How To Organize Emails In Outlook

Use The Four Ds Of Mail Handling

How to organise your emails in Outlook

Microsoft suggests making mail handling more efficient by using the Four Ds of mail handling whenever you read a message.

This keeps you from having a box of mail that keeps getting larger, and helps you become more efficient and productive in Outlook.

When you read messages, take one of these four actions:

  • Delete it

Leverage The My Day Side Pane

Outlook Web features a great tool called the My Day side pane. This is a special window that you can open on the right side of your screen. When you drag emails to it, you can easily create tasks based on the email. Similarly, you can select text in an email and use the side pane to edit it into a task.

For most people, emails contain many tasks that need to be addressed. By using your My Day side pane, you can quickly organize your communication into actionable items.

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Organize Email With Categories In Ms Outlook

By Catherine Sanders Reach

Folders are the typical way Outlook users organize emails, but sometimes you may want other intelligence about an email for organizational purposes. While you can put copies of a single email into multiple folders, or rely on search, another option is to apply categories. The way lawyers can use categories is particularly useful, as we will illustrate.

Create, Add, Sort and Search by Categories

First you will need to create a new category. You may have created a folder for the client/matter, but you can be broader or narrower with categories. For instance, if you appear in multiple courts you could create categories like Durham County Chatham County or Orange County and apply those categories to emails, calendared items, court personnel in your contacts, etc. Then you can search for a category to discover all items tagged by this category or even create a Search Folder. Categories are also useful for adding consistent keywords to Outlook items, similar to a See Also reference in an index.

To create a new category in Mail in the Home tab in the Tags group click on Categorize. A drop down will appear. To create a new Category choose All Categories and in the resulting dialog box choose New. You will create a new category name and assign a color and optionally a shortcut key. You can also rename and delete categories in the All Categories dialog box.

See this video for a demonstration of using Categories in MS Outlook.

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Organizing Email The Gtd Way

I have juggled with multiple ways of managing my inbox. Among all the methods tried, the most efficient one is to harness the power of folders. Despite being the most powerful way of organizing your mailbox, labels are the least used feature on mailboxes.

I encountered the approach in the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. The thought process behind this approach is based on the reaction to an email. Among all the other techniques I have tried, the GTD method is the best email management strategy for work.

Any email that comes to you falls under one of these buckets.

Use Rules To Automate Inbox Organization

Organize Email In Outlook Online

You can deploy rules in Outlook that can automatically handle manual mail tasks for you, saving you time and keeping you organized.

For example, once you set up mail folders, you can set a rule to send emails from a particular email address into that folder automatically.

There are several things you can do with rules to help you reduce the time it takes to sort through email. A few of these include:

  • Moving messages based upon the sender or keywords in the subject line
  • Flagging messages from a specific sender for follow up
  • Sending an alert to your mobile device when receiving email from a certain sender
  • Deleting a message from a specific sender
  • Replying to a designated email sender automatically with a template

Also Check: What Does Cc Mean When Sending An Email

Moving Emails To Your Folder

Now that you have created a new folder in your Outlook inbox, itâs time to begin moving emails to it so you can stay organized. Thankfully, it is no different than how you use folders on your computer or laptop. Follow these steps to start filing, retrieving, and removing emails from folders that youâve created.

  • Navigate to your list of emailsâ
  • While still clicking on the email, drag it to the destination folder in your left-sidebar
  • If you want to remove an email from your folder, it is just as easy as adding it to your folder.

  • While still clicking on your email, drag it to the new destination in your left-sidebar
  • Using Folders And Categories

    Drag individual messages from your Inbox or any other folder to the new folders you make to organize your email. You can also right-click a message, select Move, and choose a folder you want to move an email to.

    You can even set up rules in Outlook to filter emails from specific senders to a folder or apply a category so that you don’t have to do it manually.

    • How do I recall an email in Outlook?

      To recall an email in Outlook, go to Sent Items and open the email to recall. Go to Message> Actions > Other Actions and select Recall This Message. Choose to delete unread copies or delete unread copies and replace them with a new message.

    • How do I change my signature in Outlook?

      To change your signature for all emails in the Outlook program, go to File > Options > Mail> Signatures. Under Choose default signature, choose a signature for New messages or Replies/forwards and select OK. For single emails, in a message, go to Message > Include> Signature and select which signature to use.

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    Understand And Use Categories

    You can supplement your folders with categories. These are essentially tags that you apply to emails. You may choose to categorize your emails based on the type of conversation they relate to. For example, you could have Development, Design and Legal categories.

    Alternatively, you may choose to use your categories for prioritization and your folders to organize conversation types. By using these first two features in conjunction, you can easily keep your emails under control.

    Organizing Email In Outlook: Folders Vs Categories

    Best way to organise your Outlook Inbox | Tutorial Part 02

    Do you have an out-of-control email inbox? Do you spend far too much time searching for messages that you KNOW you have somewhere? Do you wonder whats the best way to save emails for future reference?

    Us too. During a recent team meeting, we discovered that many of us are managing our email inboxes in vastly different ways. So, over the next several articles, were going to discuss options related to Microsoft 365 inbox email management. To keep things simple, well cover one topic at a time starting with deciding between folders and categories for organizing email in outlook.

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    How To Organize Your Outlook Inbox As An Online Student

    Are you ready for life as an online student? Apply now to Mississippi State Online to start your online journey!

    For online students, email is often the primary way of communicating with professors and classmates. As a student at Mississippi State Online, you have automatic access to Microsoft Office programs, including Microsoft Outlook, to make this communication simple and easy. But with so many incoming emails, your inbox can quickly become overrun, and the most important emails can get lost. To avoid this and stay on top of all your incoming emails, use these tips to organize your Outlook inbox in the desktop app. If you are using Outlook on mobile or the web these tips might look a little different.

  • Unsubscribe from unwanted sendersThe first step to organizing your email inbox is to clear out emails that you dont need. Subscription lists from brands, newsletters, and websites can add a lot of clutter to your inbox, so if you never read these email chains, consider simply unsubscribing. Open an email from a sender you dont wish to see anymore and click the unsubscribe link to stop receiving emails from that sender. If you know where the subscription email is coming from it is safe to click the unsubscribe link. If you do not know where the subscription is coming from you can mark the email as spam.
  • Use Focused Inbox To Designate Important Mail

    A handy organizational feature that splits your inbox in two is called Focused Inbox. What it does is create two different inbox tabs, Focused and Other. In Outlook for Windows the Focused Inbox is available for Office 365, Exchange, and accounts.

    You can use the View tab to easily tab between your Focused Inbox and Other, so you can keep more important messages grouped together in one place. You can easily move messages between the two inboxes when needed and set all messages from a particular sender to automatically come into your Focused Inbox.

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    Create And Assign Categories

    Categories help organize the emails in your active Inbox so you can quickly determine the status of each email for example: Pending, Due, Done, etc. You can also sort by categories. So, for example, if you only perform email maintenance once a week, you can sort by category, quickly locate all the Done emails, and then move them to their corresponding folders.

    1. To create a new category, right-click on the transparent square box in the Categories column, and select All Categories from the dropdown list. In the Color Categories dialog box, click the New button. Enter a Name for your category in the Add New Category dialog box.

    2. Click the down-arrow beside the Color field and choose a color for the category. Next, click the down-arrow beside the Shortcut Key field and choose a shortcut key for the category. These keys are not used by other functions in Outlook, so they are available for category shortcuts.

    3. Click OK in this dialog, then click OK again in the Color Categories dialog box and the new category is added to your list. Note: there are 25 colors, but only 11 shortcut keys, so choose the most frequently used categories for your shortcut keys.

    Image: Julie Sartain

    When you use a template, you can customize addressees and other details before you send it.

    Organize Emails In Outlook: Expert Inbox Management Techniques

    How to Organize Your Outlook Email Inbox Efficiently


    Inbox zero might be the elusive goal, but it can seem nearly impossible to get there with thousands of previous emails clogging up your inbox. In order to create some calm out of the chaos, you need to learn how to organize emails in Outlook. This article will walk you through the most effective Outlook inbox management techniques available to you.

    Whats on this page

  • Advanced Outlook organization with Quick Steps
  • With these handy tips, youll be able to organize your Outlook inbox so that you become more effective, stay on top of your tasks, and feel less stressed when looking at your emails. Want to know the secrets? Keep reading to find out.

    Before we get into the top tips on how to organize emails in Outlook, its important that we first make the distinction between folders and categories. Many people confused the two since they sound the same, but theyre both individual tools that serve different purposes.

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    Unlock Automated Mail With Rules

    Mail rules can make Outlook into an automated mail assistant for you. You can have mail automatically moved to a specific folder when it comes in, setup automatic forwards or autoresponders, and much more.

    Rules can save you from multiple manual tasks and keep you from having to watch your email inbox all day for an important message. Here are a few common rules you can set up:

    • Play a sound when messages from a certain sender come in
    • Automatically move an email to a folder if it has a certain word in the subject line
    • Move mail that has you in the Cc box to a certain folder
    • Automatically assign a category based on mail sender address

    How To Organize Your Inbox With Outlook Folders

    Email has evolved from an enjoyable form of communication to a necessary evil. Between the never-ending barrage of incoming emails and the time-consuming process of sorting through messages to find whatâs important, there are countless reasons why people dislike it so much.

    Fortunately, there are ways to repair your relationship with your inbox by organizing it using folders and labels. In this article, we will introduce how you can use Outlook Folders so you can enjoy a more organized and productive email inbox.

    If you are a Gmail user then you should read our guide How to Organize Your Inbox with Gmail Labels.

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    Customize Your Inbox Layout

    Gmail allows you to customize your inbox’s layout. One option is the default layout , the second option is three layouts that put specific types of emails first , and a priority inbox layout that arranges mail based on importance.

    We recommend choosing either the default or priority inbox layouts. These are arguably the most useful, as one categorizes and the other prioritizes. You should try out different layouts until you figure out which one best suits your needs.

    Setup instructions:

    Creating More Complicated Rules

    How to Manage your Outlook Mailbox effectively?

    To set a rule from scratch, click Home > Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts.

    The Rules and Alerts window opens. Click New Rule.

    This opens the Rules Wizard window. In the Start from a Blank Rule section, click Apply Rule on Messages I Receive, and then click Next.

    Select the With Specific Words in the Senders Address checkbox, and then, in the text box at the bottom, click Specific words.

    You can type more than one item here, so if youve got a couple of important clients, you can add them all here. When youre finished, click OK.

    The rules wizard displays your chosen email domains. You can click the terms to edit them if they change. Once everything is set, click Next.

    Were going to select this folder on the next page of the wizard to move these emails to. Check the Move it to the Specified Folder box, and then click Specified in the text box at the bottom.

    In the window that opens, select the folder you want to move the emails to , and then click OK.

    The rules wizard shows the folder you selected. If its not the right folder, click it to change it, and then click Next.

    Now you can specify any exceptions click Next if you dont want to add any.

    Type a name for the rule, select the Run This Rule Now on Messages Already in Inbox’ checkbox, and then click Finish.

    Your rule is now complete and appears in the Rules and Alerts window. Click Apply to complete the process.

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