Outlook Rules to Improve Your Workflow

Image result for outlook 2016 pngMicrosoft Outlook is one of those tools many of us not only use every workday – but countless times – throughout each day. The more skills you master in Outlook – the more time you will have to get things done. Here are some of my favorite Outlook tips.

Setup Rules

Rules can help you automate management of your messages, whether it is blocking Junk Mail or moving specific messages to a folder. For instance, you could have all messages from your boss moved to a particular folder, so you never miss them. With the full version of Outlook, you can create some pretty complex rules.

Here’s a simple rule where I’m moving messages from the recipient folder. Select a message from the recipient then click the Home tab then click Rules > Create Rule.

Check the box From recipient then check Move the item to folder.” Choose an existing folder or create a new one. Select it and click OK. You can run the rule right away or at a later time. There are rules you can setup to receive an alert when you get an email from a particular recipient or messages with certain words. Check out how to move new messages to a specific folder.

create rule 2

Also, advanced rules were added to Outlook.com a couple of years ago.

Use Color Categories and Flags

Use the Color and Categories feature to help prioritize and focus on what’s in important. Select a message and click the Categorize menu then choose an appropriate color. You can customize these colors to a particular meaning. Click Categories > All Categories > select a color and then Rename. Keyboard commands can also be assigned so you can quickly mark a message.


The Follow Up Flag can also help you remember messages you need to look at when you have the time. When you flag an email message, it will appear on your To Do List and Tasks lists so you can remember to attend to it.

Follow up

Schedule Using Delayed Delivery

Outlook lets you delay the delivery of an email to a particular time of the day. This feature is handy if you know a recipient won’t get to your message until a given time. If you’re aware that a user checks email around 3 AM in the morning, create a new message then click the Delay Delivery button under Options. Make the appropriate modifications to Delivery options such as Do not deliver before date and time.

Delay delivery

Create a Search Folder

A Search Folder is a powerful way to triage your messages and bring some sanity to your inbox. For instance, you can create a search folder for mail you want to follow up, or flag messages from specific people, groups or list.


Click the Folder tab then click New Search Folder then choose the type of Search Folder you want to create from within one of the groups. Select the mail folder and click OK. A search folder is created in the Navigation Pane. Any messages I choose to follow up will be available there when I need them.

Set Junk Email Filter Level

Junk Mail can slow down how much productive emails you can get to throughout the day. Using Outlooks Junk Mail Filter, you can minimize its impact. Click the Home tab then click the Junk menu in the Delete group then click Junk Email Options.

I recommend starting with the Low setting first and see how it works for you. If Junk messages are too aggressive, then you can move to a higher option. In case the filter mistakenly flags an important message, I would keep the Permanently delete option unchecked.

Junk Mail

These tips were just the tip of the Microsoft Outlook iceberg. You can check out some of our previous Outlook articles here.

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Microsoft Office 2016 Details Emerge

Microsoft Office 2016 is now available and it is bringing real-time collaboration, improved Skype integration and quick access to many options to the suite that includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

The updates are behind the scenes but they are very real nevertheless. It’s not about new icons or fancier menus with Office 2016, in many ways 2016 looks almost indistinguishable from 2013.


The updates includes a Groups feature in Outlook for a corporate team or even just a group of friends planning a trip to manage messages and documents. Word lets two people work on a document and see each other’s changes in real-time. Skype video calls can sit comfortably on top of the document during editing.

A user must learn to save files to OneDrive or Sharepoint, and switch between browser apps and the traditional desktop programs. New tools like Sway and Planner, are ways to make instant PowerPoint presentations, and manage projects.

Recently Microsoft has made Office programs compatible with more Apple and Android devices.

With Office 365, a service that starts at $7 a month and includes online versions of the apps, users get monthly updates: New Excel chart types, new co-working tools, more tie-ins with the Cortana virtual assistant app and other enhancements based on user feedback.

Microsoft has successfully persuaded 15 million consumers and 4 of 5 Fortune 500 companies to subscribe to it’s new “software as a service” model.

Office 2016 requires Windows 7 or newer, and it’s free to new and existing Office 365 subscribers. Office also includes note-taking program OneNote.

Old-school, buy-it-once versions are still available for $149 for Windows and Mac (a $229 business option includes Outlook). These non-subscription copies get security updates, but they’re locked in to the Sept. 22 version on the feature side. They will not have the Publisher or Access programs either.

New items include several “intelligent” tools. Outlook will try to determine how you manage your inbox and automatically organize it for you. A new search box called Tell Me on PowerPoint, Word and Excel lets you search for a feature — say “Columns” — and immediately pull up the relevant menu. That saves you from reading through a help article or digging around menus. When not connected to the Internet, some features will automatically turn off while the document remains accessible.

You can learn more about Office 2016 here.

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Office 2016 Arrives

Today Microsoft released its Office 2016 productivity suite. On the surface Office 2016 may not seem to look much different then Office 2013 however under the hood is where some real enhancements have been made.

Office 2016 upgrades Office desktop apps for Windows. The productivity suite includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Project, Visio and Access. Microsoft is encouraging customers to access the apps through Office 365, which offers continual updates for use across multiple devices. Office 365 also offers services like OneDrive online storage Relevant Products/Services, Skype for Business, Delve, Yammer and enterprise-grade security Relevant Products/Services features.

Microsoft is billing Office and Windows 10 as “the most complete solution for doing”. Beyond the traditional productivity suite, customers using Windows 10 can tap into Sway to create presentations while Office Mobile apps on the platform work to keep road warriors and remote workers productive, working with Continuum to let users operate smartphones like PCs. Windows Hello lets users log on to Windows and Office 365 at the same time and Cortana interfaces with Office 365 to help users prepare for meetings. Microsoft said Outlook integration is coming in November.


Office 2016 has been built with teamwork in mind. One example that I really like is the co-authoring feature, which is now available in Word, PowerPoint and OneNote desktop software. Co-authoring allows real-time Relevant Products/Services typing in Word that lets users see others’ edits as they make them, and the Skype in-app integration lets users tap into IM, screen share, talk or hold video chats within Office documents.

Office 365 Groups & Planner

Office 365 Groups are now part of Office 2016. Groups strives to help drive a team experience in the productivity suite. Meanwhile, Office 365 Planner gives teams tools to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, mark deadlines, and update statuses.


Another new feature which I have been using in a preview for a while know is Sway. With Sway you are able to create presentations in seconds right from any mobile device or your PC and share them on social media sites like Facebook.

Data Protection

Later this year, Microsoft will enable enterprise data protection Relevant Products & Services in Windows 10, with support in Office Mobile. This will allow for more secure corporate content sharing across corporate managed apps and network and cloud locations, which prevents inadvertent content sharing outside corporate boundaries.

The new Office 2016 apps are available in 40 languages and require Windows 7 or later. Office 365 subscribers can choose to download the new Office 2016 apps as part of their subscriptions. Automatic updates will begin rolling out to consumer and small-business subscribers in October, and to commercial customers early next year. Office 2016 is also available today as a one-time purchase for both PCs and Macs.

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Office 2016 Gets a Launch Date

I have been using Microsoft’s soon-to-be released Office 2016 for about 6 months now and I must say that although it is not flashy it is a improvement over 2013 and offers new integration for social media and cloud services that make it a must for Office users.

The new suite of Office applications which is set to launch on September 22 will give Office 365 ProPlus business subscribers a choice of two types of ongoing updates. As they have in the past, company and organizational users can continue to receive feature and security updates on a monthly basis under an option now called “Current Branch.”

For enterprise users, there will also be a new update option called “Current Branch for Business,” which will deliver three feature updates annually while providing monthly security updates. The option is designed for organizations that prefer to wait for updates, need time for testing or want to better manage customizations, Microsoft said.

Users with personal or home subscriptions who update to Office 2016, meanwhile, will begin seeing automatic monthly updates starting in October.

New Ways To Upgrade and Deploy

“We’ve enhanced the upgrade and installation experience, and for Office 365 subscribers, we’ve made changes to how the 2016 apps are updated moving forward,” Julia White, general manager of Office 365 Technical Product Management, stated earlier this week in a blog post. “We’re also delivering new tools and resources to help you prepare, deploy and manage Office.”

The Current Branch for Business option was developed based on feedback from many users who currently run Office 365 ProPlus, White said. The approach is similar to that taken by Microsoft with its new Windows 10 operating system, she added.

The first Current Branch for Business build, which will come out in February, will be “effectively the same feature set as the September 22nd release, but with four additional months of security updates also included,” White noted.

Business users with volume licensing agreements for Office will be able to download the Office 2016 suite from Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Service Center starting October 1.


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Office 16 Technical Preview Arrives

office_16_previewToday Microsoft announced the availability of technical previews of both Office 2016 and Skype for Business.

Office 2016 is scheduled to be released in the second half of this year. The current technical preview has reportedly given a good insight into many new set of features, which will arrive in the next version of Microsoft’s Office suite.

The first major update will be coming to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. This update is Microsoft’s Data Loss Protection platform. Over the last few years, Microsoft had added DLP to Exchange, Outlook, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint, however Word, Excel and Powerpoint missed out. Now with the new Office, those three applications have been equipped with the same protection. With these new capabilities, IT admins wil be able to create, manage and enforce polices for content authoring and document sharing. At the same time and end users will see policy tips or sharing restrictions when the apps detect a potential policy violation.

Outlook too is getting a major upgrade, with the introduction of multiple protocols and upgradation/discontinuation of outdated ones. For example, Microsoft has replaced the RPC-based Sync with a new Internet-friendly MAPI-HTTP protocol that supports Exchange/Outlook connectivity.

The new Outlook will be equipped with multi-factor authentication through integration with the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL). The new Outlook features a much needed reduction in the amount of time it takes to download messages, display the message list, and show new email after resuming from hibernation.

Several smaller updates, like improved keyboard accessibility for high-value Excel features like PivotTables as well as the introduction of a dark theme for users with visual impairments.


In addition to Office 2016, Microsoft today also released a technical preview for its new Skype For Business software.

While Skype for Business client looks very similar to the consumer version of Skype and uses the same buttons and icons found there, this version arrive with with enterprise-level security solutions for secured video/audio calls to other Skype For Business users.

The new Skype for Business is expected to become available “in the coming weeks” for Lync customers, while it will ship with an entirely new back-end (including client, server and service) with Office 365.

I am working to get my hands on both of these technical previews so I can report back to you, my dedicated readers on my thoughts.

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