Tips to organize your emails

email cartoonGive email back its power! The Office of Communications is conducting an email awareness campaign to help everyone make email more efficient.

Invest one hour to organize your inbox and this should ultimately save you time when you go through your messages each day.

1. Use rules to help reduce the "noise" in your inbox and to make the most important items bubble to the top. Rules help by moving messages into folders based on criteria that you set. Rules filter the messages coming into your Inbox for must-read items only. For example, if you receive newsletters from commercial entities or mailing lists that are a low priority, you can route them into a folder for later viewing. Tips:

  • Click the Home tab. Within the navigation pane, click on Rules, then Manage Rules & Alerts from the drop-down menu. Click New Rule.

2. Use conditional formatting to make messages that meet defined conditions stand out in the message list by using color, fonts, and styles. You specify conditions that an incoming message should meet, such as a sender's name or email address, and then formatting is applied only to those messages. For example, a conditional rule can specify that all messages sent from your manager appear in red text in the message list. This will help you easily identify those messages. Note: use of color, varying fonts and styles should not be used when composing emails. Tips:

  • On the View tab, in the Current View group, click View Settings. In the Advanced View Settings dialog box, click Conditional Formatting. To add a new conditional formatting rule, click Add, in the Name box, type a name, click Font to specify the formatting, and then click Condition to specify the criteria for this rule.

3. Create folders which allow you to store specific emails based on their subject. This helps de-clutter your inbox and makes it easy to find emails when you need them. Tips:

  • To create a folder, click the Folder tab in your navigation pane and click New Folder. Name your folder, then select where you want to place the folder. Once you've created your folder, you can start dragging messages into it.

4. Use the Follow Up flags option in the navigation pane. You can add a custom date to follow up on a message or set it for Today, Tomorrow, This Week, or Next Week. These flagged messages will show up when you're in your email and in your calendar.

5. Use your out of office replies. This will let your colleagues know that you are not in the office for a specified amount of time. This will discourage them from sending follow up messages during your absence and will explain why you have not responded to their messages. Tips:

  • Click the File tab, then Automatic Replies. You can set your out of office replies to only be sent during a specified time range.

6. Exercise your right to unsubscribe. Save yourself unnecessary junk mail by unsubscribing to newsletters, publications, companies, advertisers, mailing lists, etc., that you no longer read or are interested in.

7. Update your subscription preferences in MyKUMC. You may be automatically opted in to receive many of the announcements, like Research Study Opportunities and Kirmayer Fitness Center. If you don't want to receive these, you may opt out. Just log-in, then scroll to the bottom, click "My Subscriptions" and update. 

8. Stay on top of your inbox by trying to go through your email daily. Read and delete messages you don't need and file messages you do need. Once you respond to messages, you can delete them unless you need to file them in a folder for future reference.

9. Tighten up your spam firewall settings. The KUMC Spam Firewall sends you a daily quarantine summary report. From this report, you can add messages to your whitelist (those that are not spam), delete messages, and have messages delivered to your inbox. You can manage your preferences within the summary report or go to  After logging into the quarantine interface, you can select the PREFERENCES tab to modify your quarantine and spam settings and manage your whitelist and blacklist (considered spam). Tips:

10. Consider taking an Outlook training class online, attending a brown bag lunch 'n learn, or receiving one-on-one help from the Jayhawk Tech Clinic (IT Help Desk). For training options, go to the technology training and resources page. You may also call 913-588-7995 if you need help organizing your inbox.

Click here for other Outlook tips and tricks. Need help? Jayhawk Tech Clinic (IT Help Desk)  can help you set up rules, formatting, folders and more. Call 913-588-7995 or open a ticket online (userid/password required).

Last modified: Jun 15, 2014