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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.
In Outlook 2010, when you create a view, you can not only include the columns you want to include, but you can determine the sort order, and then you can apply a filter to see a subset of your messages. Sorting, of course, is very easy. If I want to sort by who messages are from, I click From. If I want to sort in reverse order, I click From again, and it will be reversed. Subject and reversed. Receive date, the newest on the top. Receive date now in reverse, with the oldest on the top. So sorting is very, very easy. Simply click on the field, and the direction arrow will show you whether it's an ascending or descending sort.
Filtering, on the other hand, is newly redesigned and very powerful. To filter, on the Home Tab, we're going to go to the Find Group and choose Filter E-mail. On the Filter E-mail dropdown, we have the ability to apply several filters, and we can apply more that one at a time. For example, if we wanted to look at only the unread e-mail in the Inbox, with the Inbox displayed in the Information viewer, I click Filter E-mail > Unread, and now I'll see only the unread e-mail. The sort order I still had in place applies now.
So if I click again, I can see Unread mail, with my newest messages at the top, so that I can focus on those immediately, rather than get distracted by all these interesting messages that I've already perused once. I can choose Filter E-mail again and say, just show me unread messages that have attachments. Click Has Attachments, and there are the e-mails that meet those two conditions, and I can see them here: Unread with attachments. I could say, show me unread messages with attachments that arrived this week, and I'll find that I don't have any, or that were sent last week, and again, those two messages appear once again.
When I want to close the search, I simply click the Cancel Current Search, X, and I see all of my messages again. To filter again, I'd like to find those that are categorized in a particular way, or flagged, or are marked as important, so that I can easily find those important items. I can find and filter on messages that were sent to me or cced directly to me. That's going to be most of the messages that I see here, once inside my workplace, but it would leave out any messages that were sent to a third party, such as a distribution list or a newsletter list.
I can also filter e-mail that comes from a particular person. If I go to More Filters, I can say that I want to see e-mail that was from a particular person, for example, from Hiro. And as I type - I don't even press Enter - Outlook quickly goes through its index and finds this e-mail that was sent to me by Hiro Ishimoto. Or I can say that I'd like to look for a particular subject. Now, I can click the X here to close out that search first and choose Filter again, More Filters, but you'll notice that it used the same Search Inbox that is available to me.
So when I click Search, effectively, the Filter tools come on. And I'm going to look for all of the messages that I've received from Greg, and as I type Greg's name, notice that all of these messages appear. Now, Greg was also copied on some of these messages and someone else with that same name was copied on others. So a number of messages show up. If I want to keep going, I can probably narrow this down even more, and if I know that I have a message from Greg Hurion about pizza and I enter even more information, eventually the filter will become tight enough that it will return only one or two, a small number of messages, so I can effectively find the message that I'm looking for right away.
So filtering and searching are closely related. The difference between the two is that if I apply a filer, I can actually save that. I can create a view and save a filter. Whereas a search is just information that I'm entering, mostly on the fly. When you're looking for a message or a group of messages, don't waste your time scrolling up and down in your Inbox in order to find them. Use the powerful Sort, Filter, and Search tools built into Outlook 2010 to quickly find the messages that you need.
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