Tech Corner: Using Outlook More Effectively

By Michelle Coutu

Most of us outlook as an email client however it was designed as a digital personal organizer. Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, and Journal Features allow you to manage and track you 2016 goals. Here are three underutilized features of Microsoft Outlook that will help you with tracking meetings, training, sampling, and compliance needs.

Using Inbox Folders and Rules

In order to avoid distraction while working on tasks, create rules that filter your email in to separate folders so that you can check on them later.

Create folders in outlook by navigating to the “Folder” tab in the ribbon bar and clicking the “New Folder” button. You will be asked to name the folder and selected a location. Click “Ok” when complete.

Then navigate back to the home tab on the ribbon bar and select the email you would like to create a rule for. Click the “Rules” button in the move section and select “Create Rule” from the drop down menu. You will then be presented with a form to set the conditions to file your email. In the example below all e-mails from Selwin Gray will be automatically moved to the RCB folder.

To change or delete a rule simple click the Rules Button and select “Manage Rules and Alerts.” You will be presented with a list of rules to edit or delete.

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Categorize (Color Code) Your Calendar

Categorizing or color coding allows you to organize events and quickly scan your calendar for upcoming events.  It also gives you feedback on how much time you are spending on a particular project or focus area, which allows you to re target your priorities.  Outlook allows you to categorize appointments and meetings when creating your event. The “Categorize” button is located in the meeting tab of the ribbon bar of the new event.

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Once you click “Categorize” Outlook will open a preset list of color coded choices. Click the last option “All Categorize…” at the bottom to make edits to the categories and colors. Outlook will open a menu that will allow you to change the names of categories and colors.

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Emails to Action

Plain emails can be turned in to meetings or tasks in just the click of the mouse. To create a task from an email simply click the little flag outline. This will make the flag turn red and place that task on your to do list for the day, which you can see via the Calendar or the Tasks section of Outlook. Once you complete that task click the red flag again, this will turn in to a check mark and strike that ask from your list.

You can also create meetings or appointments from emails by dragging and dropping  the email from you email list to the date on the right hand calendar. This will automatically open a new appointment window  where you can enter the date and time of the event. The body of the email will be transferred to the body of the event.

Don’t have outlook, no problem, Gmail offers many of the same tools and features (for free!) that will also sync with your Android device.

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