Learn how to use follow up flags, clear flags, and even add reminder alarms and get visual notification of flags. Also, explore color classification of emails through the use of Categories.
- [Instructor] It's easy to get an email that requires an action on our part, and then completely forget to do that action. For this case, Outlook gives us something called the follow up flag. It has two benefits, a visual reminder, and a pop-up reminder. Follow up flags are most useful for actionable items. Let's take this email that I have selected. It does have an actionable item. To set a follow up item quickly, I'll click the flag icon directly in the message pane. A few things happen, the flag becomes permanent in the email, even after I deselect it.
Second, when I click inside the email, I can see right at the top that it's flagged for a follow up. I can see all of my messages that have follow up flags by clicking the Flagged Mail smart folder on the left-hand side. Here's the new flag that I just set up. If you've connected a Gmail account to Outlook, you may notice a lot of follow up flags that you know you didn't set. This is because Gmail has the ability to mark certain emails as being important, and Outlook interprets that as a follow up flag.
So all of these are from Gmail that's been marked as important. But here's the one that we just created. When I'm finished with this, I can click the flag again, and it will now mark as being complete. Let's go back to my inbox. It has a check mark next to it, and I can mark it as complete right in this list also. We can also add a reminder, instead of a flag. Let's take a look at this email. I could click the flag icon right from here, but I'm going to click Follow Up from the Home ribbon tab.
If I click the down arrow, I'll click Add Reminder. You can set a due date at a time that you want the reminder to go off. You can come in here and set any time or any date. I'll click OK. And now there's a follow up flag. I can also see that there's a due date on it, and Outlook is going to remind me when that alarm happens. What happens when there's no action item required but you do want a visual means to file or classify that email? You can assign it to a color category.
To the left of the follow up flag, is the Categorize button. If I click the down arrow, I can see all the default color categories that come with Outlook. The first thing you might wanna do is give your categories meaningful names. I'll select Edit Categories. You have separate categories for each email account that you've added to Outlook. For example, these are the ones that automatically come with Gmail. And here's the ones that came with my Exchange account.
To rename a category, double-click inside the name. I'll call this first one TechFest. Hit the Enter key, and the category is renamed. You can move to the next one, double-click, and so on. These are things that should be meaningful to you. If there's any category that you know you're not gonna need, you can uncheck Show in Navigation Pane. You can also change the color of existing categories by clicking the color and choosing a new one.
I'll choose a bright red for TechFest. If you need more categories, you can click the plus sign and create a new one. To delete a category, click the minus sign. I'll click Delete, and now that we've renamed our categories and got colors all set up, we can start visually categorizing our email. I'll click the X in the top left-side to close out of this. And, I'll come over to this email.
This is very clearly about TechFest. I'm going to categorize this. From the Home ribbon tab, I'll click Categorize, and then choose TechFest. I can see the category on the top right-hand side, and also in the message pane, it has a red bar next to it because that's the TechFest color. I can do that for any TechFest email that I have. I'll categorize this one also. And I can go through and categorize more that I want.
I'll categorize one more. Now let's look at some things we can do with categories. At the top of the screen, instead of choosing to sort my mail by conversations, I can now choose by Category. In fact, I can minimize these categories. Here's my uncategorized mail. If I only wanna see my TechFest emails, I can expand this list. I'll change it back to Conversations, and I can also use filters.
On the Home ribbon tab, I'll choose Filter Email, and I'll choose by Category. I'll only look at the TechFest categories. Now, it's going to give my inbox something to focus on if I just wanna get to work on TechFest. I'll clear the filters, and I'm back to my email. So remember, a follow up is for an actionable item. A category is for a visual classification. An email can have both the follow up flag and a category assigned to it, and categories can be assigned to anything, including contacts and calendar items.
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