Outlook Productivity Tips: Quick Steps

Outlook-Quick-Steps-MenuYou don’t have to waste hours per week managing your email inbox anymore. Instead, take a few minutes to follow these

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simple Outlook productivity tips, and soon you’ll have Quick Steps setup for all your commonly performed actions.

The act of managing your inbox can become monotonous quickly, especially if you have a large volume of email to deal with. Luckily, Outlook 2010 came up with a wonderful solution to help you make the most of your time – Quick Steps.

Quick Steps allow you to program one or more steps into a one-click button. (During setup you can also create a keyboard shortcut, if that’s more your style.) Then, all you have to do is highlight the emails that fall under the particular task, and click the corresponding Quick Step button, and they are processed automatically.

For example, let’s say that 1/3 of the email you receive are messages that you want processed to the Research folder, marked as unread, and categorized as either “tech” or “sales”. You could create two Quick Steps, one called @res-tech and the other called @res-sales (or whatever naming convention you choose). When cleaning up your inbox, highlight the research emails you want categorized as tech and moved to the Research folder, then click then @res-tech Quick Step, and they will all be moved, categorized, and marked as unread, all at once.

Quick Steps can be particularly useful when used in combination with setting up Rules for commonly received emails. The main purpose of Quick Steps is to help you manage your inbox once it’s already a mess, unlike Rules which are meant to manage the delivery of incoming email. Quick Steps also have more flexibility, doing things that Rules don’t, like creating tasks from email or attachments. Put them together and you have effectively created a one-two combo punch against your opponent – your inbox.

Think of all the time you would get back if you took a few minutes now to setup some Quick Steps for the actions you do the most inside your inbox.

How to Setup Quick Steps in Outlook

It’s important to note that Quick Steps became available starting with Outlook 2010, so if you have an older version of Outlook, this won’t work.

In Outlook, locate the Quick Steps area. It should be in the middle of the Home tab, following your Reply, Reply All, and Forward buttons. Click the Create New button in the Quick Steps area. Give your Quick Tab a name, choose the action(s) you would like performed, select a shortcut key if you would like to use one, and then click finish. A new button should now appear in the Quick Step area. It’s that easy.

Quick Steps is a wonderful solution for managing your ever growing inbox, a solution that can save you hours each week, freeing you up to focus on more important things. And, since Quick Steps are so easy to setup, there really is no reason not to use them. Which begs the question, what are you going to do with all that free time?

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in making technology easy to understand. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

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