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We've all done it. You somehow get sidetracked in the process of bringing in an important letter or bill from your mailbox, and either spend hours trying to find it or get a delinquent notice a few weeks later. Outlook has a number of ways of organizing your e-mail that will ensure that no message gets left behind. There are three ways that we can tag incoming e-mail. And they are all found in the Tags area of the ribbon. We can mark something as unread, we can categorize it, or we can schedule follow-up. Let's start by marking things as Unread. I might open this message from Sharon by double-clicking it, and I get some information, and I want to make sure that I get back to it. So once I close the message, you'll notice the envelope is now open, but I want it to look like it hasn't been read, like these two messages down here. So what I can do is highlight it and click on the Unread icon, and two things happen. One, the message is now bolded, and the envelope is closed. Alternatively I can take a message, simply right-click it, if I am looking at it in the preview, and mark it as Unread. Another way that I might want to classify incoming messages is by giving them a category. Outlook makes it easy for you to do that. So in this case I might take this message from Herman. And this is something that's really important, so I am going to mark that as Red. So what I can do is highlight the message, go to Categorize and mark as Red. Now you'll notice, if I open the message, that a red band now appears at the top of the message. Alternatively, I can take my message, and I can right-click it, and I can choose to categorize, and I can mark it as a Blue Category. At this point you might be wondering well, geez, what's a Red Category and what's a Blue Category? Beats me. So what you might want to do is rename those categories to something that makes a little bit more sense to you, like really important and yeah, not so much. So this time I'm going to take my message from Glenda. I'm going to right-click it. Go to Categorize. But I am going to choose All Categories. Now this doesn't mean that I'm going to assign all color categories of the rainbow, although I could, by selecting a couple of them. But what I'm going to do, instead, is to rename those categories. So I am going to rename as Blue Category by selecting it, and renaming it, and calling it simply Not So Important. Now I am going to rename that Red Category by selecting it and renaming it and calling it Really Important. So now if I decide to group my messages together, I can move to the View tab, click on Categories, and I see that I have all the Really Important things grouped together, as well as the Not So Important ones. If you really need, you can assign more than one category to an e-mail by selecting it, and again, choosing Categorize, going to All Categories and selecting more than one category. If this is the first time you've used a Category, it's going to ask if you would like to rename that category. And for now, I'm not going to rename it. And you can see that this message has now been assigned two color categories. Conversely, if I like to remove those categories, I can right-click the message, once again go to Categorize, go to All Categories and remove the category that I no longer want to use. Finally, I might want to flag items. That means I really need to get to them; not only are they important, but I've got to take care of them today. So my message from Herman here, that I have already categorized as Red, because I know what's really important, this time I'm going to head back to my Home tab, and I'm going to create a follow up by clicking the Follow Up icon and saying, this is something I need to get done today. Alternatively, you can right-click an item and click on Follow Up, and mark it as something that needs to be done today. An even easier way to flag an item is to simply click on the little flag icon that you see to the right of your e-mail message. Finally, once you've flagged items, you want to mark them as completed. And again, this is an easy thing to do. We can go on to any of the messages, do a right-click and mark them as complete. Now notice two things happened. The flag goes away and a checkmark appears. Outlook really prevents anything important from falling through the cracks. Now if I could just have Outlook pay my electric bill for me every month, I'd be all set.
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