Tag Archives: Email Tips

4 Tips to Tame Email without Multi-Tasking

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


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.


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.


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

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


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.


  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.



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.


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.



Categories : QuickFile for Outlook, Uncategorized Comments ( 0 )

Catch Outlook email errors by PROOF LISTENING instead of reading

By standss - Comments ( 3 ) Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

It’s easy to send out emails with mistakes even after proof reading them. The reason is that we tend to skim while proof reading and we see the words we think we have written….  instead of the actual words there. The solution… get Outlook to read the emails back to you (preferably with your headphones on).

Here’s what you need to do:

Create a new email.

  • Right Click on a blank area of the Ribbon
  • Click Customize Quick Access Tool Bar
  • Choose Commands not in Ribbon in drop down
  •  Untitled 1
  • Scroll and select Speak (the list is in alphabetical order)
  • Click Add and then click OK

Outlook will add a new button to your Quick Access Tool Bar as shown below.



How to use the button to get Outlook to read the email aloud to you

  •  Create a new email
  • Type some text
  • Select the text that you want read out to you.
  • Click the button that you added to the ribbon earlier.

Outlook will now read your email out to you.

My favourite error that this helped me catch… I had written “I look forward to jeering from you”… instead of “I look forward to hearing from you”… the j and h keys are right next to each other on the keyboard!

Hope this tip helps you avoid similar errors.


Categories : General, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 3 )

Email Merge with personalised To and (related) CC/BCC fields in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 3 ) Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Is it possible to do an email merge with a personalized email address in the To field and one or more RELATED email addresses in the CC or BCC fields. In this post we look at why and how you can achieve this with Microsoft Outlook?


This is very useful when you need to send a copy of the same email to two or more people in the same company.

For example:

  •  You may want to send reminders for a particular event to attendees but all CC their  assistants.
  •  You may send copies of statements to your clients and CC a copy to their accounts  manager.
  • If you are running a newsletter for a school, you want to send an email to one parent and CC the other parent on it too.

In all these examples the To and CC field are related to each other i.e. there could be a different CC email address for each person you are emailing.

Before I show you how to do this in Outlook, you may be wondering…

Why not just send each person a separate copy of the same email?

The main reasons for this is that you want all recipients to be aware that the others have also received the email. They can now also do Reply-to-All on the email your sent to start a conversation if they need to.

Setup Your List

The first thing you need to do is to setup a list which contains the email address you want to use in the To field and also the email address(es) for the CC field.

For this example, I am assuming that your list is in Microsoft Excel similar to the one that I have shown below:

blog 2


  • The To field (in this case the Customer Name) can only contain ONE email address.
  • The CC field can contain multiple email addresses separated by comas or semi-colons as shown for Jane Doe above.

Merge and Send the Emails

Now it’s time to send out the emails. While there is no built-in way in Outlook to do this, you can easily do this if you are using the Outlook add-in Email Merge Pro for Outlook.

Start Outlook

Click the Email Merge Wizard button. The Wizard will guide you to creating your email and to choosing the Excel file as your data source.

When you come to the following screen, click the Select field’s hyperlink.

blog 1

Click CC/BCC and then select the field that your CC email address is in.

blog 3

Click OK to return to the Wizard.

Follow the rests of the steps of the Wizard to send out the email.

Email Merge will create a separate email for each person, with the correct file attached to each one.

Our customers have used Email Merge to increase sales and to provide better support to their customers. Please share your own ideas in the comments below.

Related articles:

You can use this with our earlier article on setup your spreadsheet to email merge a different attachment to each person in Outlook.


Email Merge a different file to each person in Outlook.

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Monday, October 12th, 2015

A reader asked… How can I do an email merge in Outlook and send each person a customized attachment (PDF)?

In this post I discuss why you may want to do this and the easiest way to get it done.


Existing Outlook users are using this feature to provide their customers a more personalized service in several ways.

An accounting firm generates PDFs of customized tax reminders for their clients and then uses Email Merge to distribute the correct report to each customer

  1. Another professional services firm creates personalized invoices in PDF format and then uses Email Merge to send them out.
  2. An investment company sends out recommendations to their clients using this technique.

I am sure that you can come up with your own ways to use this to better serve your own customers.

Setup your list

The first thing you need to do is setup a list which contains the email addresses of the people you wish to contact, and the names of the file that will be sent to them. In this example I am assuming that you will do this using Excel.

Simply add a field (column) to the excel sheet which has the full name (with path) of the file that you wish to send as shown below.

test 3

(You can use Excel formulas to make up the file name if they follow some kind of rule)

Merge and Send the Emails

Now it’s time to send out the emails. While there is no built-in way in Outlook to do this, you can easily do this if you are using the Outlook add-in Email Merge Pro for Outlook.

Start Outlook

Click the Email Merge Wizard button. The Wizard will guide you to creating your email and to choosing the Excel file as your data source.

When you come to the following screen, click the Select field’s hyperlink.

test 2

Click Attachments and tick the name of the field that contains the file name.

test 1

Click OK to return to the Wizard.

Follow the rests of the steps of the Wizard to send out the email.

Email Merge will create a separate email for each person, with the correct file attached to each one.

Our customers have used Email Merge to increase sales and to provide better support to their customers. Please share your own ideas in the comments below.

Not a user of Email Merge PRO for Outlook yet?

Download a fully-functional version today

Fixing speed problems in Outlook by Working Offline.

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

If you find Outlook almost hanging up on you while you are writing emails, this tip will save you from a lot of frustration (and as a bonus increase your focus and productivity).

Does this sound familiar…?

You’re replying to an email and then Outlook starts doing something in the background. It basically locks up! You can’t do anything except wait for it to finish!

After a few moments, you get tired of waiting so you switch over to something that still works on your computer… something to do while you’re waiting… most probably the Internet… or Facebook.

10 minutes later you remember what you were actually working on!  That’s 10 minutes wasted just because Outlook started doing something you never asked it to in the first place.

And it’s not just 10 minutes. It normally takes another 10 minutes to get refocussed again.

How many 10 minutes do you lose in your day?

I spend a significant part of my day working on emails and recently I have been having this problem several times a day.

I use Outlook 2013 with Office 365 and I discovered that the problem seems to coincide with when my Outlook is syncing emails with Office 365… particularly when I am working from home where my Internet connection is not as fast.

I found that I can greatly improve my productivity by making Outlook work offline when I plan to do actual work.

This is what you need to do:

  1. Go to Outlook
  2. Click Send/Receive on the Ribbon and then click Work Offline.


  1. Work on your emails
  2. Make Outlook go back online (by clicking on the Work Offline button again).

Warning: Please remember to make Outlook go online again. While Outlook is offline, no emails will be sent or received. Emails that you send will still be in the Outbox and new emails will be not be received in your Inbox (they will be waiting to be downloaded from your mail server when you go back online).

This simple tip has had a surprisingly positive effect on my productivity. Why?

  1. It stops Outlook from hanging up so I am able to get what I am working on completed without waiting for Outlook. I don’t get distracted to look at other things (Facebook!!).
  2. I also don’t get distracted by new emails popping in to the Inbox while I am working on something. (New emails are not downloaded while Outlook is working offline)
  3. As a bonus I enjoy work more without the frustrations of waiting.

Did this tip help you? Do you have your own tips for fixing Outlook performance issues? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Categories : Office Tip, Outlook Performance Comments ( 1 )

Make Outlook search your Inbox Faster

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Here’s a little tweak that I did to Outlook Search (in Outlook 2013) to make it work faster for me.

What is Outlook Search

Outlook displays a Search box at the top of your emails. Simply click in the search and type the words that you are looking for.


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

How to make Outlook Search your Inbox faster

By default Outlook searches for emails in the current folder except if you’re in the Inbox. IF you are searching from the Inbox, Outlook searches for emails in all folders in your current mail box.

The problem with this is that Searching for emails from your Inbox can be slow because it is searching for emails in all folders instead of just the current folder.

You can change where to search each time but this seems to almost hang Outlook if the Search has already started.

Instead you can change Outlooks settings to search only the current folder when you are in the Inbox.

Open Outlook

Click File > Options

Click the Search tab to display Search Options.

tEst 1


Select Current Folder and click OK

Now when I do a Search from the Inbox the results are almost instant. I can still Search all folders by selecting Current Mailbox or All Mailboxes from the list on the right of my Search box if I want to do a wider search.

Why this works for me

This works for me because I usually go to the folder I am interested in before I do my Search. When I am searching my Inbox, I know that I am looking for an email in my Inbox.

Share your own thoughts on Searching by leaving a comment below.


Categories : outlook 2013, Outlook Search Tips Comments ( 0 )

How to get people to respond to your emails FASTER

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Monday, May 25th, 2015

Are people either not responding or taking too long to respond to your emails? Here’s a quick tip that could greatly reduce the response times and increase the response rate to your emails.

The secret… unless absolutely necessary, make each email about one topic/project /subject only.

I am not saying that each email should only have one question, but at least make each email about a separate topic.

This will get you faster and more complete responses… and also simplify email filing and management.

Why does this work?

Whether we admit it or not, most people use their email lists as To-Do lists…. And it feels great to be able to knock things off that list.

If you send someone an email that they are able to respond to quickly (because it deals with one thing only), they will respond to it quickly because it makes them feel good to have the email out of their Inboxes.

Many productivity techniques preach the Two Minute rule which says you should respond immediately to an email if it will take less than 2 minutes. Make it easy for them to respond immediately!

This can be even more true if you send several emails about different things (that are all quick and easy to answer). They now get the joy of crossing several things off their email to-do list.

If you put several topics in the same email, you may find that…

You receive no response!

If you put several different topics on one email, the recipient may be able to answer some quickly but others may take more time. In the time-starved world we live in today, this could mean that he will not respond at all until he has more time.

Unless your email is very important to him, it could soon get buried under newer emails that have arrived in his Inbox.

At least if you had separated emails into several topics, you would have received a response to some things that were easy or important enough to respond to quickly.

You receive incomplete response

On the other hand, if you have several questions in one email, you may get answers to a few of the easy ones but not the difficult ones. Why?

The recipient responds to your email and then moves it out of his Inbox (one more thing crossed off that email list).

An added benefit of single topic emails… email management is much easier… and safer

Most Outlook users file emails into client or project based folders. Keeping each email about a separate project means that they are easy to file into folders (because the email only deals with one projects). You don’t have to waste time figuring out where an email needs to go (or making copies to file into more than one folder).

(If you do use client or project based folders for email filing, we recommend Quick File for Outlook)

You project folders will also be safer in case you need to share project information with others. This way you know that you emails do not contain unrelated information that could be accidentally shared with the wrong person.

I hope that you found this tip useful. Let us know if you agree or disagree by leaving a comment below.


Categories : Outlook Email Tips, QuickFile Comments ( 1 )

Creating an Effective Email Signature

By standss - Comments ( 5 ) Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

A great email signature can help your business by building your image and credibility as well as making it easier for people to contact you. In this short post I look at what things a good signature block can do for you, what you want to put in, and what you should leave out.

The most important thing to remember… Your signature block needs to be as small as possible particularly since so many emails are only a few lines long… but it still has to achieve several objectives.

The objectives of a good signature block


A good signature block should do most if not all of the following for you:

  1. Let people know who you are
  2. Let people know how they can contact you
  3. Show people who may not know you what you or your company does
  4. If possible, convince people who don’t know you that you are a credible person that they can safely work with
  5. If you use social media a lot, let them connect you via your preferred social media website.

What you should include:

  1. Your Name
  2. Your Title (Optional but very useful, particularly if you have an important or at least important sounding title)
  3. Your company name
  4. (Optional) Your company logo
  5. (Optional) Logo or text details of any awards or memberships that build your credibility. Keep this as short as possible. Don’t list too many things or it loses it’s impact.
  6. A tag line that makes it easy to understand what you and your company do (Optional only if your company name is immediately recognizable)
  7. Your Phone Number
  8. Your web site address

What you do not need to include

Personally I feel that it is a waste of space to include the following:

  1. Your email address (they already know that sine they received the email from you)
  2. You fax number (unless you are in an industry/country that still makes use of fax)
  3. Your postal or physical address (they can always ask for this if they need it)


What do you think?

I hope that you find this article useful.

Do you have your own tips for better email signatures? Please share your ideas with other readers by leaving a comment on this post.



Categories : General, Office Tip, Outlook as a Business Tool Comments ( 5 )

Take action on your Outlook emails at the click of a button (QuickSteps)

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

You can reclaim a lot of your time and energy wasted on emails by automating repetitive tasks. Outlook has a built-in feature called Quick-Steps that makes it easy to create your own automations.

The easiest way to show you the power of QuickSteps is with an example.

Our company owns a property that is rented out. The property is managed by another company for us. When any repairs etc need to be carried out, they get the appropriate vendors to come in and do the work. Once the work is successfully completed they send us a copy of the vendor’s invoice so that we can pay the vendor directly. These emails are usually sent to me.

When I receive these emails, and assuming that everything is OK, I do the following:

1.       Forward the email to my Accounts person and advise them to make the payment (Click Forward, type the person’s email address, type Please Pay and then click Send)

2.       File a copy of the original email in a folder inside Outlook called Properties. (This can be done by dragging and dropping or using QuickFile for Outlook.

You can use QuickSteps to reduce all of the above to the CLICK OF ONE BUTTON.

Creating the QuickStep

On the Home tab of the Ribbon, click QuickSteps-New QuickStep -Forward To


Enter an appropriate name.

If I only wanted to forward the email (And not do the second filing step), I can simply enter the email address in the space provided and clicked Finish).

Click Options.

Click the Show Options hyperlink.


Enter an email address in the To field (or click the To button and choose an email address).

Enter any text that you want to be displayed in the email that will be forwarded.

The QuickStep now contains everything needed to Forward the email. Time to add the filing component.

Click Add Action

Choose Move to Folder and select the folder you want to move the email to.

Click Save

Note on an Outlook Bug:

There is a bug in Outlook that sometimes prevents the QuickStep from being saved. Clicking Save does not give an error message but the screen does not close either. If this happens to you, the solution is to type the whole email address again (the email that was in the To field earlier).

Using the QuickStep

Using the QuickStep is easy.

Click QuickStep on the Ribbon and select the new QuickStep. Outlook will automatically carry out your programmed actions.

You can also right-click over the email in your Inbox and select QuickSteps from there.

Start automating today…

What do you do daily that you can use QuickSteps for? Let us know by leaving a comment in the blog below.

(While QuickSteps can assist with email filing as shown in the example above, if you have more than just a few folders, we recommend the QuickFile for Outlook addin.