The Three Best Outlook Tips for Power Users

The Three Best Outlook Tips for Power Users

August 26

Author’s note: This article also appears on Windows IT Pro.

Exchange management involves not only making sure the server itself function, but also that users can use Outlook effectively. Plus, the cleaner employees can keep their folders, the fewer burdens are placed on the Exchange server. With that in mind, here’s what users can do to make their Outlook experience a tad bit easier. This article focuses on features in Office 2010 (I’m old-school, so what?).

Clean as you go

A good chef keeps his kitchen clean as he cooks, just like a good business woman keeps her inbox clean as she works. I used Outlook for years before I noticed this handy feature: Reply & Delete. Instead of the standard go-to Reply, you can save a step and delete a message right after you’ve replied to it in one step. It’s a simple way to keep your inbox clean as you go so you don’t end up with days and days of messages you no longer need. The Reply & Delete button is found in the top ribbon under Quick Steps.

Create custom contact groups

I’m lucky enough to work for a growing international company. What this means is that while we have contact groups set up locally, there are times when I need to send messages to everyone in marketing in the US and everyone in marketing internationally. This can become a chore when I’ve got to add specific members of our European and Australian teams. Rather than adding them individual and risking missing someone—and not to mention spending extra time—it’s easy to set up a custom contact group. This is how it works in Outlook 2010 (the process is similar for other versions).

  1. In the “Home” ribbon, click New Items
  2. Click Contact Group and a window will open
  3. Give your contact group a name e.g. “Internal Marketing List”
  4. Click Add Members
  5. Choose individual members or groups to add
  6. Click Save and Close

Now, when you send a new message, you can simply type the name of your distribution list into the “To” section and you’re set.

Move messages right where you want them

Suppose you’ve got that one annoying technician who always sends you cat videos. Maybe you’re a dog person and you’re fed up with this cutesy nonsense. The problem is that “Cat Video Jimmy” probably sends you the occasional message that you need to see. Here’s how to send his messages to a special folder within your inbox so you can sort through them when you feel like it.

First, create a custom folder:

  1. Right-click Inbox in the left-side column.
  2. Click New Folder
  3. Name your folder e.g. “Jimmy’s Nonsense”
  4. Click Ok

Next, create the rule:

  1. Find a message from Jimmy or whomever sends you messages you’d like to automatically move
  2. Right-click the message and scroll to Rules
  3. Click Always move messages from ___
  4. Select the folder you’d like to move these messages (Jimmy’s Nonsense Folder)
  5. Click OK

And that’s it. From now on, all messages from “Cat Video Jimmy” will go right into his specially-made nonsense folder for you to peruse at your leisure.

This list is just a few of our favorites, but there are dozens of tips that make Outlook a veritable email machine. When you spend so much time fighting emails, it makes sense to do it as efficiently as possible, so be sure to read and share some of the tips from the fine folks at Lifehacker.

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