MS Outlook Rules – The Inbox GPS

Imagine, you have 10 minutes to respond to a client, and before you can do that you have to find an email from them. you now start combing through your inbox, sent mail, deleted mail, and god knows where else just to find the email. Next you try to determine if you have sent that email to a co-worker – maybe they have a copy? Many of us have been there and know the feeling – Welcome to email hell!

If you receive a lot of emails each day, and you find it difficult to keep up on them all, then why not follow some rules. If your inbox has hundreds of emails in it, you just might want to re-think your process. If you run a small business, or work from home and get email from your clients and friends, and family, on an on-going basis, why continually sort through your inbox and end up playing hide and seek. I know it's out there, just don't know where.

Did you know you can have Microsoft Outlook do the sorting for you? For example, if you have a client that contacts you on an on-going basis, you can set up Outlook so that when an email from that client shows up, Outlook will automatically move it to a folder with the client's name on it. No longer is it stuck in the inbox, along with the 3258 other emails from friends, other clients, etc. It goes straight into a folder with this client’s name. The next time you look at Outlook you will see this client’s folder bolded indicating there are some number of new emails. No more hide and seek, you know right where to go.

Cool right?

Here’s how:

First create a new Folder with this person’s name (click the arrow on the right side of the “New” button on the tool bar, then choose Folder). Next go to the Tools menu, choose Rules and Alerts. At the top left click New Rule. At this point you will have a selection of “Caned” rules. My suggestion is to click next and work from scratch. Take the time to look at the complete list and notice how powerful the options could be. This time we will want to go with the preselected item, which is when I receive a mail from someone. At the bottom of this screen you will two items already to go. These are both hyperlinks you click to set up. The first one is the link “people or distribution list”. Click this and at the bottom of the next screen type in their email address and click OK. Next click the other link at the bottom “specified” and select the folder created above. then click OK.

Next you click next twice (you are bypassing the other settings – but take a minute to look at all the options). In the last step, if you already have emails from this person – anywhere in Outlook – and want them moved to this folder, select the check box that says Run the Rule on Messages you already have, otherwise just click Finish.

From now on, magic happens.

Enjoy and let me know what you think. Or, got Questions?

Author's Bio: 

After 20 years of running my own computer training business, I think I have seen it all. If I can help you get organized, then I would like to help.

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