10 Microsoft Outlook Best Practices

Microsoft Outlook is a powerful tool, but it can be overwhelming if you don't know how to use it effectively. These 10 best practices will help you get the most out of Outlook and make your email life easier.

Microsoft Outlook is a popular email client that is used by businesses and individuals all over the world. While Outlook is a powerful tool, it can also be challenging to use. This is especially true if you are not familiar with all of the features and options that are available.

In this article, we will share 10 Microsoft Outlook best practices that will help you get the most out of this email client. We will cover topics such as organizing your inbox, creating rules and filters, and using the calendar effectively. By following these best practices, you can make Outlook work for you instead of against you.

1. Use the Outlook Calendar

The Outlook Calendar is a great way to keep track of your schedule, as well as the schedules of others. It can also be used to set up meeting times, send reminders, and more.

When you use the Outlook Calendar, you can:

– See your upcoming appointments and events at a glance
– Set up meeting times with ease
– Send reminders to yourself and others
– Share your calendar with others

By taking advantage of the Outlook Calendar, you can make sure that you’re always on top of your schedule, and that you’re able to stay organized and efficient.

2. Create a Folder Structure for Your Inbox

An inbox is like a filing cabinet. If everything is just thrown in there, it’s going to be very difficult to find anything. But if you have a well-organized system of folders, it will be much easier to keep track of your emails and find the ones you need.

Creating a folder structure for your inbox doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with a few basic folders, such as “Action Items,” “To Follow Up On,” and “Archived.” Then, you can create subfolders within those folders to further organize your emails.

For example, you could have a “Follow Up” folder within your “Action Items” folder. Or, you could have a “Clients” folder within your “To Follow Up On” folder.

By taking the time to create a folder structure for your inbox, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration down the road.

3. Turn on Conversation View

Conversation View groups all messages with the same subject line together. So, if you’re working on a project with multiple people and there are a lot of email threads going back and forth, you can easily see everything in one place. This is a huge time-saver because you don’t have to search through your inbox for old emails.

To turn on Conversation View in Outlook, go to View > Show as Conversations. Then, select the option to show messages from the current folder only or from all mailboxes.

4. Use Quick Steps to Automate Tasks

Quick Steps are a series of pre-defined actions that you can apply to emails with one click. For example, you can create a Quick Step that will move an email to a specific folder and mark it as read. This is extremely useful if you find yourself performing the same tasks over and over again.

To create a Quick Step, go to the Home tab and click on the Quick Steps button. From there, you can choose from a variety of pre-defined Quick Steps or create your own.

5. Set Up Rules to Organize Your Inbox

An inbox is only as good as its organization. An unorganized inbox makes it difficult to find important emails, which can lead to missed deadlines or opportunities.

Rules help you organize your inbox by automatically sorting emails into folders based on criteria that you set. For example, you could create a rule that moves all emails from your boss into a “Boss” folder.

To set up a rule in Outlook, click the “File” tab and then click “Manage Rules & Alerts.” Click “New Rule” and then follow the prompts to set up your rule.

6. Take Advantage of Search Folders

If you receive a lot of email every day, it can be tough to keep track of everything. You might miss important messages because they’re buried in your inbox. Or, you might waste time re-reading emails that you’ve already dealt with.

Search folders can help with both of these problems. Search folders let you create virtual folders that contain all the emails that match certain criteria. For example, you could create a search folder for all the emails from your boss, or all the emails with attachments.

Creating search folders is easy. Just click on the “Folder” tab and then select “New Search Folder.” From there, you’ll be able to choose the criteria for your search folder.

Once you’ve created a few search folders, you’ll be able to quickly find the emails you’re looking for. And, you won’t have to worry about missing any important messages.

7. Keep Track of Important Emails with Flags

When you flag an email, it appears in a separate list called the To-Do Bar. This is a great way to make sure you don’t forget about an important email, because it’s right there in front of you every time you open Outlook.

You can also set a due date for a flagged email, and Outlook will remind you when that date arrives. This is especially useful for emails that require a response by a certain date.

To flag an email, just click the flag icon in the toolbar. You can also right-click an email and select “Flag” from the menu.

8. Save Time by Using Keyboard Shortcuts

For starters, keyboard shortcuts are much faster than using the mouse. If you’re constantly reaching for the mouse, you’re wasting valuable time that could be spent on other tasks.

Second, keyboard shortcuts can help you avoid repetitive strain injuries (RSI). If you spend a lot of time typing or using the mouse, you’re at risk of developing RSI. By using keyboard shortcuts, you can reduce the amount of time you spend typing and using the mouse, which can help prevent RSI.

Finally, keyboard shortcuts can help you improve your productivity. When you use keyboard shortcuts, you can get things done faster, which means you can get more done in less time.

Here are some of the best keyboard shortcuts to use in Microsoft Outlook:

To create a new email message, press Ctrl+N.

To reply to an email message, press Ctrl+R.

To forward an email message, press Ctrl+F.

To delete an email message, press Ctrl+D.

To save an email message, press Ctrl+S.

To print an email message, press Ctrl+P.

9. Archive Old Emails

When you archive emails, they’re moved from your inbox to an archive file. This has two benefits.

The first is that it declutters your inbox, making it easier to find important emails.

The second is that it frees up space on your hard drive. If you have a lot of old emails taking up space, archiving can help improve your computer’s performance.

To archive emails in Outlook, select the emails you want to move to the archive, then click the Archive button.

You can also set up Outlook to automatically archive emails older than a certain age. To do this, go to File > Options > Advanced, then scroll down to the AutoArchive section.

10. Customize Your Outlook Experience

By customizing Outlook, you can make it work the way you want it to. You can add features that are important to you and remove features that you don’t need.

There are a few different ways to customize Outlook, but one of the easiest is by using add-ins. Add-ins are small programs that extend the functionality of Outlook. There are add-ins for just about everything, from managing your tasks to tracking your emails.

To find add-ins, open Outlook and go to the File tab. Then, click on the Options button. In the Options window, select the Add-Ins category. From here, you can manage your add-ins and even get new ones.

If you can’t find an add-in that does what you want, you can always create your own. Outlook supports Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which means you can write code to automate just about anything in Outlook.


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