facebook twitter
Webucator's Free Advanced Microsoft Outlook Tutorial

Lesson: Managing Your Inbox

Welcome to our free Advanced Microsoft Outlook tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Advanced Microsoft Outlook 2019 course.

Now that you know how to perform common tasks in Outlook, learning how to manage your Inbox will allow you to work efficiently and effectively in Outlook.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn how to search for messages.
  • Learn how to create search folders.
  • Learn how to group your mailbox items.
  • Learn how to filter messages.
  • Learn how to organize messages.
  • Learn how to manage your junk mail.
  • Learn how to archive your messages.
  • Learn how to create an Outlook data file.
  • Learn how to create a Quick Step to easily and quickly apply multiple actions to emails.
  • Learn how to add protection to outgoing emails.

Search for Messages

You may have a need to search Outlook for messages. You can search any area of Outlook, including folders, your Inbox, sent messages, and so on.

To search your Inbox:

  1. While in your Inbox, click in the Search text box and type a search term. Search Text Box
  2. Press Enter. Press Enter
  3. Your Inbox will now display the search results. Inbox Displays Results
  4. To end the search and return to your Inbox view, click the Search text box Close button. Close Button

Search by Location

If you want to search a different folder in your Inbox, for example, the Trash, simply select the Trash folder and then type in the Search text box.

Advanced Find

You can use Outlook's Advanced Find feature.

To access Advanced Find:

  1. Click in the Search text box to activate the Search Tools Search tab.
  2. From the Search tab, from the Options group, select Advanced Find. Advanced Find Command
  3. In the Advanced Find dialog box, configure options such as word to search, time frame, sent to or from, and so on.
  4. When ready to search, click Find Now. Find Now Command

Create Search Folders

You can use Search Folders to create virtual folders that will display messages based on specific criteria.

To create a Search Folder:

  1. From the Ribbon, select the Folder tab.
  2. From the New group, select New Search Folder.
  3. In the Select a Search Folder dialog box, from the Select a Search Folder list box, select an option. Search Folder Options
  4. Click OK.
  5. The Search Folder now appears in the Navigation Pane.Search Folder Appears
  6. When you select the Search Folder, your Inbox will display its contents. Inbox Displays Contents

Sort Messages

You can sort messages in your Inbox or other folders.

To sort messages:

  1. At the top of the message list, click the drop-down arrow by By Date (the default). Date Drop-Down Arrow
  2. Select an option to sort your messages a different way, such as by sender. Sort Options

Sort By Conversation

You can sort messages by conversations.

To sort messages by conversation:

  1. Select the View tab of the Ribbon, and in the

    Messages

    group, check the Show as Conversations check box. Show as Conversations Check Box
  2. In the dialog box, select an option to display conversations in all folders or the selected folder only. Select Option
  3. Messages are now sorted by conversation.

Focused Inbox

If you have Office 365 you can use the new Focused Inbox feature, which allows you to separate your emails into two tabs: Focused and Other.

Add New Local Folders

You can add new folders to Outlook.

To add a new folder:

  1. Right-click the Inbox label in the Navigation Pane. Right-Click the Inbox
  2. Select New Folder. New Folder Command
  3. Type a name for the folder in the text box that appears. Name the Folder

Move Messages between Folders

You can move messages between folders easily in Outlook by clicking and dragging a message from the message list to a folder.

Move Messages

Group Your Mailbox Items

By default, the Outlook Inbox groups your messages by date, with the newest messages appearing at the top of your Inbox. However, you can change how Outlook groups your messages if you wish.

To group your mailbox items:

  1. While in your Inbox, select the View tab. View Tab
  2. From the list box in the Arrangements group, select a new arrangement. Arrangements Group
  3. To reverse the sort order of the view, click Reverse Sort. Reverse Sort Option

Filter Messages

Filtering your email messages is another way to search and separate emails.

To filter your messages:

  1. In the Navigation Pane, click the area you want to filter (e.g., your Inbox). Click Area to Filter
  2. On the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Find group, select Filter E-mail. Filter E-mail Command
  3. From the drop-down list, select a filter option. Filter Options
  4. Your Inbox now displays the filter results. Inbox Displays Results
  5. To close the filter, select Close Search in the Close group of the Search tab on the Ribbon. Close Filter

In Outlook 2019, you can filter unread messages.

Filter Unread Messages

Organize Messages

One of the ways to organize your messages in Outlook is to apply colors to message fonts; you first create color categories and then assign them to messages. You can choose from some default categories, such as unread mail, or set the formatting yourself.

To organize your messages by applying a colored font to unread messages in your Inbox:

  1. In your Inbox, from the Ribbon, select the View tab.
  2. In the Current View group, select View Settings. View Settings Command
  3. In the Advanced View Settings dialog box, select Conditional Formatting. Conditional Formatting Command
  4. In the Conditional Formatting dialog box, select Unread messages. Unread messages Command
  5. Select Font. Font Command
  6. In the Font dialog box, select a color for the email font from the Color drop-down list. Color Drop-Down List
  7. Click OK.
  8. In the Conditional Formatting dialog box, click OK.
  9. In the Advanced View Settings dialog box, click OK.
  10. Your Inbox will now display unread messages in the font color you selected, making them stand out. Color is Displayed

The Clutter Feature

The Clutter feature allows you to move low-priority emails to a folder named Clutter, so you can easily view more important messages.

This feature analyzes your past behavior with your emails and moves messages that it deems lower priority to the folder. You can send emails to the Clutter folder by right-clicking the email and selecting Move > Move to Clutter.

Apply Categories

You can use categories with messages as a way to organize them.

To apply categories:

  1. Select the message you want to categorize.
  2. From the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Tags group, select Categorize. Categorize Command
  3. Select a category from the drop-down list. Select Category
  4. You have the option to rename the category. Rename  Category
  5. The message or other item will display the category information. Category Information is Displayed

More Ways to Organize Your Messages

One way to organize messages is to mark them read or unread. To do this, right-click the message in your Inbox and select Mark as Unread (if it has been read) or Mark as Read (if it is unread).

Mark Read or Unread

To flag a message for follow-up, right-click it and select Follow Up and then select Flag Message.

Flag Message

You can ignore a message; that message and all future messages will be moved to the Trash folder.

To ignore a message, right-click it, select Ignore, and then click Ignore Conversation to confirm.

Ignore Conversation

Create and Manage Rules

You can use rules in Outlook to help organize as well as manage your email.

To create a rule:

  1. Select the File menu tab, and then in the Info section, under Account Information, click Manage Rules & Alerts. (In Outlook 2007, select Tools and select Rules and Alerts....) Rules and Alerts
  2. Select New Rule.New Rule Command
  3. In Step 1 of the Rules Wizard, select a template. Select Template
  4. In Step 2, click an underlined word to edit the description and click Add to add the word; when done, click OK.
  5. Click Next to continue, and then select a condition or multiple conditions, and click Next. Select Conditions
  6. Select the next condition(s) and click Next.
  7. Select exceptions, if there are any.
  8. Specify a name for the rule, set rule options, and review the description, and click Finish to create the rule. Name and Finish
  9. Click Apply to activate the rule and then click OK.

Edit or Delete Rules

To edit or delete rules:

  1. Select the File menu tab, and then in the Info section, under Account Information, click Manage Rules & Alerts. Rules and Alerts
  2. Select Change Rule, Delete, or Copy. Select Type of Change
  3. Click Apply to apply the changes.

Organizing Your Messages

Duration: 15 to 20 minutes.

In this exercise, you will group your messages and set a filter.

  1. Group your Inbox to display messages organized by Subject, alphabetically.
  2. Then set your unread messages to be displayed in a blue font.

Solution:

  1. While in your Inbox, select the View tab.
  2. From the list box in the Arrangements group, select Subject. Subject Command
  3. From the same tab, from the Current View group, select View Settings. View Settings Command
  4. In the Advanced View Settings dialog box, select Conditional Formatting. Conditional Formatting
  5. In the Conditional Formatting dialog box, select Unread messages. Unread messages Command
  6. Select Font. Font Command
  7. From the Color drop-down list, select Blue. Select Blue
  8. In the Font dialog box, click OK. Click OK
  9. In the Conditional Formatting dialog box, click OK.
  10. In the Advanced View Settings dialog box, click OK.
  11. Notice that the messages in your Inbox are now arranged alphabetically, by subject, with unread messages appearing in blue. Organized in Inbox

Manage Your Junk Email

You can manage your junk mail in Outlook from the Ribbon, by adding senders to a Safe Senders list, so their email will not go to your Junk E-mail folder, or by adding them to a Blocked Senders list. Outlook will automatically move blocked senders to your Junk E-mail folder.

To add a sender to the Safe Senders list:

  1. On the Ribbon, from the Home tab, in the Delete group, select Junk. Junk Command
  2. From the drop-down list, select Junk E-mail Options. Junk E-mail Options
  3. Select the Safe Senders tab. Safe Senders Tab
  4. Click Add. Click Add
  5. In the Add address or domain dialog box, type an email address or domain. Email Address
  6. Click OK.
  7. In the Junk E-mail Options dialog box, click Apply to save your changes. Emails from this sender will now be prevented from automatically going to your Junk E-mail folder. Apply Command

Block Specific Addresses

To add a sender to the Blocked Senders list:

  1. On the Ribbon, from the Home tab, in the Delete group, select Junk. Junk Command
  2. From the drop-down list, select Junk E-mail Options. Junk E-mail Options
  3. Select the Blocked Senders tab. Blocked Senders Tab
  4. Click Add. Add Command
  5. In the Add address or domain dialog box, type an email address or domain to block. Add address or domain Dialog Box
  6. Click OK.
  7. You will now see the name in the Blocked Senders list. Blocked Senders List
  8. In the Junk E-mail Options dialog box, click Apply to save your changes. Emails from that sender will now go straight to your Junk E-mail folder.

Archive Your Messages

An efficient way to manage your Inbox size is to archive your older emails. Archived items are moved to a file, where you can access them when you need to.

To archive your messages:

  1. Go to the Backstage view by selecting the File menu.
  2. In the Mailbox Settings section of the Info section, select Set Archive Folder from the drop-down list. Cleanup Tools
  3. Select a folder or create a new folder in the Set Up One-Click Archive dialog box and then click OK. Archive Command
  4. Now when you want to archive a message, click it and then select Archive from the Delete group of the Home tab and it will be moved to the archive folder you specified. Archive Command

Create an Outlook Data File

You can create an Outlook data file, which is a .pst file, to archive older messages or move some items. It is important to note that these are saved locally.

To create an Outlook data file:

  1. From the Home tab of the Ribbon, select New Items from the New group. New Group
  2. In the drop-down list, select More Items, and scroll to select Outlook Data File. Outlook Data File Command
  3. In the Create or Open Outlook Data File dialog box, type a name in the File name text box and then click OK. File Name

Your file is saved in the Documents/Outlook Files folder.

Create a Quick Step

Quick Steps allow you to easily and quickly apply multiple actions to emails. You can create your own Quick Steps or use default Quick Steps.

To create a Quick Step:

  1. On the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Quick Steps group, in the list box, select Create New. Create New Command
  2. In the Edit Quick Step dialog box, in the Name text box, type a name for your Quick Step. Quick Step Command
  3. In the Actions section, click Choose an action, and from the drop-down list, select an action. Set any other options as necessary. Set Optionss
  4. Click Add Action to add another action. Add Action Command
  5. Select a second action from the Choose an action drop-down list. Set any other options as desired. Choose an action Drop-Down List
  6. Add more actions as necessary and when done, click Finish. Add More Actions
  7. The Quick Step now appears in the list box, and selecting an email in your Inbox and then clicking the Quick Step will perform the action(s) that you specified. Quick Step in List

Add Protection to Your Outgoing Messages

You can customize your Outlook protection settings to suit your needs. One way to protect your email is to add encryption, which helps protect mail from being read by unintended recipients, to outgoing mail.

To add protection to Outlook:

  1. Go to the Backstage view by selecting the File menu.
  2. Select Options. Options Tab
  3. In the Outlook Options dialog box, select Trust Center. Trust Center
  4. Click Trust Center Settings. Trust Center Settings
  5. Select E-mail Security. E-mail Security
  6. To add encryption to outgoing email, select the Encrypt contents and attachments for outgoing messages check box. Encrypt
  7. Your outgoing mail will now be encrypted.

Create Auto-Replies

If you are going to be out of the office, you can set Outlook to auto-reply to incoming messages to let senders know you are away, if you have an Exchange account.

To send auto-replies:

  1. Select the File menu tab, and click Info.
  2. Click Automatic Replies (Out of Office).
  3. Walk through the steps of the wizard to set up your auto-reply feature.

Managing Your Mail By Creating a Quick Step

Duration: 15 to 20 minutes.

In this exercise, you will create a Quick Step to help manage your Inbox.

  1. Create a Quick Step to reply to a message as well as forward it to a colleague or other contact.

Solution:

  1. On the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Quick Steps group, in the list box, select Create New. Create New Quick Step
  2. In the Edit Quick Step dialog box, in the Name text box, type a name for your Quick Step. Quick Step
  3. In the Actions section, click Choose an action, and from the drop-down list, select Reply. Reply Option
  4. Click Add Action. Add Action
  5. From the second Choose an action drop-down list, select Forward. Forward
  6. In the To text box, type the colleague or your instructor's email address. Email address
  7. Click Finish. Finish Button
  8. The new Quick Step now appears in the list box. Quick Step in List