Outlook Tips

Outlook Productivity Tip: Changing How Long It Takes to Mark Emails as Read

Reading Pane Options ScreenDon’t you just hate it when you click on an email by accident and Outlook marks it as read? When this happens, you have two choices – 1) mark it as unread, or 2) do nothing, and hope that you remember you haven’t actually read the email, even though Outlook claims you have.

How often do you choose option two? Probably more often than you realize, when you factor

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in all the times when you felt too busy, and didn’t bother to take the two or three seconds to change the email status.

But you don’t have to settle for one extreme or another. Instead, opt for a better alternative – change how long it takes for Outlook to mark your emails as read, and make this problem a thing of the past.

To access this feature, click on File at the top of Outlook, then go to Options. When the Outlook Options screen opens, click on Mail. Locate the Outlook Panes section in the middle of the screen (under stationery), and click on the Reading Pane button.

The Reading Pane Options will appear. Select “Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane” and allot the appropriate amount of time, in seconds, for Outlook to wait before marking an email as read. The default allotment is 5 seconds.

Tip: See the “Single key reading using space bar” option? Selecting this option allows you to easily page down in your emails, using your space bar only. To make this feature work, make sure this option is selected. Then, click on any email in the preview pane, and begin reading. When you need to page down to read more, simply hit the space bar. Hitting the space bar at the end of the email will allow you to progress to your next email.

Now just click OK twice, and test out your new features. If you find you’ve set your time for too long or too short in duration, simply return to the Reading Pane options, and change the time allotment.

Customizing Outlook with features like these allows you to take the guess work out of your email, and helps you better prioritize your email work flow.

Do you have a great Outlook tip? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who wants to help demystify your software. Email: [email protected]. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Outlook Productivity Tips: How to Save Emails Quickly


Image Credit: Johnathon Narvey

There are times when you may want to save an email somewhere else, outside of your inbox. Maybe you want to save certain emails, such as client communications, in a folder for all your staff to access. Maybe you only want to save one particular email as a backup.

Regardless of your reasoning, when you save emails outside Outlook, you will want to make sure you are saving the emails in the proper format, so that header information and any attachments remain intact should you need them in the future.

Outlook gives you a few different ways to save your emails. There’s the long way, and then there’s the shortcut. (And who doesn’t love a good shortcut?)

The Long Way

The way most people save an email in Outlook is either highlight or open the email they want to save, and then go to File > Save As. When the Save As window appears, they browse to where they want to save it, and then rename the email, if necessary.

The last thing you have to do in this scenario is make sure that Outlook is saving in the proper format for you to access your information again. You will want to make sure the Save As Type says Outlook Message Format (Outlook Message Format Unicode is okay too).

Unfortunately, if you need to save more than one email, you will have to repeat the process for each and every email that needs saving. Talk about tedious!

The Shortcut

An easier way to handle saving emails, particularly multiple emails, from Outlook is the drag & drop method.

Important Tip: When you save emails this way, make sure that none of your screens are maximized, and that you can see both your Outlook inbox and the folder location where you are saving the email. (Two or more monitors come in handy here.)

Then, just drag the email(s) out of Outlook, and into the folder. Rename the emails, and you’re done. Outlook saves the email in the proper message format automatically.

This shortcut is a much easier way to save a large volume of emails from Outlook, saving you time, but it also saves you from the monotony of the “file-save-as” dance. In fact it’s so easy, you may even begin to enjoy saving emails, instead of viewing it as a chore.

Do you have a better way to save emails from Outlook? Leave us a comment and tell us how you save your emails.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in helping you work smarter, not harder, with your technology.  Email: [email protected]. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Outlook Productivity Tips: AutoArchive

Outlook 2010 AutoArchiveThe size of your Outlook mailbox increases as emails are sent, received, and stored. You may tuck email into folders manually (or by using QuickSteps) to help keep your inbox more manageable, but overtime these folders will become unmanageable. Keep your email under control, by setting up the AutoArchive feature in Outlook.

The more email you have and store, the larger your Outlook file becomes, taking longer to access. If you find that your email takes forever to open in the morning, or you just can’t find what you’re looking for in all those subfolders you’ve created, then it’s time to turn on AutoArchive.

AutoArchive allows you to manage and process your old email automatically, without spending hours sorting and deleting. You may set your settings to either archive or delete old email items, depending on your needs and preferences.

To setup AutoArchive:

In Outlook 2010:

  • Click on Folder at the top of Outlook.
  • Click on the AutoArchive settings button.
  • Select the option “Archive this folder using these settings”.
  • Then, designate how often you would like the AutoArchive in months, weeks, or days.
  • Either allow old items to be moved to the default archive folder, or choose a location where you would like your items archived to.
  • Click OK.

In Outlook 2010, the default archive folder will be listed under “Archives” in your folder list.

Older Versions of Outlook:

  • Click on Tools at the top of Outlook
  • Select the Other tab
  • Click on AutoArchive
  • Click Enable AutoArchive.
  • Configure settings.
  • To configure settings for individual folders (inbox, calendar, sent items, etc.) right-click on the folder, and choose Properties. Then click the AutoArchive tab.
  • Click OK.

In Outlook 2007 and 2003, the default archive folder will be listed under “Archive Folders” in your folder list.

Once AutoArchive is setup, it will help you keep your Outlook running its best automatically. Over time, if you find Outlook is slow to open, or your email folders are getting to large, revisit your AutoArchive settings and adjust as needed. And don’t forget to look in your Archive folder when locating an email that is older than the time specified in your AutoArchive settings.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in making technology easier to understand.  Email: [email protected]. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.