Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tech Tip: Email Tools - Flags and Rules

Email has become so popular that for many people it is their main form of communication. That means many of us have to sort through countless messages every day! Let’s talk about two tools to help sort through and prioritize those messages.


Flags

Flags are a way of marking important emails that we need to respond to but can’t do it right away. In Microsoft Outlook flags can be found in the tool bar or in the right click menu labeled as “Follow up.” Simply click on or open an email and then click the picture of the flag. A little red flag will appear next to the email as a reminder that you need to come back to it later.


In Apple Mail you can flag an email by going to message in the menu bar or by right clicking (or control - clicking) and choosing mark - as flagged. This will also make a red flag appear to remind you to come back to that message later.


Rules

Rules are powerful tools that allow you to give your email program instructions on what to do with certain messages. For example you can create rules to alert you when you receive an email from certain people, automatically move an email to a special folder, or to automatically flag emails with specific words in the subject line. Rules can be become very complicated but here is a quick way to try them out.


In Microsoft Outlook right click on an email from someone important. In the pop-up menu choose Rules - Create Rule. The rules window will appear and you can tell outlook what conditions an email needs to meet to be part of the rule (i.e. From a certain person, words in the subject line, etc) and then customize the rule tell Outlook what to do with those emails (i.e. Move them to a folder, make an alert sound, etc).


In Apple Mail first click on an email from someone important. Then go the the menu bar at the top of screen and choose Mail - Preferences. In the Preferences window click on the rules tab and then click on the Add Rule button. A window will appear where you can name your rule, tell Mail what conditions an email needs to meet to be part of the rule (i.e. From a certain person, words in the subject line, etc) and then what you want Mail to do with those emails (i.e. Move them to a folder, make an alert sound, etc). There are also + and - buttons where you can add additional rules and instructions.


Rules can be a very useful tool in helping you sort and organize emails! To find out more about how to use them check out the following resources:


Windows

Outlook:

  • http://tinyurl.com/3e4jn7

Gmail

  • http://tinyurl.com/3clnn8


Mac

Mail:

  • http://tinyurl.com/aw6uf
  • http://tinyurl.com/yh6vcdt

Entourage:

  • http://tinyurl.com/3nna7q
  • http://tinyurl.com/yhnfh4g

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