Tag Archives: Email

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.


Contact Segmentation: Increasing response rates to your sales and marketing emails in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Many email marketers who use Microsoft Outlook rarely focus on the one thing that that almost always results in increased responses: contact list segmentation. In this post I am going to show you how you can use Outlook categories to segment your contacts.

What is segmentation and why does it work?

Segmentation basically means dividing your email list into smaller groups (or segments). Each contact can be part of one or more segments.

So why does segmentation work? It allows you to give your contacts more personalized attention.

You are now able to send out more specific emails targeted to people who are interested in that particular topic. This always results in higher open rates, click rates and response rates.

It also means less annoyed customers received emails on topics that they are not interested in.

How to you segment your list?

We will use Categories (a feature built into Outlook) to segment our contacts.

1.       Make a list of the Segments (Categories) that you will use

What are the key elements to distinguish your customers? It could be product, company size, region… whatever makes sense to your business.

Make a list of these segments. For example, we have a range of products at Standss that are reasonably different. We could therefore segment our list based on products.

  • Email Merge PRO for Outlook
  • Quick File for Outlook
  • Send Guard for Outlook
  • Email Tags for Outlook
  • eeminders for Outlook
  • Email Notes for Outlook

I also like to keep a separate segment of our Volume License Customers since they have further requirements for deployment, control and support.

Volume License Customers

2.       Add the Categories to Outlook’s Master List (of Categories)

Go to your Contacts folder in Outlook.

Right-click over a contact and click Categorize and then click All Categories.

Click New and enter the Name of your category. You can also choose a color if you want but I generally select None. Click OK.


Hint: You will see that I have named my category ml_EmailMerge instead of just EmailMerge. I use the ml_ in front of all my segment names to indicate that they are my mailing list categories. The master category list appears in all parts of Outlook (emails, appointments, tasks etc). By putting the ml_ in front of my mailing list categories, I can get them to appear together in the list when they are displayed alphabetically.

3.       Assign your contacts to the relevant segments.

Go to your Contacts folder in Outlook.

Right-click over a contact and click Categorize.

You can click the category from the list or you can click All Categories and then select multiple categories for a contact if you want.

Repeat for all relevant contacts.

Viewing Your Various Segments

Once you have your contacts segmented, you will need Outlook to show you the contacts by segment so that you can use them easily.

Go to your Contacts Folders.

Click on the View Tab and Click on Categories (which will be in the Arrangement group)


Your contacts will now be displayed grouped by Categories. Contacts will be displayed more than once if they are in more than one category.


You can simply type the name of the Category in the Outlook Search box and only matching contacts will be shown

How to use your Categories/Segments in Sales and Marketing Emails

The next time you need to send out an email that is relevant only to a particular segment, display the list of contacts in the segment as explain above.

Then create your email and send it out only to the people in that segment.

I guarantee that you will get much better responses rates… and you will also get less emails from annoyed contacts asking to be removed from your list (since you will only be contacting people who are genuinely interested in your email).

Fine-Tuning Outlook emails to segments (Better Responses in Less Time)

If you want to get even better response rates, you should send out personally addressed emails to your contacts.

This means that each email should only have one contact’s name in the To field. You may even want to personalise the email with the contact’s name and other details.

This can be time-consuming to do if you try and do it by hand.

We recommend Email Merge Pro for Outlook. Email Merge Pro installs inside Outlook and uses a step-by-step Wizard to quickly create and send out personalized emails to selected contacts.

Best of all, the emails will still be sent out from Outlook instead of looking like emails from a mailing service. This is extremely important, particularly if you are dealing with larger customers.

Email Merge Pro has full support for Categories so that you can easily send out emails to segments when you need to.

Learn more and download a trial version of Email Merge Pro for Outlook addon.

Protect your company from wrongly sent emails

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Monday, February 9th, 2015

The web is full examples of what the dangers to organization due to emails sent to the wrong email address (including one that may have led to a $1B settlement). What are the risks to your organization from these kinds of mistakes, and what you can do to manage those risks? We answer these questions and also look at a solution that several large companies are now implementing.

How do these mistakes occur?

These mistakes typically occur when a user accidentally sends an email to the wrong person. The normal reason for this would be that there may be two people with the same or similar names.

Unfortunately Outlooks Auto Complete list (which generally helps by displaying a list of matching names and email addresses as you begin to type) makes these kinds of mistakes even easier to make.

(Strategy) What can you do to reduce the risks from these kinds of mistakes?

It is probably impossible to eliminate mistakes of this kind altogether. Therefore your organization’s strategy should be based on:

  1. Configuring Outlook to reduce the chances that users will make these mistakes
  2. Be able to show (in the event of litigation etc.) that your organization took reasonable action to prevent mistakes of these kinds

What can you do:

The actual actions you can take include:

  1. Asking users to be more careful and pay more attentions before emails are sent out.
  2. Turning off Microsoft Outlook’s Auto-Complete feature.

While both of the above are theoretically good solutions, they may not work as well in the real world for most organization because:

  1. Irrespective of how careful people are, mistakes are inevitable (it’s part of being human).
  2. Auto-Complete is actually a very useful feature and it is painful and counter-productive to use Outlook without this turned on.

Is there a better solution?

Yes! Send Confirm is an Outlook addin that integrates inside Outlook and automatically prompts for confirmation before emails are sent out.


The domain is highlighted in red as the greatest damage can be caused if confidential information is sent to the wrong organization.

Send Confirm has been designed with the needs of both small and large companies in mind.

  • The warning prompt can be customized based on corporate/legal guidelines and policies
  • Special filters can be setup to control when the prompt gets displayed (external emails only, all emails etc)
  • All settings can be set and deployed centrally

We’ve actually Send Confirm available to users for several years as part of Send Guard for Outlook. However at the request of several larger organizations, we have now packaged Send Confirm as a separate component to make it more cost-effective for wider deployment in organization.

Please contact us at sales@standss.com for more information on how Send Confirm can be used to protect your organisation.


Where are you Outlook emails (are you backing up the RIGHT files)?

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Monday, January 26th, 2015

Do you know where your emails are saved on your computer?

They may not be where you think they are. Here’s how you can find out where your emails are so that you can be sure that they are part of your backup plan.

Last week at the golf club, I spoke to a frustrated fellow golfer who had just lost all his emails…

The harddisk on his old computer had crashed… and when he used his backups top restore his data to his new computer, he was in for a shock.

His Outlook emails were not there… despite having a well-thought out and implemented plan for backing up his computer.

Because Outlook does not actually ask you to save emails in a particular location, it is easy to forget about them.

Where does Outlook save emails?

If your emails are hosted with Office 365 or MS Exchange then a copy of your current emails will be on your server. Hopefully your network administrator is backing them up.

However, if you are using a POP3 mail account (which many people still are) or if you are archiving emails outside of Exchange, you need to know where your emails are being saved.

All your emails are generally saved in one big data file (PST file… which is short for Personal Storage Table). Unfortunately Outlook does not always create this file in a folder that you would remember to backup.

Some users may also have multiple PST files with additional files for Archives etc.

To find out exactly where all your data files are in Outlook 2010/2013:

  • Click File.
  • On the Info Tab, click Account Settings and then Account Settings again.
  • Click Data Files to display a list of all your currently connected data files as shown below.

image 1

Makes sure that you are backing up all the Outlook data files shown above.

Additional Tip: If you’re not using Exchange, you may want to put your main Outlook PST files in your Documents folder. Assuming that you’re backing up your Documents folder regularly, you should be safe.

Categories : Outlook Data Backup Comments ( 1 )

Tip# 7 of 8: File things out of your Inbox as soon as you have READ the e-mail

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

In the last tip, we showed you how to configure Outlook to make it easy for you to drag and drop emails out of your Inbox to dedicated client or project folders.

Your inbox should not be your filing cabinet or storage folder… it should be more like your To-do list or Actions folder.

Your Inbox should only have e-mails that you need to take action on!!!

Once you have your folder structure in place, you are ready to shift e-mails out of your Inbox.

If you have left your e-mails in the Inbox until now, it may take you some time to move all the e-mails out to the appropriate folders. You can do it now or do it later but DO IT.

In the meantime make sure that at least the new e-mails that you receive are filed properly.

Ideally, you should move your e-mails out of your Inbox IMMEDIATELY after reading them… unless it’s urgent and you will be taking action (reply, forward or delete) on them in the next few minutes.

Drag and drop the e-mails from the Inbox to the appropriate folder.

To drag and drop the ORIGINAL email:

  • Left-click on the mouse and hold the button on the e-mail that you want to shift.
  • Drag it to the appropriate folder on the folder List.

To drag and drop a COPY of the email:

  • Right-click (instead of Left-click) and then drag and drop.  When you drop the email (release the right mouse button) you will get presented with the option to Copy or Move. Click on Copy.

If you think Drag and Drop is tedious and you always need to remember which folder a particular email needs to go to or even where the project folder is located in the first place?

I would recommend you give our QuickFile for Outlook addin a try.

QuickFile automatically learns and recommends to you the correct folder to which you are likely to file an email from a client or related to a project… just a click of a button and the email is filed to the correct folder.

You don’t need to take my word on this… try QuickFile yourself by downloading the fully functional 30 day trial version from our website.

      Time to join the conversation – what do you think?

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.


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 #5 of 8: File your e-mails using the same folder structure as you do for your paper files
Filing e-mails into folders makes it much quicker and easier to file, find and archive e-mails later.

Tip# 6 of 8: Setup Outlook so that it is easy to drag and drop e-mails to the correct folders

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.

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.


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.


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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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 )

Do you use Emails and Inbox as a To Do list. Should You? How To.

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Monday, August 5th, 2013

You may have noticed that we dedicate a lot of time to getting the most out of Outlook for our (and hopefully your) business – just look at the emails and blog articles we send you.

One area that I personally have been struggling with is using my Inbox as a To Do list. Many of the productivity gurus say that the Inbox is a “collection” point and not an “action” point. I’ve tried what they’ve said… I’ve used the Task List, Calendars, apps on my Iphone…

Their methods seem to work for me for a while… but sooner or later… THEY FAIL!

I find myself back to working using the list of emails in my Inbox!!

I’ve decided not to fight it anymore… I NEED a solution that works from my Inbox.

The problem so far has been with this is that, while I get things done… I DON’T always get the RIGHT things done.

Over the last 6 months, I have researched different techniques. I’ve tried out different things… eliminated ideas that took too much effort or discipline… kept the ideas that worked.

I am pleased to report that I now have a system that works well for me….


I am going to release a small report on this sometime next week.

But before I do, I thought I should get comments from my readers and customers. If I need to, I’ll update my report. So I have two questions for you…

  • What are the problems that you have with using your Outlook Inbox as a to do list?
  • Are there any clever techniques that you use that would be useful to other readers?

I really want to know… so please send your answers to news@addins4outlook.com, type in a quick response, and press the Send button.

With so many readers, I can’t guarantee a personal response… but I can guarantee that I will personally read your email.

That’s all for now…

Wishing you a better Outlook.

P.S. I really DO value your feedback. I need to know your answers so I can make this report useful for all readers… what are the problems of using the Inbox as a to do list… and do you have any tips to make things easier. Please reply now.