5 Simple Tips to Make Your Outlook Life Easier in the New Year

blue keyboardAs we enter the new near, we’re all making plans for New Year’s resolutions. Why not take your resolutions into the workplace, starting with one of the things we all come in contact with the most in an office environment – email. It can be daunting and overwhelming to open a full inbox every morning. By the end of the year, we’re all happy to take a break from it and rest during the holidays – email free. As you go back to the work place after some restful time off, make it a priority to stay on top of your emails this year. Having a more organized inbox will reduce stress, and help you be more efficient in your work.

Outlook 2013 has several options you can set that help you automate and simplify your email experience. Here are five ways to make your Outlook experience more convenient.

1. Use Your Task List

Have an inbox full of unread messages? They can pile up quickly and get overwhelming. To avoid the stress of a full inbox, flag emails that you need to reread or get back to.

Simply click on the flag in the top right corner of the email. Once you’ve identified them for follow-up, you can prioritize the follow up time – today, tomorrow, this week, or next week. After you’ve followed up, click on the flag again and it will be marked as completed and disappear from your task list. Managing a task list will keep you much more organized and will relieve the stress of the daunting question - “Have I forgotten to respond to an important email?”

2. Create folders

Do you answer hundreds of emails a week? Don’t let your inbox leave you scrolling through messages to find what you’re looking for. Sure, you can use the search bar when looking for emails, but subject lines don’t always include key words, or you might be looking for words so common that dozens of emails come up in the search results. Make your email more organized by creating folders with sub-categories.

To avoid the clutter and to stay organized, remember to consistently file emails away into the folders. If you already have folders, but haven’t been diligent in filing emails, take some time during the first weeks of the new year to move emails from your inbox into their respective folders. It might be tedious and time consuming now, but it will save you a lot of time in the future.

3. Set a Future Delivery Date for Messages

You can write a message and have Outlook send it at a future date instead of sending it right away. This is beneficial if you're going on vacation and need to send a message at a certain date.

With the email message open, click the "Options" tab. Click "More Options" in the bottom-right corner.

Click "Do not deliver before" and select a date. Click "Close." Make sure you leave Outlook open to ensure the message is sent while you are away.

4. Increase the Font when Reading Email

Outlook lets you set your font size when you send email, but your sender might choose a small font that's hard to read. You can change the font on-the-fly to make it easier to read.

To change font size, open your email and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard. With the Ctrl key pressed, scroll up on the mouse scroll wheel. The font size is increased as you scroll. You can also use this method to make the font smaller.

5. Read Message Headers

Message headers can give you lots of clues when it comes to the origin and legitimacy of a message. If you can read the headers, you can identify phishing scams and people spoofing email senders.

To view the headers, double-click the email message to open it in a new window. Click the "File" tab and then click "Info." Click "Properties." The headers are shown in the "Internet Headers" text box.

Email headers are read from last to first. The last server in the list is the originator.

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