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Do you know how to use Microsoft Outlook to its fullest potential? Microsoft Outlook is designed to make your workday easier. Not knowing how to use it is like not understanding how to do your job. There are some easy ways to clean out your inbox using Outlook’s Rules. I’ll show you how here.

As you can see below, I have quite a few items in my inbox – 1,689, to be exact!

If you’re like me, you receive emails that are less of a priority than others. You want to eventually read them, but you might not want them all in your inbox as a high-priority item.

If you have emails like this from a company, person or pertaining to a particular project, create a folder where you can store them to read later.

Once you do this, go back to your inbox and find the email or emails you wish to create a rule for.

Right-click on that email and scroll down to “Rules” and “Create Rule.”

Now we’ll set the conditions for the Rule.

Here I’m setting all the emails from Robin Robins to do something.

Note: If I clicked all the boxes: “From,” “Subject contains,” and “Sent to” all three of these parameters must be met.

I don’t want this so I’m only going to check the “From Robin Robins” box.

I want to be aware when new items come in from Robin Robins, so I’m choosing “Display in the New Item Alert Window.”

I’m not concerned about a sound alert, so I’m not checking this.

But I do want these messages to be moved to the new folder I created.

Now, I just have to select the folder I created.

Success! – I received the pop-up saying my new rule was created. I have to be sure to check the box that says, “Run this rule now on messages already in the current folder.”

Now the ones that are already in my inbox will be moved to the new folder called “Robin Robins.”

There they go!

See how my item count has dropped from 1,689 to 1,598?

“Ta-da!” My Robin Robbins’ emails are all organized in one folder. I know that they’re there and I can read them later. I’ll go through and read the one’s in red first as these are the priority emails.

Best of all? This only took a few minutes to do! It’s a lot faster than going through them one-by-one, isn’t it?

Some Reasons Why I Like Microsoft Outlook:

  • It’s integrated with Microsoft’s other products in Microsoft Office 365. I can bring in Word, Excel, and OneNote to name a few.
  • I can centralize all my email addresses. I link up to each of my email addresses and manage them all in one place. Plus, I can synchronize Office 2016 with my other devices, like my smartphone.
  • It also includes a Calendar & Task Manager to organize and manage my appointments and to-dos (and others’).
  • It’s time-saving, flexibility, and productivity features help make my life so much easier!

Microsoft Outlook Provides Many Ways To Customize My Tools

Emails

It’s easy to change the color and contrast of Outlook. I can also use a picture or color as the background or add a text watermark to my emails.

I like to customize emails with the fonts I prefer. I can change the default font for various email messages I send or use a specific font for messages that I forward or reply to.

Creating signatures for my different email accounts is a breeze. I like to personalize signatures for my email messages by including text, images, my electronic business card, a logo, or even an image of my handwritten signature. I can automatically add signatures to all of my outgoing messages if I want. Or I can choose which messages should show a specific signature.

It’s fun to set up sound alerts for new incoming emails. A sound plays play when I get new email messages. The default sound is a short .wav audio file, but I can change it to any .wav file of my choice. There are lots to choose from.

I think it’s important to establish tracking options with delivery receipts. A delivery receipt can be sent to my inbox confirming delivery of the email messages I send.

Clutter

This is where I can place low-priority emails that I want to read later. Clutter helps me filter them, saving me time to deal with my most important messages. Office 2016 remembers “Clutter” emails if I want it to. And I can turn this off at any time.

Folders & Subfolders

I can base these on topics, senders, organizations, projects, etc.—whatever works. I can organize my emails under subjects that I choose. I just use folders in Outlook to move email messages, add a folder to my Favorites, and set a rule to move specific emails out of my inbox. (Just like I did above with my Robin Robbins emails.)

Calendars

Outlook 2016 calendars have all the tools and functionality I’ve relied on in the past, with improved features to help me manage my time. I can:

  • Set up multiple calendars (e.g., personal, business, health, etc.).
  • Create appointments easily and share them with my contacts.
  • Use Scheduling Assistant to access others’ calendars that I’m authorized to view (and vice versa).
  • Set reminders, reoccurring appointments, meetings, alerts, and more.
  • View my calendar by the day, week, month, or year.

Contacts

I can also import contacts into Outlook from other email providers using the Outlook Import/Export wizard with a csv file, Excel spreadsheet, or vCard.

My contacts are linked to my email accounts, so I can simply key a name in the “To” field, and my contact’s email address will appear.

I can even set permissions for a specific contact (delegate) to view my emails while I’m on vacation. Plus, I can give this person access to my calendar, tasks, and so on, as appropriate. I often have more than one delegate for different purposes. One takes care of my email, and another manages my tasks, etc.

Tools

Out of Office

I can notify those emailing me that I’m not available during a particular period of time with “Out of Office.” I just set up a specific message that I want others to see.

I can even set up different messages for people inside or outside of my organization. (Outlook will remind me that the “Out of Office” message is turned on so I don’t forget when I return.)

As mentioned above, similar to having an assistant help me manage my incoming paper mail, I can use Microsoft Outlook to allow a delegate to receive and respond to e-mail messages and meeting requests and responses on my behalf.

I can also grant additional permissions that allow my delegate to read, create, or have more control over items in my Microsoft Exchange Server mailbox—And, I’m able to set more than one delegate and permissions for various tasks.

Tasks

Outlook 2016’s Task Management helps me accomplish to-do’s faster and easier. I can:

  • Categorize my tasks with color codes.
  • Ping reminders for tasks.
  • Check-off tasks when complete.

I also create tasks for others. Outlook integrates tasks with my emails, so I can assign a task to a recipient. The task will show up on their task list.

I hope this helped!

If you liked this info, feel free to check out more here:

Using Excel Like A Pro

Take Your PowerPoint To The Next Level

How Office 365 Can Keep Your Team Productive

 

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