Email overload? 6 tricks for powering through your inbox on Windows Phone 8

Email overload? 6 tricks for powering through your inbox on Windows Phone 8

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For better or worse, I spend a lot of time on my phone dealing with work email. As a result, I'm always looking for ways to do things a little quicker so I can get back to using my phone for things that are, shall we say, a little more fun.

Today I want to pass on a couple of mobile email time savers I've discovered along the way.

1. Find attachments faster

Looking for an Office doc someone emailed you a couple of months ago? Happens to me all the time. Rather than digging through my inbox, I just go to the Office Hub, tap Email (under Places), and then tap the document. One catch—for an attachment to show up in this list, you’ll need to have opened it before.

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2. Multi-select your mail

I wade through lots of long conversation threads throughout the workday. Luckily, Windows Phone has a handy way to manage these. I just tap the left edge of the screen by the first message and a set of handy pre-selected check boxes appear next to the rest of the messages in the thread. I can clear the check boxes for any mails I want to keep, and then move or delete the rest with a tap or two.

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3. Talk don’t type

At the end of a long day, tapping out those last few emails can be tough. So sometimes I give my thumbs a break and dictate the message instead. After replying to a mail or addressing a new one, I simply tap the Speak icon and say what I need to say.

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4. Power search your inbox

The other day I was heading home on the bus, flicking through my inbox trying to find an old email from a coworker. No luck.

So I got serious and tried some of the Outlook search queries I use on my PC. From my inbox, I tapped the Search icon, typed from:"Michael Stroh", then tapped the Search more link. Up popped a bunch of messages, including the exact one I wanted.

There are a lot of different queries you can try. Here’s a handy cheat sheet I found. Many were new to me, and quite a few worked on my phone. Here’s another hint for power searching your inbox: Tap the Refine icon on the results screen to further narrow your search to a specific date range or folder.

5. Create and sync custom folders

Fighting inbox bloat is a constant battle. One trick I use is creating custom folders and then diverting certain kinds of email (discussion groups and other lower-priority stuff I eventually want to read) to these new folders using rules, a feature of both the desktop and web versions of Outlook (shown below). On my long bus ride home I use my phone to catch up on all these diverted messages.

To do this, you’ll need to sync custom folders to your phone. From your inbox, tap open the More (…) menu. Then tap Folders > Show all folders, and tap the custom folder you want to sync. You can also pin a folder to Start by tapping Pin to start from the More (…) menu. That way, you can open it with just one tap.

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6. Download more mail

And finally, for those rare (sarcasm alert!) times when I’m running a little behind on email and need to try to catch up, I change the sync settings so my phone downloads older messages that I haven’t dealt with yet. Go to your inbox then tap More (…) > Settings > Sync settings > Download email from > The last month.

I hope these tips helped. Don’t forget you can learn about the basics of email on Windows Phone from our how-to site. And if you have a question or tip of your own you’d like to share, make sure to leave me a comment.

7 Comments
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  • I am unable to get the "Speak" button while composing a message ... what could be the problem?

  • adv1701
    0 Posts

    When I go to email the microphone is not an option. It's there but greyed out. How do I fix that?

  • It would be nice if in a future update to the mail client something would be added to help manage spam and junk mail. There is no junk folder or settings to redirect spam and junk mail into other folders. It would be nice to have a setting to choose only approved sites to be loaded into the inbox,, regardless of what syncs to the device.. This would also be a great service to users because it might help to control unwanted data usage.. WP really needs this safeguard if its going to compete in the enterprise market as well.... Just a thought about a major annoyance.

  • I think is usefull if the email tile notify even when a mail comes in a folder, also the support of the categories in the mail client is usefull

  • Mantvydas
    15 Posts

    That doesn't help my problem, where there's no more setting in Windows Phone to always have a full message synced. I hate always pressing that button, "download the rest of the message".

  • It's just too bad I still can't get my work email due to the Lumia 920 SD card bug on Exchange that Microsoft refuses to fix or acknowledge beyond a footnote in a knowledge base article.

  • Nathan
    63 Posts

    Thanks for the insight. Would be nice if users could attach more filetypes from Windows Phone. For starters, attach documents from Office Hub, Calendar invitations and other emails (to simulate drag drop email messages in Outlook's inbox).

    Also, let us download and save MP3, AVI, MP4, M4V and other supported media formats from Email and SkyDrive to Windows Phone Music/Video hubs.