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Five Tips to Get More Out of Outlook

Most Microsoft Outlook users are familiar with the software mainstream features. Here are fewer known features that will take your productivity to the next level.

Search Folders: Search Folders is a feature that allows you to focus on a particular area of your mailbox for swifter mail management. This feature allows you to group together messages that have a set feature in common and save them somewhere they can be retrieved. Simply right-click on the Search Folder option and choose a type that suits your requirements (e.g., “Unread mail”, “Mail flagged for follow-up”) or create your own from scratch. Having created this folder, it will appear, along with any others you make, on the left-hand side of your navigation pane under Search Folders.

Conditional Formatting: This feature allows you to set color codes and font styles for specific emails, so you can easily identify messages that are specific to you as opposed to those addressed to a group. Go to View > View Settings > Conditional Formatting > Add > Font > Condition and you can ensure messages that are particularly important to you will appear in your message list in a different font and color.

Categorized Searches: On the Search Bar select Refine > Categorized and you can set customized categories for organizing your email, which makes it far easier to retrieve the emails you need. As new emails come in, you can either place them in a category you’ve already set or put them in a category of their own.

Give Personal Mentions: If you want to particularly get an individual’s attention in a circular email, include them in the body of the text, e.g. “Could I ask @Smith, John to bring the financial reports?” This means their name will be highlighted and in addition their email will be automatically added to the circulation list. This feature can also be used to search for emails in which you have been given a personal mention: simply select the “Mentioned Mail” tag in the “Arranged by” pane.

Cleaning up Conversations: If you’re not careful your Outlook mailbox can get swamped with redundant messages, e.g., a colleague forwards you and another colleague a message, then your colleague forwards it to another group which also includes you, and so on. By going to Delete > Clean Up > Clean Up Folder, every redundant message will be removed from your inbox.

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