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In Outlook 2010: Effective Email Management, author Gini Courter demonstrates techniques to streamline the Outlook mailbox workflow. The course covers strategies for customizing views, adding filters, utilizing flags, and creating and organizing folders. The course also shows how to automate tasks as well as make effective use of QuickSteps to process email, and more.
We have created subfolders in our Inbox, and when the Inbox is collapsed, it's really easy to lose track of the fact that we have those subfolders. So we could have messages in them and totally forget that we have an unread item sitting in the OilFest2010/ OilFest Administration folder. When you create subfolders, they are so easily ignored that you might want to highlight some of them. This is something that I do frequently. For example, if I am working currently on OilFest2010, I might want these two folders actually to appear in my list of Favorite Folders.
I am going to see them then anytime that I am in my Mail Items. It doesn't matter whether they are one layer deep or two or three or four or five or six or seven layers deep, because you can have folders that deep. You could have so many layers of folders that you actually can't find your messages anymore. So that's something that you want to watch out for, but no matter how deep down a folder is, you can take that folder, and you can say I want to show it in my Favorites. So I am going to say Show in Favorites, and you will notice that in my Favorite folders, I now can see this OilFest Admin folder, even when the Inbox is collapsed.
This is a strategy that you can use not only with folders in your Inbox, but with public folders that you want to highlight and make sure that you can monitor on an ongoing basis. You can also put the Inbox in your Favorites list if you wish. Simply Show in Favorites, and if I wanted to, I could make sure that the OilFest2010 folder was there. Now, even though it has a subfolder, when I move or drag a folder to Favorites, like here, all I am dragging is that folder, not the entire hierarchy attached to it. They don't need to be in alphabetical order.
I get to decide how these folders are arranged. So I might want to move the ones that are more important to me to the top of the list. Once you start creating folders, you will have many of them, and this gives you a chance to choose - these are the ones that are important right now. Perhaps, later on, my OilFest Admin folder isn't very important any longer. OilFest is done with, and I have some other folders I want to highlight. I can simply right-click on this folder and say Remove from Favorites, which is not the same as saying delete. If I delete, the folder disappears. But if I simply remove it from Favorites, it still appears here, where I created it to begin with; it's just no longer highlighted in my Favorites list and easily available in one click.
There is one other reason that it's absolutely great to put folders that you use a lot in the Favorites list, and that is that even with my tree of folders in my Inbox collapsed, if I want to move something to the OilFest2010 folder, I can simply point to it, for example my DJ estimate, and I can drop it here in Favorites just as I could drag and drop it if I had the file folder visible within the branch in the Inbox. So this is a link to a folder, but it behaves like the folder itself, so that I can open it, drag and drop items to and from it very, very easily.
As you create more and more folders in your Inbox and work with Public folders, your Favorites folders help you track precisely the most important aspects of your work that's reflected in messages in Microsoft Outlook 2010.
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