Microtrading helps clients to unlock the potential of their investment in IT. To that end, here are some Outlook tips and features that can benefit your business.

Folders are your friends

Email folders are nothing new, but what they can do has changed over the years, as have the schools of thought on how best to use them.

In Outlook, you can create a structure to your folders to suit your email needs. Many use this folder structure for archiving emails, but it is also a great way to manage incoming emails as tasks and get them out of your inbox view.

Use folders to organise a messy inbox, and overcome email overload – here’s a structure suggestion: Create a to-do folder and subfolders within that called something along the lines of “Follow up” for pressing tasks that are urgent or require a significant amount of time to resolve, and a subfolder called “Someday” or “Backburner“, for things that are not so important. This will leave your most urgent and easily resolved tasks in your inbox.

Automatic sort

As emails flood-in on a daily basis, wading through them to find the ones you must address urgently, without disrupting your day’s workflow and productivity isn’t easy. but Outlook has a trick up its sleeve – it’ll sort the emails for you.

Whilst being able to organise your emails manually into categorised and prioritised folders can make life easier, the Rules feature within Outlook makes those decisions on your behalf.

This will allow you to manage, as you see fit, distractions such as:

  • Automatic notifications – remove emails regarding CRM updates etc from your to-do list
  • Novelty emails – decide when you see the office jokes doing the rounds
  • Unnecessary CCs – avoid the flurry of response to an internal mass email

If you’d like to set up Rules within your Outlook, here’s how it’s done: Firstly, right-click the email, hover over “Rules,” and select “Create Rule.”

Now you can choose the criteria for your new rule:

  1. The “From [Sender]” option will enforce the rule whenever you receive an email from a specific email address or contact.
  2. “Subject contains” will enforce the rule when a certain word or phrase appears in an email’s subject line.

You can then select what happens when the rule runs. If you check “Move the item to folder,” Outlook will move applicable emails out of your inbox and into the appropriate folder which you will have designated.

If you never want to see certain emails, you can also choose the “Deleted Items” folder or create a separate archive folder keeping them on file for potential review in the future.

Once that’s done, click “OK” to apply the rule.

Want to prevent getting future emails on a specific thread? In that case, instead of creating a rule, you can just use Outlook’s ignore function. Right-click the email, select “Ignore,” and confirm the action.

Ignore automatically sends future replies to that thread to your “Deleted Items” folder so you don’t receive them in your inbox.

Outlook Sniffer

Outlook Sniffer is a great little feature, think of it as your own personal digital sniffer dog, detecting and processing certain types of emails.

An example of its useful applications is scheduling; Sniffer can identify meeting arrangements you make within email discussions and calendarise them for you automatically. And ever use email polls? Sniffer can process the results automatically for you.

Enabling Sniffer is easy. Click on the File menu within Outlook, then click Options. Select Mail options, and then scroll down until you find the Tracking section.

You will find an option to “Automatically process meeting requests and responses to meeting requests and polls.”. Once you’ve checked this box, Sniffer will do its job automatically –saving you time and enabling you to be more productive.

Cleaning up

Whether you’ve been on annual leave catching the sun or at home feeling a little under weather, returning to work after a few days away and viewing your email inbox can be a bit overwhelming. However, there are ways of getting through the deluge of emails received in your absence quickly and easily.

The Clean Up function in Outlook makes allows you to reduce the number of emails you need to deal with in just a few clicks. The way it works is to remove all emails that are part of an email chain, so that you only have to read a single thread.

To clean up your inbox quickly:

  1. While viewing your inbox, click the “Clean Up” button, and select “Clean Up Folder.”

2. Click the “Clean Up Folder” button in the menu that pops up to confirm

Outlook’s Clean Up will then automatically remove all duplicate emails, so that you have far fewer emails to read through.

How can Microtrading help?

We will enable you to get the most out of Outlook and many other applications included within the Microsoft Office 365 suite. Our team is on hand to provide you with advice and support to optimise your IT. If you’ve yet to move to Office 365, we can advise, implement and support the transition.

If you’d like to discuss your use of Outlook and Office 365 or other IT support requirements, contact Microtrading IT support in Birmingham on 0121 784 0077 or click here to see how we can help.