Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating follow-up flags and color categories, part of Office 365: Outlook Essential Training.
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- 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 can give you two benefits. The first is a visual reminder. The second is that we can put an actual pop-up reminder on the flag. This way, we'll never forget to handle an email. Follow Up Flags should be for actionable items only. Here's an actionable item. To set a Follow Up Flag, I'm going to click the red flag in the inbox view itself.
A few things happen. The first thing is is that the flag becomes permanent in the email even after I deselected it. Secondly, when I click in the email, I can see that it has a Follow up. I can see all my emails with Follow ups on the right-hand side by turning on the To-Do pane. I do that by clicking the View ribbon tab, selecting the To-Do Bar and selecting Tasks. Here's my Follow Up Flag and I can see it in this view.
When I'm finished with this task, I can right click on the email, hover my mouse over Follow Up and select Mark Complete. The Follow Up Flag then has a green check mark next to it and it's removed from the To-Do Bar. We can also add a flag instead of reminder. I'll change to the Home ribbon tab. With the email selected, on the Home ribbon tab I'll select Follow Up again. This time I'm going to choose Add Reminder.
I'm going to create a Follow Up Flag. I'll make sure Reminder has a check box next to it and I can choose the date. I'll set the date for a few days in the future and I can also set the time. I'll click OK and my Follow Up Flag will be set. I can change the time at anytime by clicking Follow Up again, click Add Reminder and edit my reminder time. Once the reminder's set, an alarm bell icon will appear in the email, letting me know that there's an alarm on it.
Outlook can also find actionable items for me. Here's an email in which I'm being asked to do something. Outlook thinks it's found an action item in here because I see blue text that says "Action Items." I can click on it and Outlook will tell me what it thinks it found in the email. Here's the actionable item and I can click FOLLOW UP to set a Follow Up on it. In just a few moments, it should show up on the right-hand side in the To-Do Bar itself.
Here it is and I can also mark it complete either in the email itself by selecting MARK COMPLETE or I can right click on it directly in the To-Do Bar. I'm going to close out of this To-Do Bar by clicking the x on the right-hand side. What happens when there's no email action required but you want a visual means to file or classify the email? Why clutter up tasks and follow up items when you can assign it to a color category? The first thing we should do is give our color categories meaningful names.
From the Home ribbon tab, select Categorize and then All Categories. Here's the default categories that Outlook gives us. We can rename them by selecting the color category and choosing Rename. I'll hit the enter key on my keyboard, move to the next one and select Rename again. These should be things that are meaningful to you. You can also change the color of existing categories and you can create new categories if you run out of the default ones.
I'll click OK. Now, that we've renamed our categories, we can start visually categorizing our email. Here's a 128 Main email. I can right click on the email, select Categorize and then choose the one 128 Main category. I can do that for any 128 Main email we have. I could also go through and rename anything that matches up any of the categories that I've created. I can see the category in the email itself by the big colored bar that appears at the top of the email and I can also get a visual clue in the folder itself by the colored icon.
I can select View and change to arrange my view by category. This way, I can collapse all the categories and it gives me a great way to see all my emails in one place. This is all my uncategorized mail. It's designated by none. However, I can click the triangle to collapse this view and only expand all my 128 Main email. Remember, a Follow Up Flag is for an actionable item, a category is for a visual classification.
Categories can be assigned to anything, contacts, calendar items and mail items.
- Connecting accounts: Exchange, Office 365, IMAP, and POP
- Searching for mail
- Saving attachments
- Organizing mail with flags and folders
- Creating new messages
- Working with contacts in the People hub
- Adding delegates to act on your behalf
- Creating meetings
- Creating tasks and notes
- Backing up and moving Outlook data