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In Outlook for Mac 2011 Essential Training, author Alicia Katz Pollock provides a comprehensive overview of the full-featured email, calendar, and scheduling application from Microsoft. The course covers the key fundamentals of the program, including sending and receiving email, creating and managing contacts, and scheduling tasks and appointments. It also covers Outlook 2011 organizational features such as the Media Browser, Conversation view, My Day, the Scrapbook, and more.
Flagging your email messages, contacts, or tasks is a way to identify them for future action. Once you flag them, it's easy to find them again exactly when you need them. Let's start with flagging email messages. To flag a message for follow-up, click on it and then go up to the Home Ribbon and click on the Flag button. In the message list, a flag is added to the right side of the message. In the message viewer, a gray bar now stretches across the top that reads "This message is flagged for follow up." The Start and end dates are both today, at midnight by default.
It's essentially, quote unquote, just a flag. You can also flag messages for follow-up on specific dates. I'll click on Lunch orders and I'll come up for this flag. I can flag it for Today, Tomorrow, This Week, Next Week, No Due Date, or Custom Date. If you'd like your flag to serve as a reminder to take action on a particular date or time, choose Add Reminder. Here you can set the start date, a due date and the date and time to receive a reminder about the item. Let's set this to remind us in a few minutes so that you can see what's going to happen.
I'll click OK. Here's what the Reminder window looks like. I get a little yellow window and it has a Snooze button. So if I wanted to remind me again after a certain length of time, I can pick that off the list. If I'm done with it, I can dismiss it. You can gather all your flagged items together. Down here at the bottom of my email list, I have a Smart Folder for Flagged Mail. If all you see are Smart Folders, there is a little triangle right here that you can open and collapse.
While I'm on my Flagged Mail, I can see the items that I have flagged. When you're done with an item, you can either come back up to the Flag button, drop it down, and mark it as complete, or you can clear the flag altogether. You can also mark the flag complete by clicking right on it in the message list. It will turn into a green check mark then disappear off your list. You can also use flagging to mark Contacts, Tasks, and Notes for follow-up. Let's go to Contacts. Let's say I want to pull a handful of my contacts together, assign them to a category, and invite them to a meeting all at once.
Instead of laboring one person at a time, I can go through my list and mark each contact with a flag. When I'm done, I'll go to the bottom of my Navigation pane, look in my Smart Folders, and click on Flagged Contacts. There they are. I'll click on one and then select all, either by typing Command+A on my keyboard, or I'll go up to my Edit menu and choose Select All. Then I can drag all my contacts and drop them on a category.
Another possibility would be to click on this Meeting button in the toolbar and invite them all to a meeting at once. When I'm done, make sure they're all still highlighted. Then click on the Flag drop- down and choose Clear Flag. All the items will disappear but they're not gone. It's just that I'm clicked on Flagged Contacts and they're no longer flagged. Everybody is still in their original location.
My favorite part of flagging emails or contacts for follow-up is this. When I go down to my Tasks list, all of my flagged items appear. Here are three emails that I have flagged. This allows me to truly use my tasks as a to-do list. Everything I need to take action on is now gathered here into one place. If your flagged emails are not showing in the tasks, come over here to the toolbar and make sure that you have on Flagged Items. If I see an email, I can reply to it right from this view.
I'll click on the Reply button and it will be automatically addressed with the subject line, the message, and I'll put in my response and send it. Once I checked off the box to say that the task is complete, the flag is automatically cleared as well, saving me a few clicks. Flagging is one of my favorite tools to mark which of my Outlook items need me to take action, allowing me to gather them all into one place.
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