

Both the Pro and Ultimate versions of QuickFile have a feature that aims to do what Clutter does but leave control in your hands.

If you’re one of the thousands of user of QuickFile for Outlook, this is all your need to do.

Right Click over the email and click Newsletter.

The email will automatically be moved to the Newsletters folder (created by QuickFile inside your Inbox). All future emails for the same newsletter will automatically be moved there.

Now your Inbox will stay clear of these emails but your important emails will still make it through.

Note: QuickFile for Outlook works can be used with any type of email account in Outlook including POP3 and Office 365.

If you’re not a user yet, you can download a trial copy of QuickFile for Outlook from here.

3 Common Mistakes of Email Filing

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Mistakes can create a mess

The theme for this month has been email filing and clean inboxes. This week we look at the three common mistakes that result in lost emails and cluttered Inboxes.

Over the last 15 years we have helped thousands of Outlook users get their emails organized and their Inboxes clean.

In this time we have learnt that the main reasons that Outlook users fail to keep their emails organized can be traced to these 3 common mistakes.

1. Filing emails before they have been actioned (or why you shouldn’t use Rules)

Most emails that we get are either for our information or action. Many users in an effort to get organized move emails out of the Inbox to dedicated folders for clients or projects… before the required action is completed.

The problem with this is because of the volume of emails that we all receive on a daily basis, the emails are quickly forgotten and the actions never taken.

What can you do?

Only move an email out of the Inbox if It does not require any action from you (in which case you either delete it or move it out to an archive/client/project folder).

a. You have completed the required action on it (E.g. replied to the email with the information requested)

b. It requires action from you and you have added the action to some kind of action list e.g. your Calendar or Task List.

Tip: This is why we don’t recommend using Rules for filing emails. Rules move emails out of the Inbox before you’ve had a chance to read them.

Instead we recommend using QuickFile for Outlook (for folder based email filing) or Email Tags for Outlook (for tag based filing) which can file most of your emails out of your Inbox at the click of one button… after you have finished reading them.

2. Leaving emails that do not require action in the Inbox

Leaving too many emails in your Inbox can also be a problem, particularly if you use your Inbox to show you what you still need to work on. Too many emails will cause actual work emails to get drowned out… and quickly move off the list.

Ironically, the problem isn’t the emails that you know you have to work on.

The BIG problem is the emails that you think you may work on… when you get the time. These include things people have sent to you for your information, newsletters on things you used to be interested in etc.

Instead of moving them out of the Inbox, we tend to leave them there… for when (???) we have a bit of free time.

What can you do?

I would recommend one of the following:

a. Either flag all emails that actually need your actual action so that they stand out…

b. Or Move out emails that do not need your actual action into another folder called Maybe.

I personally prefer the option of moving emails out of the Inbox because I am less likely to be distracted by maybe tasks. This really helps me to stay focussed on what I need to work on.

Now when I have some free time, I go to my Maybe folder.

Confession: I very rarely go to the MayBe folder. It has thousands of emails in it… and my life is probably much better for not having read them.

3. Forgetting to file Sent Emails

Why do we even bother filing emails (as opposed to simply deleting them once we have read them and taken the appropriate action).

The main reason is that we may need to refer to them later for information. We also need to retain them for legal reasons in case there is some dispute about what was written at some point in time in the future.

… and we normally don’t need just the one email. We need all related emails… incoming and outgoing.

Irrespective of how you organize your emails, it is very useful to file related incoming and outgoing emails together. That way you can see the entire conversation in one place when you need to.

What can you do?

a. Setup a daily or weekly time at which you will file emails out of your Sent Items folder or…

b. Use a tool like QuickFile for Outlook or Email Tags for Outlook which will automatically file the email (or a copy of it) out of the Sent Items folder to the correct folder once the email is sent.

Bonus Tip: Make sure that you file your emails in the way that works best for you

The ultimate purpose of any email filing system is to make it easy for you to find the emails again when you need them.

There are two main ways of filing emails… using folders and tags.

Which method works best for you will depend on several factors, including how your printed files (if you still use them) are organized.

I recommend that you read our earlier post Outlook Email Filing: Folders or Tags to ensure that you are using the best filing system for you… the one that makes your emails easier to find in the least time.

Organizing Emails: Folders versus Tags

By standss · Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

stress man
Last week I sent out an email to almost 40,000 readers asking them what they wanted help with. The overwhelming answer was some way of managing and organizing emails.

In this post I look at the two main ways of organizing emails… Folders and Tags. We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each one so that you can decide which one works best for you.

We will also look at a couple of Outlook addins that you can use for each style of email management if you don’t want to do it all manually.

But before that…

What do we need from any email organization system?

Irrespective of the way we organize our emails, this is what we need.

1. We want to easily see which emails still need our attention.
2. We want to file away emails that we have finished with but need to refer to in the future. Ideally sent and received emails for a project/client etc should be in the same place so you can see them all together.
3. We want to quickly find and retrieve any one filed email or a group of filed emails.
4. We want to do all this without wasting our day shuffling emails around.

Organizing emails either in Folders or with Tags can meet 3 of the above requirements and you can use the addins that we mention below to do it to meet the last requirement.

Let’s look at each of the two methods now…

Method #1: Emails and Folders

The first way of filing that most people use in Outlook is Folders i.e. create folders inside Outlook and then file emails into these folders.

This method works well for most users because most of us are used to folders in the physical world. As a result, this paradigm is easy to understand.

Furthermore, Outlook was designed with folders in mind. It is easy to create folders quickly inside Outlook and then drag and drop emails into them.

Tip: If you have a system of paper folders in the physical world, we recommend that you create a similar folder structure inside Outlook. Having the same structure in both places makes is extremely easy to find emails when you need them.

The problem with folders is that is can be time consuming and error prone to move emails. It is easy to accidentally drop an email into the wrong folder… or to forget to file emails from the Sent Emails folder… and it can be cumbersome to locate folders once you have a lot of folders. Unless…

Automating Folder Filing in Outlook

If you are already using folders (or would like to) for your emails, then we recommend Quick File for Outlook (the PRO version is what most busy professionals choose).

QuickFile adds a few buttons inside Outlook for you. It recommends folders based on your previous actions. You will be able to file up to 90% of your emails to the correct folder at the click of one button.

It also prompts you (with a recommendation) when you send out emails so that sent emails are automatically filed in the correct folder.

There is a handy Search feature so that you can quickly locate any folder simply by typing a few characters from the folder name.

Users have reported to getting back up to 2 hours each week that was previously lost to email.

Try QuickFile for Outlook

Method #2: Tagging Emails

Tagging basically involved tagging (or marking) an email with one or more keywords. The tagged emails can then be moved out of the Inbox to an archive folder.

You can think of tags as being similar to folders… without actually needing to create folders… or you can think of tags as keywords.

You may already have used tags to organize photos (or to organize emails inside Gmail where tags are called labels).

The great thing is that each email can have multiple tags (no more worrying about which folder the email goes into)… and you can easily see all emails with a particular tag when you need to.

Outlook’s built-in search can then be used to find the emails that you have tagged with specific keywords.

The problem with Tags however is that there is no built-in way to do it easily inside Outlook. It is difficult to tag emails and difficult to find them easily later… until now.

Automating Tagging in Outlook

If you like the idea of using Tags to organize your emails inside Outlook, then we recommend that you look at Email Tags for Outlook.

Email Tags for Outlook is a powerful addin that works inside Outlook. It saves time and ensures that emails are tagged correctly by recommending tags (A list of tags is also automatically maintained).

It can automatically move your tagged emails out of your Inbox to an archive folder so that your Inbox only shows you what you still need to work on.

Email Tags can also tag outgoing emails so that they are automatically organized with your received emails.

Best of all it has a powerful search feature to locate your tagged emails later.

Try Email Tags for Outlook

How to choose what works best for YOU!

It depends on that nature of your work!

If you are already used to Tags then tagging emails should work well for you, particularly when used with Email Tags for Outlook.

Other people may find Folders easier because it mirrors the concept of folders in the paper world that we have all grown used to.

In our experience Folders work particularly well for people who work with well-defined projects.

We already have thousands of Lawyers, Engineers, Architects etc. using QuickFile for Outlook to save hours of billable time each month that was previously lost managing Outlook email folders.

We hope this post helps you make the right choice to have a more organized and productive Outlook.

 

CTA EmailTags

Search Blog

Archives