Rules to Better Outlook
Occasionally you will send an email and want to make changes to it after it's already gone. Microsoft Outlook has the option to "recall the message" but this is not recommended mainly because you cannot guarantee the recipient hasn't seen the message already.
What you need to do is to set a rule to delay sending your emails in 15 minutes for example, which gives you time enough to correct it in most of the cases. If you only realize your mistake after this amount of time, just use "reply to all" mentioning your changes.
Here is how you do it in Outlook :
- Click the File tab.
- Click Manage Rules & Alerts .
- Click New Rule .
- In the Step 1: Select a template box, under Start from a Blank Rule, click Apply rule on messages I send , and then click Next .
- In the Step 1: Select condition(s) list, select the check boxes for any options that you want, and then click Next . When you don't select any check boxes, a confirmation dialog box appears to confirm that the rule you are creating will be applied to all messages that you send.
- In the Step 1: Select action(s) list, select the "defer delivery by a number of minutes" check box.
- In the Step 2: Edit the rule description (click an underlined value) box by entering the number of minutes you want the messages to be held before it is sent. Delivery can be delayed up to 120 minutes.
- Click OK , and then click Next .
- Select the check boxes for any exceptions that you want. Click Next .
- In the Step 1: Specify a name for this rule box, type a name for the rule (E.g. "Delay sending emails").
- Select the Turn on this rule check box.
- Click Finish.
Now when you click Send, each message remains in the Outbox folder for the time that you specified and you can make changes to it until then.
Some people make extensive use of the rules wizard so that as email messages arrive they already appear in the appropriately created folder.
"I basically think this doesn't work as you never look at these emails."- Adam Cogan
If you use Exchange Server, Auto-Archive moves the archived items from the Exchange Server to a local drive on your notebook or desktop. While this keeps your Exchange Server nice and small, if you happen to use email to store legal documents, or want to search for emails you've sent a year ago, Auto-Archive is like throwing data away.Figure: Turn off AutoArchive so your emails do not get thrown away I promise you'll be thankful you never deleted your Sent Items.
We have a program called SSW LookOut! for Outlook to check for this rule.
SSW LookOut! for Outlook can tell you if you have archive on.Figure: SSW LookOut! for Outlook warns you if Outlook is set to archive your emails
You may be involved in different tasks simultaneously every day. The best way to organize your tasks and follow each task individually is grouping your emails by conversation. By default, Outlook groups the emails by Date.
Follow these steps to group by conversation:
- Open Outlook and select the Mail View.
- Right-click any column and choose the "Customize Current View..." option.
- Select the "Group by..." option as displayed in the image.
- Select the "Conversation" field from the list. (Leave empty the remaining groups)
Cut down the noise in your inbox by visually filtering emails not sent directly to you.
Even though you may check your emails before sending, use SSW lookout to help you avoid mistakes, and even if you send/receive manually, there will still be times where you will send out an email with mistakes or incorrect content.
But all is not lost.
With Outlook 2007
If you go into your sent items, open up the offending email, and go into Actions | Recall this Message, outlook will attempt to delete the message from the recipient's inbox before he has a chance to read it.Figure: Actions | Recall this Message (Outlook 2007)
With Outlook 2010
If you go into your sent items, open up the offending email, and go into file | Info | Resend Or Recall | Recall this message, outlook will attempt to delete the message from the recipient's inbox before he has a chance to read it.
Figure: File | Info | Resend Or Recall | Recall This Message (Outlook 2010)
Outlook will tell you whether it was successful or not
Your deleted items can become quite out of hand if you don't manage them. First, it can waste a lot of space on your hard drive, and second, after accidentally deleting a mail item, it can take days to find it again amongst the 30,000 messages in your Deleted Items Folder.
Here's a couple of solutions:
- Permanently delete your deleted items. This is based on the theory that once you have deleted a mail item, you should NEVER HAVE TO LOOK AT IT AGAIN. This is a good theory, but unfortunately, we don't always follow it in practice and there's no recovery
- Move the items into subfolders under Deleted Items. This is a good solution as you can manually archive items, making it easier to search. You can permanently delete items when they reach a certain age.
Note: A hot tip for making it easy to search for an accidentally deleted item is to add the "Modified" field into your Deleted Items view and sort by "Modified". The item from two months ago which you just accidentally deleted will be sitting at the top.
Getting in the zone is pretty challenging in any work environment. Outlook in particular likes to offer as many distractions as possible to ensure you can never forget you've got it open. Set your options so that Outlook:
- Doesn't play a sound
- Doesn't briefly change the mouse cursor
- Doesn't show an envelope
- and DOESN'T display a New Mail Desktop Alert
Here are a few more distractions tips:
OK - so now you've got your important emails identified, don't let them get lost in the quagmire. If you use Outlook make use of its inbuilt functionality. Always sort your emails by the Received, but add a secondary sort by "Important". This way your important emails always stay at the top to haunt you until they are done.
The Red Exclamation Mark is a good start, but the Blue Arrow keeps getting my attention.
Use sort by importance to sort the items with the blue arrow to the bottom.
And remember to periodically select "Check All Subfolders" to make sure all folders are being synced in your .ost file.
Improper spelling, grammar, and punctuation on your emails give a bad impression of your company. It looks unprofessional and can result in your message not being conveyed correctly. To ensure this doesn't happen, use Microsoft Outlook Spelling & Grammar Checker on the 'Editor Options' window.
Looking manually through your Outlook sent items is something you shouldn't be doing. The better way is to use Outlook "search" functionality.
When you distribute important information by email all you can do is put "Do Not Forward this please". Important corporate information should be protected better than this.
This solution exists in Microsoft Office and is built into Outlook. Entitled 'Information Rights Management', a file level security application built onto Windows Server. The capability enables you to prevent recipients of your emails (and attachments) from forwarding them on, copying any text, or printing the document (be aware that determined chaps could use a lower level screen shot program to get past this).
Additionally, it encrypts the file as it's sent away. As an added basis - you can secure on a group level (based on Active Directory groups). To prevent an email being forwarded simply create a new email and select the "options" tab and click on "permission" in the ribbon and select "do not forward".
Note: You may be interested to know that every mail item that you send gets a file saved with these credentials so you can still open the emails when you are offline. To see: go to Start - Run %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\drm.
Usually when an employee from the company wants to make a decision about either a naming convention, a button style, using user-controls or forms, or even something as simple as changing a font; there should always be reassurance from the rest of the team that it should/should not be done.Figure: Good Example - using the voting buttons option.
- The subject should start with "VOTE: ..."
- The sender should reply with a summary after either everyone has replied or after a certain period of time to let the group know how significant their input was.
The voting options should be short, to the point, and provide a distinct difference for each option.
i.e. option1;"option1";option2;"option2" is not appropriate.
There should also be an extra option to allow a flexible result if a member of the email group does not want to vote. i.e. yes; no; un-opinionated.
This will provide an accurate result of the vote and will not force anyone to select an option just for the sake of giving a reply.
- Voters should be allowed to add their extra comments along with their vote when replying to all, regardless of whether or not they think it is their "two cents", simply because the person who initially voted is looking for any and all opinions to assure the right decision is made.
When making a vote, try to make the options clear enough so that voters would not have to spend too much time deciding.
A good voting system is one that allows the voters to choose an option quickly and carry on with their work, unless of course it is controversial.
In Microsoft Outlook you have the option to use Word as your Email editor.Figure: Make sure you have this check box on This has a few advantages:
- It automatically compresses images which you paste into your email (meaning a much smaller size email)
- You get all the benefits of Word e.g. Formatting and styles, spell checking smart tags, thesaurus - the list goes on and on.
- With the emergence of some great 3rd Party Smart Tags you can integrate your database in your email program. Companies often forget that improving their users' ability to handle email efficiently can be one of the biggest productivity gains you can achieve.