It’s hard to believe that 6 months have already gone by for year 2013… and the next 6 months will pass by even faster.
To ensure that we all continue to be organized and productive for the rest of the year, we decided to share with our readers the 5 essential tips to be organized, productive and safe from embarrassment at work.
If you missed out on any of the following tips earlier, this is your chance to look at them and apply it to your work for the rest of year.
Tip 1: Avoid filing emails in the Outlook Deleted Items folder
It is strange but we found out that a lot of people file their emails in the Deleted items folder (outlook’s rubbish bin).
Yes, the deleted items is referred to as a “folder” in Outlook but it is not for the purpose of filing/storing emails which you would want to refer to later.
We do not store anything in the rubbish bin in the real world to grab it out later right… then why do it in the virtual world.
Tip 2: Easy Email Search Tricks in Outlook
Jumping from folder to folder in Outlook was old-school style of finding emails which wasted a lot of your precious time. Outlook has improved its search over the years so finding emails is now easy particularly if you know some tricks to help you get more accurate search results.
Tip 3: Mark Outlook Emails Read only after you actually read them
Every morning, the first thing we do in Outlook is skim through the new emails in the inbox to see which ones need our immediate attention and which ones can be dealt with later.
But while you click through each email, Outlook marks this emails as “Read” and removes the bold highlight… this makes the emails less visible to you and moves them further down as you continue receiving emails through the day. You could end up losing sales because you forgot to reply to the email, end up with frustrated customers due to lack of response and find an inbox that is stacked up with non-responded emails.
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 4: Use Outlook Search Folders to never miss an Important Email from your Boss/Client
How many times have you not responded to an email from your Boss or an important client because the email got buried under other 100’s of emails in your Inbox?
Probably because you clicked on the email and Outlook marked it as Read as discussed in Tip 3.
You can easily solve this by using a feature built directly inside Outlook called Search folders.
Tip 5: Avoid Common Emailing Mistakes that make you look unprofessional and waste precious billable time
Please raise your hands if you are guilty of committing any of the following mistakes:
- Forgot to attach a document to an email message.
- Clicked Reply when you meant Reply-All and wasted precious time re-sending the email to each recipient
- Click Reply-to-All when you meant Reply and disclosed information to unintended recipients.
- Forgot to write a subject.
- Emailed someone using the wrong email address (for those of us with more than one email address).
- Fired off an angry message that you later regretted.
This may seem small errors but if you are running a business, these seemingly “small errors” can make you look unprofessional and waste precious billable time.
To keep you (our readers) organized and productive for the rest of the year, we will share some more popular tips in the next post.
I hope you find this tips useful.
Let us know what are your plans for the second half of the year to have a better Outlook by leaving a comment below.
Your email inbox is where you spend most of your time and it is one busy place to be especially if you are receiving hundreds of emails per day.
Not all emails you receive need immediate actions or responses so you might want to defer it for a later time.
If you just leave the email in your inbox, you are likely to forget because it might just get buried under all the emails that you continue receiving throughout the day.
So how can you ensure that you are reminded to work on an email later when you are ready?
Here are a few ways to automatically get reminded to work on an email that you have received but do not need/want to work on till some date/time in the future.
Option 1: Flag the email with a reminder
This is an OK option if you don’t mind keeping the email in your Inbox (If you want to move the email out of your Inbox, option 2 might be more suited for you).
- Right click on the email, click Follow-up and then click Add Reminder.
- Enter the relevant information in the screen and click OK.
The problems with this method are:
- The email actually stays in your Inbox which can be a distraction and affect your productivity.
- You can’t add any notes to the original email (unless you are using Email Notes for Outlook)
Option 2: Convert the Email to your Calendar or Task List (drag-and-drop)
Many Outlook users do not realize this but you can convert an email to a Task or Calendar by dragging it to the Task or Calendar folder.
A new Task or Calendar Item will be created and opened with the email content in it. You can set the appropriate date to be reminded.
I prefer to drag-and-drop using the right (instead of left) mouse button. This gives 3 options when I drop the email:
- Copy here as Task with Text
- Copy here as Task with Attachment
- Move here as Task with Attachment
I choose either Copy or Move with Attachment options. This way the new Task has the email attached to it. I can simply double-click the attached email to respond.
I hope you find this tip useful in getting more organized.
Do you know of other ways to better manage your emails in Outlook?
Share it with us by leaving a comment below.
Reader Question: Outlook includes my email address in the To field when I do a Reply-All. Clearly I do not want to email myself but Outlook lacks the intelligence to not add my email address to the email. Do you have a solution?
YES. This functionality is built into Send Guard for Outlook. You can turn it on from the settings screen using the following steps:
- Open Outlook
- In Outlook 2010/2013, click on the Standss Outlook Addins tab > click SendGuard > Settings In Outlook 2007/2003, click on the Tools menu > Standss > SendGuard > Settings
SendGuard will display the following screen:
- Click on the Reply Guard tab
- Tick the checkbox for Automatically remove me when doing a Reply to All
- Click OK
Now if you do Reply-to-All on any email, SendGuard will automatically remove your email address from the mailing list.
If you haven’t tried Send Guard for Outlook, you can download a fully functional trial of the Outlook addin.
SendGuard has a number of special filters that check outgoing emails to ensure that they are going to the correct people with all the required information. It’s built in tools include the Attachment Guard, Subject Guard, Reply (and Reply All) Guard, Account Guard, Bad Mood Guard and Send Confirm.
Have you ever BCCed someone on an email so that you can secretly keep them in the loop without the other recipients knowing? Here’s why it is a dangerous practice and what you should do instead.
What is BCC (for those who haven’t used it before)
When you send out an email you can add recipients email addresses to the To, CC or BCC fields. CC stands for carbon copy and is a term that comes from when we used typewriters and used carbon paper to make copies of letters to send to extra people.
BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy.
Normally when you send an email, recipients can see who else received the email because they can see the To and CC fields. But they cannot see the BCC field which means that if you BCC someone on an email, the other people who received the same email will not know.
Why might you use BCC?
- To send a copy of the email to yourself so that you get it in your Inbox as an action item.
- To send a copy to your Gmail account etc. for archiving.
- To secretly inform someone about an email conversation
What is the danger of using BCC?
If you used BCC to keep a recipient hidden from others, imagine what would happen if the hidden recipient did a reply-to-all!
Suddenly the other recipients would be aware that you had been using BCC and depending on the nature of the email conversation, this may be viewed as dishonest or sneaky.
What you can do instead of using BCC
Instead of using BCC, I recommend that you send the email out to the main recipients only using the To and CC fields. Then FORWARD the sent email to anyone else who you need to inform.
Now even if the secret recipient does a Reply-to-All, it only comes back to you.
How to avoid accidental Reply-to-Alls yourself
If you or others in your organization are dealing with confidential information that you are BCCed on, you might want to also look at Send Guard for Outlook. to avoid doing an accident Reply-to-all yourself!
Send Guard has special filters that check emails as you respond to them and as they are sent out.
A special prompt will warn you and ask for confirmation if you reply to an email on which you have been BCCed.
This can avoid the accidental disclosure to other recipients that we referred to earlier.
How do you ensure confidential information is not accidently disclosed?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.
The Outlook To-Do bar is a great addition to Outlook 2010 (and 2007), it shows you the appointment(s) for the day, your task list and easily lets you navigate to future dates to see your upcoming event.
What makes it better is that you can easily customize it i.e. turn on or off the information to Display on the To-D0 Bar. Here is how…
Note: the instructions below are only for Outlook 2010 unless specifically mentioned.
- In any Outlook folder, click on the View tab > in the Layout group click To-Do Bar
- The information that is currently being displayed in the To-Do bar will be TICKED, to hide any item, simply click on it again and it will get untick.
Now only the items which are ticked will be displayed in the To-Do bar.
Apart from customizing what gets displayed or not displayed on the To-Do bar, you can also customize the individual items such as increasing or decreasing the number of appointments or task which can be displayed on the To-Do bar.
But note that when you increase the information to display for one item, it decreases the number of items for the other. Here you need to prioritize what information you need to be aware of more often, your appointments or tasks:
- Simply move your cursor on the To-Do bar between the Appointments and Tasks list
- When your cursor changes to an arrow like image, drag the bar up or down to increase/decrease the number of items to display.
I hope you find this tip useful in organizing your workday.
Do you have suggestions for any other customization in Outlook?
Share it with our readers and us by leaving a comment below.
Outlook 2013 has now been available for preview to consumers for some time and. We have been testing various features for the last few months. Here’s one we like.
Microsoft has implemented a new feature in Outlook 2013 called Quick Response. This feature lets you respond to your emails without leaving your Inbox or opening a new reply window to compose and send your emails.
With the new Quick Response feature, your reading pane itself converts to a compose area and you can perform all the normal functions right there like formatting, adding attachments, CC/BCC etc… and even send the email. However you also have the option to open the normal reply window simply by clicking on Pop Out.
Another new feature is the [Draft] Indicator. Say for example you started typing an email and left it incomplete, maybe you had to rush of to an urgent meeting or reply to another urgent email.
You will now have a draft indicator (as shown above) indicating that this email is not complete or not responded to yet. Once you return and select one of the emails with the Draft indicator, you can start typing your response again from where you left off.
So how are this features useful?
Well it depends on how you work in Outlook and the benefit may vary from person to person but personally Quick Response feature is handy because:
- I get to respond to my emails much quicker , which is obvious because that is what this feature is meant to do.
- Saves a few extra clicks especially for those who do not have the option to Automatically close the Reply windows enabled (in older versions of Outlook)
- I can easily spot emails that are incomplete i.e. I started typing the respond but didn’t complete it. This can be viewed right in your Inbox rather than having to jump back and forth between the inbox and drafts folder.
What are your views on the new Outlook 2013 and its features?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Download and print a quick guide to the most important features in Outlook 2010. The writers of these cheat sheets normally charge for them but they are currently available for free.
For those who are not aware what these are, Cheat Sheets or Quick Reference guides are sort of user-manuals, but a greatly trimmed down versions (1 or 2 pages) that provide information about the important features only.
I like using keyboard shortcuts to carry out common functions in Outlook like opening new email, printing, saving etc. Here are some of the common keyword shortcuts for Outlook (that I learnt through the cheat sheet):
|Save||<Ctrl> + <S>|
|Preview and Print||<Ctrl> + <P>|
|Undo||<Ctrl> + <Z>|
|Cut||<Ctrl> + <X>|
|Copy||<Ctrl> + <C>|
|Paste||<Ctrl> + <V>|
|Check for Mail||<F9>|
|Save, Close, and Send||<Alt> + <S>|
|Reply||<Ctrl> + <R>|
|Reply to All||<Alt> + <L>|
|Address Book||<Ctrl> + <Shift> + <B>|
|Switch Between Applications||<Alt> + <Tab>|
|New Item (Email, Event and Contact)||<Ctrl> + <N>|
|Search||<Ctrl> + <E>|
For Outlook beginners or users looking for quick tips on using Outlook 2010, here is a cheat sheet you can download to learn more about Outlook 2010 features, keyword shortcuts, basic and advanced usage of Mails, Calendars, Contacts etc.
Looking for Free cheat sheets for Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010 or Office 2010?
You can use the links below to download the needed cheat sheet:
Till next time, have a better Outlook.
Thank you to Slaw Tips for bringing this to our attention.
Last week we showed how easy it was to snooze multiple reminders at once.
Today’s post is just a follow-up to that as we realised you could do much more then just snoozing from the reminder pop-up screen.
Do you get annoyed when the reminder pop-up appears with Tasks that you might have completed already?
You are so busy that you just didnt find the time to go to the task folder to Mark it as complete.
Here is the easier way to mark Tasks as complete (without browsing all the way to the task folder).
The next time the reminder pop-up appears with completed tasks:
- Right-click on the task
- Click Mark Complete
Apart from marking task complete, you can also open it incase you need to edit or you could Delete it, all from the same pop-up window.Easy right?
I hope you find this tip useful.
Do you know of other ways to do things easily in Outlook? Share it with our readers and us by leaving a comment below.
Setting up reminders on Task is simple and quite handy because with so much to do, we are likely to miss or forget about other important tasks that might be due.
BUT the overwhelming part is when you are in the middle of something very important and the Reminder Pop-up comes with several tasks. There is two things you might do at this point:
- Click on the red X button to close the Pop-up screen or
- Select each individual task and set a snooze time for it to reappear later
The second option is time-consuming and frustrating when you’re in a middle of something important and have no time to waste.
Get frustrated no more, here is a simple tip that will let you “Select All” Tasks and snooze them all at once:
When the Reminder Pop-up appears:
- Select the First item in the list
- Press Shift on your keyword
- Select the Last item. This should now select all the items in the list as shown below:
- Set the Snooze time from the drop-down
- Click Snooze
This should now snooze all the items in the list to the time specified by you so you can continue with your important task on hand.
For more Reminder Tips, you can refer to an interesting article by Deborah Savadra on Managing Microsoft Outlook Reminders.
Did you find this tip useful? let us know by leaving a comment below.
Adding attachments to email is no big deal, even beginners would know how to do this (Click on the Attachment button and browsing the file).
But the problem with this method is that there is a possibility you might forget to add the attachment to the email. Why?
Because we send hundreds of emails in a day (not all require an attachment), the most obvious sequences of steps are, open a blank email > enter the email address > subject > content > and then click Send.
If an email needs an attachment, it would likely be the last thing you will add and so there is chances you will miss it. Which means you will again have to send another email with the attachment wasting your time and maybe annoying your clients/customers.
Here is how you can use Drag and Drop to add an attachment to the email first and then enter the other details
- Open Outlook
- Click on the Inbox
- Go to the location where you have saved the file you wish to attach
- Drag and Drop the file in the Inbox.
This will now open a blank email with the attachment added. You can now enter the email address, subject (this will be the same as the name of the attachment but you can always change it), enter the content and click Send. Simple and Safe!
For those who still prefer the traditional method of adding attachment, you can try SendGuard for Outlook. This simple Outlook addin automatically prompts you if it feels that an email is missing an attachment. You can focus on the more important stuff like the email content while this outlook add on runs in the background and protects you when needed.
Did you find this tip useful? Let us know by leaving a comment below