Custom outlook filters
11 September 2015, by Chris Arnott
Outlook is both a blessing and a curse. A recent post by the BBC suggests that receiving too many emails can damage one’s productivity. The extremist response here would be to ban internal e-mails, but realistically that’s probably not a very achievable solution. So is there anything you can do to help you wade through the information that’s being piped into your inbox? We think so, and the answer is outlook filters.
What follows are two simple outlook tricks to keeping the emails in your inbox to a minimum and they could make sorting your actions a much speedier process.
The first trick is hiding flagged emails from your inbox. This could help you achieve the elusive inbox zero. There are actually a couple of ways to do this.
The first (more user friendly) method involves setting an advanced filter, like so:
View > View Settings > Filter > Advanced >
Flag Status : equals : Unflagged
Flag Status : equals : Completed
There’s an implicit “OR” in the above which outlook doesn’t tell you about, but the result is that flagging an item in your inbox will add it to your Task list, and hide it from your inbox (once you’ve finished, marking it as complete will return it to your inbox for filing away).
If you want the slightly more involved option, you’ll need to go:
View > View Settings > Filter > SQL >
Check “Edit these criteria directly.”
Enter the following SQL:
“http://schemas.microsoft.com/mapi/proptag/0x10900003″ <= 1
OR “http://schemas.microsoft.com/mapi/proptag/0x10900003″ IS NULL
But we’re not done yet! Lets add an outlook rule to remove less urgent emails from our inbox.
Home > Rules > Create Rule > Advanced Options
Click Next (as we want it to apply to all our emails).
Next check “move it to a specified folder” and on the bottom box, specify the folder you want to use, then click next.
On the final screen check “except where my name is in the To or CC box” (there’s a To line only version if you get cc’d on lots of things).
Brilliant. Now you’ve got a secondary inbox that will include lower priority emails. You can check it less often, and also file the emails in it more quickly as they are less likely to contain something important for you to do.
These two tricks should help you keep your inbox at a much more manageable level, they’ll prove especially helpful if you decided to try out Matthew’s approach to a ToDo list on our previous post.