Tag Archives for " Microsoft Outlook "

1 Reader Question: Cannot custom flag emails

A while back, one Legal Office Guru reader who’d just read my post, Make your Outlook e-mails un-ignorable, was having a curious problem: he couldn’t flag his e-mails. Well, that’s not entirely true. He could right-click on his e-mails and flag them, but he wasn’t getting all of the choices that I outlined in my post. As he described his problem:

I use Outlook 2010 and I like being able to Flag an email for a reminder on a specific day at a specific time. For some reason when I click on the red flag “Follow up” I only have one option “Flag Message” How do I set this up for Custom?

My first response was to do that really annoying thing that help desk people do: I asked him if he was sure he had followed the instructions. Yes, he had. So, the quest was on to figure out where the gap was between my instructions and his experience.
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3 Don’t miss that important Microsoft Outlook email!

Let’s face it: some emails really are more important than others. Like the ones from your boss. Or that especially lucrative client. Or virtually everything from any court.

So with your inbox continually filling up to capacity, how can you make sure you see the critical, gotta-deal-with-it-now emails?

You use Microsoft Outlook’s Rules feature, that’s how.

We’ve talked a bit about the Rules feature before, but mostly in the context of automating the movement of emails into subfolders and out of your inbox. But if all you want is just a friendly “heads up” whenever something particularly important comes in, that’s what we’re going to talk about now.

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5 Instantly access boilerplate text with Quick Parts

Admit it: you repeat yourself.  A lot.

Oh, you don't think you do.  But if you work in a law office, you're probably constantly going back to old documents, picking up bits and pieces of text to drop into your latest magnum opus.

Stop doing that!

For one thing, it's just so inefficient.  Even worse, you're constantly in danger of forgetting to edit something client-specific when you do all that cutting-and-pasting.  (Do you really want to repeat that time you forgot to change "he" to "she" in the Notary Acknowledgement and your client had to correct you before she signed her name?)

Here's a better solution: Quick Parts.

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43 Make your Outlook email messages un-ignorable

Email’s great, isn’t it?  You can just type up a quick little message to someone to send them some information or answer a question or ask them to do something for you.

In the “asking them to do something for you” department, though, things can get a little hairy.  After all, as easy as it is to send someone an email, it’s just that easy for both sender and receiver to forget it’s there.

So, whaddya do to keep track of all those little requests (both the ones you send and the ones you receive)?

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The Ballad of OMG Dave (or, how to start Outlook in a different folder)

Once upon a time, there was this guy named Dave. (Actually, he wasn’t named Dave, but that’s what we’re going to call him.  Because I said so.).  He suffered from a curious affliction: Calendar Blindness.

Oh, he could see just fine.  (Especially after he had that fancy laser eye surgery.)  But as soon as he opened Outlook every day, he began obsessing over his overflowing Inbox and forgot all about his Calendar.

Occasionally, his assistant would go into his office on, say, Monday, and he would mention that he needed to do such-and-such by mid-week.  “So, we need to get that finalized before your trip to Podunk on Wednesday?” she’d ask.

“Podunk? Wednesday?” he’d reply, the color draining out of his face.

“Yes, Podunk.  It’s on your calendar for Wednesday.”

(This would be where the OMG part comes in.)

His assistant, proactive soul that she was, finally got an idea: she went into Dave’s office one day and set up his Outlook so that, instead of going straight to his Inbox, it showed his Calendar at startup.  He could then click on his Inbox folder when he was ready to view his email, but at least he had an opportunity to glance at his Calendar first.  (She also set up his Calendar to show the weekly view so future stuff didn’t sneak up on him anymore.)

And they all lived happily (or at least better informed) ever after.

I’d show you how to start up in a different folder in Outlook, but I don’t have to.  Because Vivian Manning from Small City Law Firm Tech already has, in her guest post on the Attorney at Work blog. She’s even given directions for three different versions of Outlook – 2003, 2007 and 2010.  (She’s good that way.)  She suggests starting in the For Follow-Up folder (makes sense), but you can really adapt this trick to use any folder you want to see — Calendar, Tasks, whatever — at start-up.

Click here to learn more from Viv.

7 How to permanently delete a problem email in Microsoft Outlook

Depending on how well your spam catcher of choice works, you may still see the occasional shifty-looking email in your Microsoft Outlook inbox – you know, something with a weird subject line, from a name you don’t recognize, etc.

But before you open it up or even click on it, be warned: It may be carrying dangerous cargo, and not always in the form of an attachment.

I’ll be the first to tell you: I’m no expert on spam and email security, so I can’t give you a rundown of all the dangers in this area.  But when I see something in my own inbox that looks suspicious, I err on the side of caution by permanently deleting it.

I say “permanently” because, if you simply hit the Delete key in Outlook, that email isn’t really deleted.  All Outlook’s done at that point is move it from your Inbox (or whatever subfolder it’s in) to the Deleted Items folder.  And, depending on your Outlook settings, it may stay there a while, lurking and still posing a potential security threat.

(I also say “permanently” because, as that word implies, once it’s gone, there is no way for you to retrieve it within Outlook, so don’t do this lightly.  This feature does not, however, provide a way to circumvent any sort of forensic recovery of individual emails from your account in the event of a lawsuit, investigation, etc.  In other words, if you’re trying to do the electronic version of shredding documents, this trick won’t help you.  But that’s a whole other discussion.)

Safely (and permanently) deleting email

Once you decide that something in your Inbox needs to be gone, here’s how you skip over the Deleted Items folder entirely:

  • First, before you even single-click on the offending email, be sure you’ve turned off AutoPreview (the feature that allows you to see the first couple of lines directly beneath each message’s header information) and the Preview Pane (the feature that shows a window at the bottom or side of your Inbox to allow you to scroll through the message without opening it).  Even a preview of the email, without actually opening it in a new window, may trigger malware that’s included with the email.  Look for these buttons on your toolbar:
Outlook Auto Preview button

Auto Preview

Outlook Preview Pane button

Preview Pane

  • Make sure both buttons are “de-selected” and you cannot see any of the actual message content in your Inbox.  (You should still be able to see the From, Date, etc. information.)
  • Once you’re turned off any preview features, then you can safely select the message with a single click. Once the message is selected, hold down the SHIFT key and press DELETE.  That’s Shift-Delete, simultaneously, to permanently delete the message.  (You may be asked to confirm that you want to permanently delete the message.)

That’s it!  That message is outtahere!

How Out of Office can keep the judge off your case

You know, I love electronic court filing and noticing as much as the next person. Trouble is, now that nearly everyone’s gone electronic, everybody also assumes that everybody else sees everything immediately. But it ain’t necessarily so.

Witness, for example, the pickle one attorney landed in recently. Seems he had a death in the family, followed immediately by a trip to the emergency room to check out his chest pains.

And while all this was going on, the court e-noticed two hearings for his client … which said attorney failed to show up for.

Oops.

In the Age of the Crackberry in which everybody expects you to be endlessly available, it’s important to let email senders know when you’re not reachable by email.  That’s where Outlook’s Out of Office feature comes in handy.

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43 Video: Configuring Rules in Microsoft Outlook to automate message handling

Getting a headache from all that Inbox overload?  Chances are, almost half of those incoming emails can be handled automatically.

Think I'm joking?  Take a look at what's come in today, and I'll show you what I mean. Out of the messages you've already received today, there are probably several that meet these criteria:

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2 How to redirect a reply in Outlook

Say you're the chair for a bar association program, so you're sending out personalized email invitations to your fellow members.  However, your assistant is handling the RSVPs.  How do you send your email so that (a) your assistant gets the RSVPs (not you) and (b) recipients don't accidentally reply to the entire list and cause everyone's inbox to melt down?

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