Microsoft first released their email client known as Microsoft Internet Mail and News in 1996. Since then, Outlook has gone through many changes and is now one of the Microsoft applications that most people use daily. Although it is such a commonly used application, there are lots of features that can increase productivity you might not know, below are 10 tips to help you work smarter in Outlook.

Organise emails into folders

If you are struggling to find emails relating to a specific subject matter, it is time to start organising emails into folders. To create a folder, right click the inbox and click ‘New Folder’. Each folder can be named, and rules can be created so emails can automatically be sorted and moved to folders.

Schedule delivery of emails

Sometimes you might draft an email ready to send, but it is outside of work hours, and you don’t want to be emailing someone on their weekend or time off. You can schedule the email to be sent at the start of the business day by clicking Options, More Options, Delay Delivery. In here choose your preferred time and date and check the box for Do not deliver before.

Create calendar events with phrases rather than dates

Within Outlook it is possible to create calendar events without scrolling through the calendar to pick a specific date for a meeting. In the date field you are able to type phrases such as ‘next Tuesday’ or ‘one month from now’ and Outlook will select the correct date.

Set rules to organise emails and notifications

Constant notifications from unimportant emails and having to sort emails into folders manually can reduce productivity. Thankfully within Outlook it is possible to set rules for sorting emails and notification settings. A rule can be created by clicking File, Manage Rules and Alerts. In here it is possible to set rules based off who it is from or what the email contains, and what notifications each rule should have.

Easily set up meetings with Scheduling Assistant

Scheduling Assistant helps reduce the amount of time it takes to book meetings with colleagues as it suggests times that they are free. If your IT admin has set up conference rooms, Scheduling Assistant will also show when the room is free for meeting use. To use this feature, when you go to set up a meeting and add the attendees and location, click the Scheduling Assistant tab and it will show what times are available.

Avoid embarrassing mistakes with Delayed Delivery

If you are ever worried you will send an email out with errors or to the wrong person, it is a great idea to delay all your emails by a minute to give you the time to realise your error before it is too late.

For this you must create a rule, click File, Manage Rules and Alerts, New Rule, Apply Rule on messages I send, click Next, then Yes. When asked “What do you want to do with the message? Click defer delivery by a number of minutes. Set this to 1 minute and click Ok, Next then Finish.

Now whenever you send a message it will be delayed by a minute to give yourself time to retract it if necessary.

Receive Read and Delivery receipts

If you have an email that is important to know if the message has been delivered and the receiver has opened it, it is possible to add delivery and read receipts to notify you when this happens. To enable this on an email, draft your email and click Options, in the Tracking group select the Request a Delivery Receipt or Request a Read Receipt check box.

Create tasks and set reminders

When an email contains an actionable item, you are able to flag the email as a task and set yourself a reminder to do the task or reply to the email. To do this, select an email, and click the Follow Up flag in the Home group, here you are able to set a time that the task needs to be completed by. You are also able to select a reminder notification time by clicking the bell icon. To view all your current tasks, click the Tasks icon in the left pane.

Organise emails with categories

Outlook Categories are a management tool to further organise your email inbox. To define categories, navigate to the Tags section of the Home tab and click the Categories icon. From here, click all categories and you are able to rename the default categories and add new ones. To categorise emails, select the email and click categories and select your desired category. This can make it quicker and easier to find related emails.

Use your focused inbox

With the average office worker receiving 121 emails per day, it is highly likely that some of these are more important than others. To organise which emails are important and need to be easily accessed you are able to add them to your focused inbox. To turn on the Focused inbox, click the View tab and select Show Focused Inbox. The Focused tab will now appear at the top of your mailbox. To organise which emails automatically go to each inbox, right click an email and select Move to Other or Move to Focused. If you want all emails from a specific sender to go to a certain inbox select Always Move to Focused or Always Move to Other.

With these tips you should be able to be more productive and work smarter in Outlook. If you want to find out more about how to get the most out of other Microsoft applications, get in touch today!

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