For many, business email is a pain point. We all get too much email and finding what you really need can be a hassle. Microsoft Outlook has several features built in that can make it easier on you: Quick Steps, Categories, and Search Folder. Using these features individually or combining them can free up a few minutes of your day and make email just a little less painful.
Categories are a great way to sort your emails within Outlook, allowing you to tag an email with one or more keywords.
To apply a category to an email, right click on the email and look for the ‘Categorize’ option. Click on a category to apply it to that message. You can rename your categories by choosing the ‘All Categories’ button.
Categories can be used alongside folders. One way to use these together is to create separate folders for specific clients, then use categories within the folders to organize the types of emails. You could use blue for contracts, yellow for invoices, etc.
Quick Steps are very similar to Outlook Rules. It’s the same functionality (applying an action to an email), but Quick Steps allow you to choose when to apply an action, rather than applying the action automatically.
To use Quick Steps, Select the message you want the Quick Step to apply to and click which Quick Step you want applied. Quick Steps are located in the top pane of Outlook.
To create or modify Quick Steps, click on the drop down in the bottom right corner of the Quick Steps box and choose ‘Manage Quick Steps.' From here, you can view existing Quick Steps and create new ones. You can choose from default options like flagging for follow up, forward to a particular person, categorizing the message or create your own custom Quick Steps.
Search folders are a quick way to find the information you search for regularly by letting you save searches. Say you're searching for emails from a particular person: Instead of typing in the user’s name at the top of your inbox, you could create a search folder with that same criteria.
To create a new search folder, right click on ‘Search Folders’ in the left pane. Then all you have to do to perform that search is to click on the search folder.