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Best practices for Outlook – Managing your Inbox

Using the 4 D’s when working with Mail

  • Delete it.
  • Do it (respond or file for reference, can this be completed within 2 minutes or less).
  • Delegate it (forward).
  • Defer it (using categories and flags) for a second review in your task list.

Delete it

Delete messages that you don’t need to read. If it’s junk, delete it.

If you never want to receive another message as part of this conversation, Ignore it.

Do it: The 2-minute drill

It’s amazing what can be done in two minutes. For example, many messages can be responded to in 2 minutes or less. But if a message takes longer than two minutes to deal with, defer it.

Delegate it

Sometimes you receive a message that is really meant for someone else to deal with. In these cases, reply and include the person to whom you are delegating the message on the To line. If you find you are doing this often, consider creating a Quick Step that replies and adds the delegated person to the To line.

Defer it


When to defer a message

Deferring a message means that you will review it later, when you have time.

Reasons to defer a message:

  • It can’t be dealt with in less than two minutes.
  • It will take a while to read.
  • It will require a carefully crafted response.
  • It requires additional action in another program

Shortcuts for Selecting, Copying, Moving, and Deleting Items in Outlook

To perform this action… Press…
To select all items in the current folder CTRL+A
To copy item to another folder CTRL+SHIFT+Y
To move item to another folder CTRL+SHIFT+V
To forward item CTRL+F
To delete CTRL+D or DELETE
To delete without sending item to Deleted Items SHIFT+DELETE
To turn on editing in a field (except icon view) F2

14 Handy Shortcuts for Outlook

To perform this action… Press…
To create an Appointment CTRL+SHIFT+A
To create a Contact CTRL+SHIFT+C
To create a Distribution list CTRL+SHIFT+L
To create a Fax CTRL+SHIFT+X
To create a Folder CTRL+SHIFT+E
To create a Journal entry CTRL+SHIFT+J
To create a Meeting request CTRL+SHIFT+Q
To create a Message CTRL+SHIFT+M
To create a Note CTRL+SHIFT+N
To create a new Office document. CTRL+SHIFT+H
To create a Post in this folder CTRL+SHIFT+S
To create a Search Folder CTRL+SHIFT+P
To create a Task CTRL+SHIFT+K
To create a Task request CTRL+SHIFT+U

Saving Multiple Email Attachments quickly

Here’s a quick way to save multiple files attached to an e-mail message.

1. Open an email message with attachments(obviously), and then click Other Actions on the Ribbon.

2. Click Save Attachments. Hold down the SHIFT key while using the arrow keys to select the attachments that you want to save. Alternately, hold down the CTRL key and use your mouse to select the attachments that you want to save. Click OK.

3. Browse to a folder on your hard disk drive or to a document library on a Microsoft SharePoint site, and then click OK. The attachments will be saved to the new location.