Microsoft Outlook 10 Time-Saving Email Tips
You use your email every single day, so why not make sure you’re using it right? Discover the many efficiency-boosting tools included with Microsoft Outlook.
Microsoft Outlook has been the email program of choice for businesses for many years, and with good reason. With an abundance of great features and endless options for customization, it’s the perfect solution for busy business professionals.
However, even if you’ve long been an Outlook user, chances are you still haven’t quite figured out how some of the program’s best features work — if you realize they’re there at all.
Check out our latest video to discover more:
10 Ways Microsoft Outlook Helps You Save Time
Set Up Rules
Rules allow you to turn Outlook into a personal assistant by automating your manual processes.
The Rules feature is great for things like CC’d emails that you don’t generally need to take any action with. Instead of them taking up space in your inbox, you can set a Rule to kick them to a special folder that you can go through at a later time.
Click the Rules button on Home tab ribbon and select Create Rule. Use the pop-up window to set specifications, and feel free to use Advanced Options to select more specific criteria. Adjust or delete Rules as needed by selecting Manage Rules from the Rules button drop-down. Rules can also be used for Conditional Formatting to make certain messages easier to see, or for any other adjustments you’d like made.
Pick Favorite Folders
You can pick and choose your most commonly used folders to stay in an easy to find spot — right above the rest of your left-hand folder menu. At the very top, you’ll see text noting where Favorite Folders can be kept.
Simply click and drag whichever folders you visit most often and put them there, so you don’t have to scroll and search for them every time you need to access them.
Convert Emails To Tasks
Don’t leave emails in your inbox as a way to get you to deal with them later — Outlook has a built-in function that allows you to turn emails into tasks, while also keeping your inbox clean and tidy.
On a given email, move your cursor to the right-hand end of the subject line in your inbox and click the small flag icon. This will add the email in question as a task on your to-do list. By right-clicking, you can choose the time frame for the to-do as well.
Convert Emails To Appointments
When an email is directly about or even associated with a given event, you can convert it into an appointment. Simply drag the message down to the calendar icon in the bottom left-hand corner and select how you want the appointment created (with the email as an attachment, with the email as plain text, etc.).
Have Outlook Read Your Emails Out Loud
Enable this feature under File>Options>Ease of Access> “Show Read Aloud”. This feature will then appear as an option on your ribbon when you are viewing a message, allowing you to have Outlook read it to you while you have your coffee, or handle another task simultaneously.
Have Outlook Take Dictation
Make Outlook into your personal assistant by speaking your email draft out loud and having each and every word dictated. Select it under the Message tab on your ribbon.
Please note that this feature is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers using the desktop app.
Send Emails Later With Delay Delivery
Say you want to get ahead on your emails, but don’t want your outgoing messages to ping a contact’s inbox after hours or on the weekend — that’s what the Delay Delivery feature is for.
Found under the Option tab on your ribbon, you can use this feature to select a specific time frame for when your message will send. This will leave any messages in your outbox until the timeframe has been met.
Speed Up Your Processes With Quick Steps
Quicksteps are customizable buttons in the Home tab ribbon you can set based on which features you use the most. These can be applied to individual folders and messages, or just about anything else as you see fit. Whereas Rules are always on, you can activate Quick Steps when needed.
Speed Up Drafting With Quick Parts
This feature allows you to save and reuse boilerplate copy as needed. Whether it’s a stock response or a common reply you need to give, you can store and access it via Quick Parts, found in the Insert tab on the ribbon.
Use Your Quick Access Toolbar
Your Quick Access Toolbar sits above the ribbon, and by default, includes features like Send/Receive Folders and Undo. However, you can add whatever tools you most commonly use there as well — simply use the dropdown arrow to add commonly used actions.
Remember, as always, there are often a number of customizable options available in your user experience. To take advantage of them, you just have to take a little time to learn more about how they work, and what’s available to you.
President and CEO of Initial.IT,inc. A computer network consulting firm in Denver providing outsourced IT support and Managed Services for a multitude of industries. Initial.IT has extensive and unique experience supporting clients in the Architectural, Engineering and Construction Industry. We are a Microsoft Certified Partner and employ Microsoft Certified Professionals.