Guide to inbox management

With hundreds (or thousands) of messages coming and going from your inbox each month, it can quickly get unruly. Outlook helps you take control and stay on top of what’s important. Here are seven Outlook tips and tools to help you overcome business email overload.

Focused Inbox

Your inbox should be your command center—helping you plan your day by staying on top of what matters. That’s why our Outlook team spends so much of their time improving your email experience. One of Outlook’s newest features, Focused Inbox, helps you focus on the emails most important to you. This feature separates your email into two tabs: Focused and Other—determined by an email’s content and the contacts you communicate with most. That way, all your less important emails are saved but out of the way, enabling you to focus on what’s most important first. To fine-tune the sorting criteria, just use the “Move to Focused” or “Move to Other” options.

Available on Outlook.com and Outlook for iOS and Android. This feature will soon be rolling out to Office 365 customers and Outlook on other platforms.

@Mentions

There’s now a better way to quickly identify action items for team members through email. Simply type the @ symbol followed by individuals’ names in the body of your emails. The @Mention changes the text color and style to call an item to the recipient’s attention. This helps you detect what emails require your response, as the @ symbol will appear in your message list when you’ve been mentioned in an email.

The @Mentions feature is already available in Outlook on the web and is available for Office Insiders using Outlook 2016 for Windows and Mac. Look for @Mentions coming soon for Outlook for iOS, Android and Windows 10 Mobile.

Search

Outlook’s smart search has made it easier to find what you’re looking for—regardless of where the email is stored. This reduces the need to sort emails into folders, which can sometimes take more time than it saves. Outlook searches all email that is synced to your computer as well as stored on your email server, so you can find exactly what you need when you need it. Start typing a name or keyword into the search bar, and Outlook provides smart suggestions based on your previous searches and the content of your mailbox.

Tagging

Outlook provides many ways you can organize your inbox to match your individual work styles or preferences. Make your emails more easily discoverable by taking advantage of features like colored Categories, Flags and Quick Steps. Categories allow you to assign a color to your emails, to assign them to a project or work group. Flagging an email will remind you to revisit later, and it will appear in your To-Do bar, Daily Task List within the Calendar as well as the Tasks view. Or simply use the Read/Unread options to come back to important items at your convenience.

Unsubscribe

Individually removing your email from each list can be a drain on your time. Luckily, Outlook can take care of this problem for you. Easily unsubscribe with just one click, without leaving your inbox.

Currently this feature is only available for Outlook on the web.

Sweep

If too many emails are cluttering your inbox, the Sweep tool can help you quickly get rid of unwanted mail. Delete emails in bulk with the Sweep feature or create a rule for deleting certain emails so you don’t have to do it manually. Tired of receiving a store’s promotion? Sweep and block all future emails with just a few clicks.

Currently this feature is only available for Outlook on the web.

Mobile apps

Up your productivity by taking advantage of Outlook’s mobile applications, which provide access to the best Outlook features on your mobile device. The iOS and Android apps bring together the core tools you need to get things done—your email, calendar, contacts and files—helping you get more done even on the smallest screen. Easily send attachments, view and respond to calendar invites, and schedule emails all from within one unified app.

You can also triage action items right on your wrist with Outlook for Apple Watch and Android Wear, as well as interact with emails and calendar information.

Curious about how these features work? Sign up to use Outlook through Office 365 for a more powerful and productive inbox. Also, check out these resources: