Tag Archives: Email Tips

Retention Policies: Your Deleted Items folder will be cleared every 30 days!

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

We have told you before why you should not use the Outlook Deleted Items folder as your filing cabinet i.e. do not use the Deleted Items folder as the folder where you keep emails for later reference.

Here’s another good reason…. If you are using Office 365 (I recently moved my email account to it), your Deleted Items folder is automatically cleared (every day) of emails that are 30 days or older.

The reason for this is that folders in Outlook that are linked to Office 365 have Retention Policies applied to them.

A retention policy defined how long Office 365 will keep items in users’ mailboxes and defines what actions to take on items that have reached a certain age.

The default action for the Deleted Items is to clear items that are 30 days or older.

While it is possible to change this default action, I don’t think you should. Automatically clearing emails provides two benefits:

  1. It discourages you from “filing” emails in the Deleted Items folder.
  2. It provides insurance in case you need to recover an email that you deleted recently.

You can find more information on Setting Email Retention Policies in Office 365 here.


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Managing Projects in Outlook using Appointments and Tasks

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

In the post last week, we looked at some of the ways that you can customize outlook to suit your style of working and also effective handle the pile of emails in your inbox.

Other than emails, Outlook users also use the calendar and task to manage their daily lives and projects… and yet Outlook does not give us an easy way to manage projects inside Outlook. Outlook users frequently ask us how they can see all appointments and tasks that make up a project in one place.

Why is this important?  Most work or projects are made up of a series of steps all being related to each other. As we finish a step, it is important to know what the next steps are to get the project completed. Things also don’t always go according to plan… and we need to see what else gets affected when things change.

Our research showed that there is no simple way to organize and view related tasks and appointments under projects… so we added this functionality to our Outlook Project Management addin Smart Schedules for Outlook.

With Smart Schedules for Outlook you can:

  1.  Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
  2. Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button.

Here are step by step instructions showing you just how easy this can be:

Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects

  1.  Open Outlook and go to the Calendar/Task folder that the existing appointment/task is located in
  2. Select the appointment/task
  3. Click on Assign Project button on the Smart Schedules toolbar/ribbon. This will display the following screen:


 Select an existing project from the Project list.

  • Note: You can also type in a new project name if you would like to create a new project and add this selected appointment/task to that project.
  • Click OK.

Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button

Smart Schedules Project Centre makes it easy to see all appointments and tasks that you have associated with a project.

On the Smart Schedules toolbar, click Project Centre

  • From the Project drop-down, select the Project to which you assigned the appointment or task
  • You will now be able to view the appointment or task assigned to the project and all other related appointments and tasks for the project as shown below:


Next Steps…

Smart Schedules for Outlook was designed with the help of almost 20,000 Outlook users. Try it for yourself today and tell us what you think.

Download a fully functional version of Smart Schedules for Outlook.

Watch a short video of our Outlook based Project Management tool (Smart Schedules)

I hope you find this tip useful managing your projects in Outlook.

If you know of other ways to manage projects using Outlook, share it with our readers by leaving a comment below.


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Customize Outlook to Work the way you want

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

First of all Happy New Year to all our readers and welcome back to work J

I’m sure you all have enjoyed the holidays and now recharged to work through another year.

Your inbox is sure to be full of emails piled up while you were away and so in this first post for the year, we will show you some of the ways that you can customize outlook to suit your style of working and also effectively handle the pile of emails in your inbox.

Tip 1: Auto Highlight Important Emails in Outlook

Not all emails in your inbox will require immediate attention for example newsletters, so how do you pick out which ones are urgent and which ones can be dealt with later?

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

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

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

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

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

Tip 2: Mark Outlook Emails READ only after you ACTUALLY Read them

 If you are not using the auto highlight option above, you would likely be clicking through each email in your inbox to find the ones that you need to deal with BUT…

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

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

 Tip 3: Easy Email Search Tricks in Outlook

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

I hope you find this tips useful in working through your emails this year.

If you have other tips for handling emails in Outlook, please share it with our readers by leaving a comment below


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Why images in your marketing emails can reduce response rates

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Adding images to your sales and marketing emails can make your emails look attractive and engaging but ONLY if the images and your well-crafted HTML email appears the same in the recipient’s inbox as you intend it too…

Using images in your marketing emails incorrectly can cause a reduction in response rates. Here’s why:

  • Plain text emails get through spam filters more easily (ultimately it depends on content so your plain text emails will still get caught if you are sending out obvious spam).
  • Email clients like Outlook do not display graphics in emails by default because spammers use them for tracking purposes etc. Therefore if you have your main message only in an image (without repeating it in plain text), then your readers may never actually see it.
  • Many email users are now using the preview pane to scan through emails before deciding which emails deserve their attention. If you have a graphic at the top that is not meaningful then your emails may be skipped.
  • Not all your readers are using the same version of Outlook as you are… in fact many may not be using Outlook at all (think Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail etc). In our experience images often cause HTML emails to display differently in different browsers which can spoil the look you want to achieve with your emails.

This is one of the main reasons that most of the professionally designed templates in our Email Merge for Outlook addin have little or no images in them. Instead we have used HTML to create a professional look that displays properly and looks great in all the email programs that your readers will be using.

I hope you find this tip useful with your email marketing campaigns this holiday season and improving your response rates.

Let us know if you have other techniques to improve the email response rate by leaving a comment below.


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Email Marketing Tip: Make sure you put your Contact Details on Emails

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Friday, December 13th, 2013

It’s holiday season and for most of us it’s also the busiest time of the year… sending out sales and marketing emails like newsletters, sales catalogues, invites, season greeting etc.

The last thing you want is for your emails to be marked as SPAM and not reach your recipients therefore you need to ensure that your sales and marketing emails meet the CAN-SPAM Act. The aims of this Act is to provide standards for sending out promotional emails while limiting the amount of spam.

One of the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act is that the Sender must clearly identify himself/herself by providing relevant contact information.

What does this mean to you… If you are sending out promotional emails then you probably need to put the following contact information at the bottom of all emails at the very minimum:

  1. Your (the Sender’s) Name
  2. Your Email Address
  3. Your Postal Address

It is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT that all promotional emails include the above at a very minimum.

If you’re not already doing this, make sure you include your contact information on the next promotional email you send out.

I hope you find this tip useful.

If you know of other tips to ensure your emails are not marked or regarded as SPAM, please share it with our readers by leaving a comment below.

Related Posts:

Send Holiday Season Invites, Greeting and Newsletters via Email/Fax/Traditional Post

Ingredients for Effective Email Marketing Campaigns


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Getting the Weather Forecast in Outlook 2013

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Here’s a small but handy feature of Outlook 2013. Do you know that you can get the weather for the next few days (in all your favourite cities) displayed at the top of your Calendar?

Weather Forecast

Here’s how you can:

  1. Set how the temperate is displayed
  2. Choose what towns/cities temperature you are interested

Turning Weather On and Setting Celsius or Fahrenheit

We live in Fiji where we use the metric system. I just can’t get the feel for what is a hot or a cold day any other way. Here’ what you need to do to change the units used to display the temperature if you need to.

  •  Click File-Options
  • Click on Calendar
  • Scroll down to Weather
  • Make sure that Show Weather on the calendar is ticked and click on Celsius.
  • Click OK.

Choosing Your Favourites Locations

What location’s temperature is being displayed? Use the following steps to add your location and to add other cities too if you want. I like to add locations that I will be travelling to soon as it helps me get a sense if how cold or hot it will be.

Go to your Calendar:

  • Click on the drop-down arrow next to the name of the city where the weather is displayed (In the image above, you can see my home town Suva is shown)
  • Click Add Location (from the list of options in the drop down).
  • Enter the name of the city town followed by a comma and the name of the country (e.g. New York and press Enter (or click on the magnifying glass)
  • Select the name of the city from the Search results.

The new city will be added to the list and its weather forecast for the next few days displayed. You can change between your list of cities by using the drop down arrow.

Do you find the weather feature in Outlook 2013 useful? Are there other “hidden” Outlook features that you use? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

(I personally find the temperature display useful in planning my afternoon golfing. It’s also useful to know the expected weather in places I will be travelling to… helps me to mentally climatize myself before the trip).


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Categories : General, Office Tip, Outlook Performance, Windows Tip Comments ( 0 )

Time Zone Problems when Scheduling Outlook Appointments

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

I showed up for a meeting today on the WRONG DAY! I actually had a phone meeting this morning with someone in New York (I am in Fiji). When I called up, I realised that although I had called at the right time, it was the WRONG DAY! I had called a day before instead a day after the date in New York.

Here’s how you can avoid making the same mistake by entering your appointment using the date and time in the other person’s country… and have Outlook automatically show it in your calendar at the correct time for your time zone.

This tip works in Outlook 2010 and later.

  •  Open your appointment
  •  Click Time Zones on the ribbon. Outlook will add a time zone drop-down next to the appointment time.
  • Click the drop-down to pick the time zone of the other person.


Now you can enter the date and time (make sure you enter the date in the other person’s time zone) of the appointment.

Outlook will automatically add it in your calendar at the correct time in your Time Zone.

Do you have other tips for dealing with appointments in different time zones? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

 Related Posts: Displaying multiple time zones in Outlook : Lets you see the times in the two zone side-by-side.

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Categories : General, Office Tip, Outlook Calendar Tip Comments ( 0 )

A simple way to promote your business (without actually marketing)

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Your emails signature is an opportunity to promote your business each and every time you send out an email. Here are a few ideas for what you can put in your signature (aside from your contact information):

  •  A link to your website (you’re probably doing this already)
  •  A slogan telling people what it is that you do (for us it is… Make Outlook Work for Your Business)
  •  The title and link to your most popular blog post. This is a great way to show prospects your expertise.
  •  If your firm or product has had a great review recently, a few chosen words from the review and maybe a link to the full review
  •  A call to action (Call now to for an honest appraisal)
  •  Links to your social media profiles (you can download images from places like Hubspot to make this look even nicer)

I certainly don’t recommend posting everything, but a few well-chosen items can make a big difference.

Till next time…


Easy Drag and Drop to share Path to files/folders on the Network

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

If like us, you find yourself often sharing files/folders with the members of your team while working on projects etc…

here is a simple tip on how you can drag and drop the path to a file/folder on the network rather than having to type or copy & paste the path into the email (or word).

All you have to do is:

  • Create the email.
  • Use Windows Explorer to find the file or folder that you want to share. Make sure that the file or folder is in a location that the other person has access to… normally this would be on a shared or network folder.
  • Right-click on the file/folder and drag it (with the right mouse button still pressed) to the location in the email where you want to insert the path
  • Release the right-click button. You will get the following options:


  • Click Create Hyperlink Here.

This will now insert a clickable link in the email.

I hope you find this tip useful.

Thanks to Anand Kumar (our Senior Programmer) who shared this tip with us.

If you know of other simple tips like this and wish to share with our readers, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Note taking Tip: Why and where should you be adding your Notes

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

I read a great article on Life Hacker recently titled Write Notes Before Making a Phone Call to Stay Focused.

It is a great idea to make notes of things you would like to discuss with someone because:

  1. You know exactly what you are going to talk about
  2. You waste less time of the person you called and yourself
  3. You get all the information you need in the first call as opposed to calling the person several times.

BUT… where should you make your notes so that it is easily accessible before making the call and after the call (for later reference)?

One option is to write your notes on a sticky notepad or piece of paper… but you could easily end up with several pages with important notes and as easily misplace them wasting several hours hunting for it under your desk, in the rubbish bin (and hoping you find it)…

The ideal place to add/save your notes would be where you spend most of your time working… your EMAILS!!!

Here are a few reasons why you should make notes on emails?

  1. Emails from people outside our own companies are often followed by phone calls to get additional information that was missing in the email.… 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… 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.

How to write notes on emails?

One way of writing notes on emails is to… print out the emailshandwrite 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.

I hope you find this tip useful.

Do you know of other ways to make notes and easily retrieve them for future reference?

Share it with us by leaving a comment below.