Beginner Outlook Tips

If your organization uses Outlook, then you need to start thinking of it as your database of communications instead of just a platform for communication. You want to work fast and efficiently while being able to find communication at a moment’s notice. Doing so means learning to utilize a few tools that Outlook offers. Check out the following tips for organization in Outlook:

1. Create Folders – Creating folders is a great way to keep multiple projects separated in your Inbox. ‘Folder’ is its own tab on your Outlook tool bar. Assigning specific Emails to the project they correspond with is the equivalent to a virtual filing system that you can recall with a click or two.
2. Create Rules – Creating rules couples well with folders. Assign responses to initial Emails to go directly into a folder. You can also assign non-urgent replies to go to a specific spot or have spam and sync logs assigned to be automatically deleted.
3. Flag Messages – A Default option and simple tool. Any Email that you flag is just as searchable. When you have your cursor in the search bar of your inbox, go to the Tool bar and click the flag. All of your flagged items will appear and you will immediately see any task that needs completion.
4. Color Coordinate Your Calendar – Color coordination is great because you don’t necessarily have to read the whole event to know how to prepare. For example, any deadline you have related to collateral, color code it ‘Yellow.’ As you scroll through your work week and see ‘Yellow,’ you may think the project is under control. The color coordination is great for long term planning. Knowing what your assigned colors mean is half the battle, but you can forget what your own colors mean. If your Team understands your color hierarchy, they can take a quick glance at your calendar and understand availability and your schedule.
5. Create Groups – Sending a regular communication to your team? Create a more efficient workflow by creating a group in your ‘Contacts’ and give it a name. When you are ready to send an email to everyone, just click on the group name.
6. Make Templates – Templates work well in a number of capacities, but especially for your ‘Groups.’ Don’t rewrite the same email when you can just save it as a template, recall it, and tweak, as needed.
7. Add A Signature – Have a signature on your emails for a professional look to include any pertinent information your contacts might need.

These are very basic tips but, when added together, will greatly reduce your workflow and help you navigate the numerous communications you have to send per day.