Outlook Folders Tips and Tricks

Outlook Folders Tips: Colored Folders

In a prior post, we discussed some of the challenges of e-mail folders.  

Now we will look at some specific Outlook Folders Tips and tricks that can help make you more effective and efficient in your use of Email folders.

Customize the order of your Outlook folders:

Putting a number in front of the folder will force the sort order to follow the numeric sequence.

You can also use punctuation (such as "." or "@") in front of a name which cause them to sort before numbers.

Otherwise, your folders will simply default to being listed alphabetically, which may not correspond to the way you would like them "logically" ordered.

Follow these steps to rename an existing Outlook Folder:

  • "Right-click" a folder.
  • Select "Rename".
  • Revise your folder name as required.

Add frequently used Outlook Folders to the "Favorites" section of the Navigation Pane:

The "Favorites Section" of the Navigation pane can contain any of your highly utilized e-mail folders for quick access.

Recommended for your Inbox, Sent, Deleted, and Draft folders.

You can also add a folder for a highly active project, or even folders that house your automatically routed subscriptions or newsletter messages.

Follow these steps to add Outlook Folders to your "Favorites":

  • "Right-click" a folder.
  • Select "Add to Favorites".
  • The folder will then appear in the "Favorites" section.
  • You are also given the option to remove it from "Favorites" (doesn't change the actual folder) or to reorder the folders.
  • You can also reorder the folders by simply dragging them within the Favorite Folders section.

Customize if Outlook Folders show "total messages" or "unread messages":

Suggest you use "unread messages" for your Inbox and any folder you automatically route messages to through a Rule so you know when there are "unread" messages that require review.

Use "total messages" for folders that contain reference materials. This will help you see when these folders are either under-utilized and can perhaps be combined into other folders, or when they are getting so large they should be archived.

Follow these steps to set Outlook Folders to display either total or unread message count:

  • "Right-click" a folder.
  • Select "Properties".
  • You can choose to either display the number of "unread" items or the "total number" of items in the folder.

Learn to "Drag and Drop" messages to Outlook Folders.

Drag and Drop is the most common way to move an e-mail to a folder, but it requires you to have your Mail Folders visible in the Navigation Pane.

If you drag a message over a "parent" folder and hold it there, the parent will automatically expand to show all of its "subfolders". This is a handy timesaver!

Follow these steps to drag and drop messages to folders from within your inbox:

  • Drag a message in your inbox to the desired folder in your Navigation Pane.
  • If you hold the message over a parent folder, its child folders will automatically open after a second.
  • If you "Right Click" the item and then drag and drop it to your desired folder, you are given options to either "move" to the folder or to "copy", which creates a copy in the folder but keeps the original in the Inbox.

Move a message to Outlook Folders while viewing the actual e-mail message.

This is an easy way to move the message while you are still viewing it.

Follow these steps from within the actual message:

  • Select the "Move to Folder" option
  • It displays a list of your 10 most recent folders for you to choose from.
  • Or select "Other Folder", and you are given a "Folder chooser" that allows you to navigate your folder structure and select your desired folder.
  • You can also select "New" in the chooser and create a new folder on the fly.

What are your practices in using Outlook Folders?

Do you find them helpful or do they create more work then they solve?