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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've already looked at the built- in search folders in Outlook 2010. You can create your own customized search folders, and it's relatively easy to do. Let's take a look at two different examples. First, I would like to create a search folder that finds all of the mail I would think of as active mail, mail I need to address. So that would include everything I haven't read, but also anything I've flagged for future action. So, let's create this active e-mail search folder. There are a couple of ways to do it. You can start by clicking on Search Folders and choosing New Search Folder, or you can go to Folder > New Search Folder - notice, not new regular folder but New Search Folder.
The New Search Folder dialog opens, and it gives you some templates that you might want to use. For example, I might want to have a search folder with large mail or old mail, mail before a certain date, mail that has attachments or categorized mail. Now, some of these already exist, of course. They are built-in, like categorized mail, or unread mail. But I actually want mail that was either unread or flagged for follow up. That's exactly my definition of active e-mail. So, I am going to say OK, and that folder is presented to me.
Notice items that are flagged are here whether they are unread or not, and then all of the unread items. This new folder has been added to my list of Search Folders. Now, I can keep this name, or I can right-click and rename it. I actually want to, because I want to name this folder Active Email. The list of search folders that is alphabetized, which is a good reason to start it with the letter A. It's important to me, and it will fall to the top of the list every time I want to go take a look and say okay, what is it that I need to work on? I have only four items for follow up.
I have these unread e-mails, but this let's me see everything that I want to take action on today or tomorrow. I want to show you a different strategy for creating a search folder that I think of as preemptive e-mail management. We have a letter that we are going to send out, we have a draft of it all prepared, and we are going to send this to vendors asking if they would like information. Now, you can imagine that when I send this letter out to a bunch of vendors, they are going to send me back an e-mail. I'll have to manage all of those requests to send them vendor information packets. I'm simply including a sentence in this e-mail that says, "Include the word OilFest Vendor in the subject line." By doing this, by preemptively telling them this is how I would like you to address this e-mail, this is the subject I want you to state, I can now create search folder that will actually go take a look for any place that it says OilFest Vendor in the subject line of an e-mail.
This is one way I can think of, working with a search folder, that will go take a look and see, did that get put in the OilFest folder, is that in the Inbox; no matter where it is, I can gather together all of the OilFest Vendor e-mails using the Search Folder. So, let's see how this works. Let's go back to creating a new search folder. On the Folder tab > New Search Folder, and I can choose mail that is sent directly to me or from particular people in a list, but in this case I'm going to create a custom search folder.
To specify criteria, I click Choose. The name for this is going to be Vendor Info Requests. Then I click the Criteria button to open the Search Folder Criteria. You are going to see this Criteria dialog box not just here for search folders, but also for rules. So, I need to get accustomed to saying I am looking for particular information. I told people I wanted to see OilFest Vendor in the subject line. Now, if they managed to follow my instructions this is going to work really well.
So, I'm going to say OK, OilFest Vendor Request, OK. Click OK to create the new search folder. It is added to my list, and as e-mails come in that are addressed to me but that include the words "OilFest Vendor" that I asked for in the subject line, they will automatically be found by the search folder, no matter where I place them. If I leave them in the Inbox, it will find them; if I put them in OilFest 2010, it will find them. This will pull together all of the e-mails that have those words in the subject that I've requested.
The New Search Folder dialog actually helps you create a number of different search folders. So, anytime you find yourself going through your folders to look for something in particular, all the e-mail that came from members of your team, all of the e-mail that's active, all of the e-mail that's unread, It's time, instead, go to the Folder tab create a New Search Folder to do that work for you automatically in Outlook.
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