Outlook.com makes me love email again

Last week we announced that Outlook.com has over 25 million active users. This got me thinking about how much easier Outlook.com makes it for me to manage my email – so much in fact that I kind-of-sort-of love email again. I get a lot of information from email still – whether it’s from newsletters about new products from Best Buy (I’m a Rewards Zone member) or shipping confirmations of products I’ve ordered online (I’ve got a Hoverboard replica from Back To The Future on the way now!). I also use email to communicate with my dad and other family members. But when it comes down to it – it is super important to be able to manage the email I get. And Outlook.com does a great job with that so I thought I’d run through how I’m using Outlook.com to manage my email.

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This is a new feature in Outlook.com rolling out now and is designed to make it super easy to archive email into whatever folder you want or have Outlook.com create an Archive folder for you. All you need to do is click on any message and then click the “Archive” button at the top (alternatively you can right-click on a message and choose “Archive” too). I like a clean inbox so whenever I receive an email I want to keep, I just archive it! Way better than having to manually drag-and-drop an email into a folder.

Flags

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For emails that need immediate attention or follow-up, instead of archiving all I do is flag these emails and they stay at the top of my inbox where they are the first thing I see whenever I visit Outlook.com.

Creating aliases

Outlook.com has the ability for you to create aliases. These are separate email addresses from the main email address you use for Outlook.com (your Microsoft account). For example – you can create an email address that is used specifically for online purchasing, another for all your social media websites, and another for bills and finances. This is what I do. This can be incredibly helpful in managing “traffic flow” of email especially with rules…

Message rules

Above I mentioned creating aliases for managing email “traffic flow”. With rules in Outlook.com, whenever email is sent to any one of your aliases – you can have it automatically moved into specific folders. Essentially, you can use rules to automatically sort your email as it comes through.

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I’ve configured messages rules for emails I receive from Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to go into a “Social” folder to help me keep track of all my social media stuff.

Sweep (Schedule Cleanup)

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As I mentioned above, I like to keep my inbox clean. To help manage this and keep it clean, I schedule “cleanups” where my inbox gets “sweeped” based on specific messages.

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I can have specific emails from certain people moved or deleted older than 10 days.

SkyDrive

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I share a lot of files and photos with my dad and do this via email. Outlook.com integrates with SkyDrive so when I send files and photos, I don’t worry about attachment size limits.

Here are a few other tips and tricks for Outlook.com that might be of interest to you:

Personalization

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By clicking the little gadget icon next to your name at the top right, you can customize Outlook.com by picking a color theme of your choice, turning off the reading pane (or having it appear on the bottom versus right of your screen). You can also go into more mail settings here too…

Turn on/off conversation threading

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Some people like conversation threading. Others don’t. You can turn this off or on in your mail settings. I prefer having conversation threading on.

And one final tip: if you’re really into having keyboard shortcuts, if you press the “?” key on your keyboard in Outlook.com, you’ll get a list of keyboard shortcuts, including the same shortcuts used in Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.

If you haven’t already, I definitely recommend giving Outlook.com a try today!