Managing emails in Microsoft Outlook

Not sure if email is a boon or a bane, nevertheless it is ubiquitous and quite often overwhelming. The following are some tips and tricks we use within Microsoft Outlook to better manage our emails.

  1. Use the appropriate subject

I cannot emphasis this enough, put in a succinct subject that clearly identifies the body of the email. This is especially true for mobile users who find it convenient to reply to an old email rather than create a new email and enter one or more recipients manually. I get the convenience part but do make the effort to appropriately modify the subject matter

  1. Delete old content

If you do have the habit of replying to old emails on new topics, in addition to modifying the subject to reflect the new topic, please delete old content from the body of the email.

  1. Folders and Rules

Create Folders and use Rules to move incoming and outgoing messages to folders. The initial process is tedious and time consuming, but it is well worth it.  If you regularly deal with multiple people from the same company, consider setting the rule for “” as opposed to “

Contemporary versions of Microsoft Outlook have a setting” When replying to a message that is not in the Inbox, save the reply in the same folder”. This is very useful to see the complete thread of the conversation in one folder.

Mobile users may find it inconvenient if new emails are directly moved to a folder.  You may find it more convenient to set the rule to “not process” automatically and run the rules manually at a more convenient time when you are at your desktop computer or notebook.


  1. Attachment

Typically, some action is required to be taken on the attachment, outside of the email system. A contract may need to be signed and returned, sample images to be approved, expense reports etc. Most attachments have a short life span. Do review sent and received attachments on a regular basis and  remove attachments that are no longer relevant.