Quick Steps for Outlook Email Management

With the high volume of emails most Outlook users receive, managing what happens to an email after it arrives in your inbox can become a time consuming chore. There are also a lot of email tasks that are on the sending side, like quickly forwarding messages to your manager or having to send out a lot of messages to the same group of people over and over again.

In this blog I’d like to introduce you to a feature in Outlook that could help you reduce the amount of time you spend on repetitive steps. Quick Steps was introduced in Outlook 2010 and is also available in Outlook 2013.

Outlook Email – What are Quick Steps?

First of all, what are Quick Steps? As the name implies, Quick Steps are command buttons that perform a specific set of actions with only one click of the mouse. A quick step may only contain one action, but they can also contain sequences of actions that otherwise would require multiple clicks.

Let’s take a look at where you can find Quick Steps and some examples of how to take advantage of this feature.

Quick Steps are easy to find. They are located in their own group on the Home Tab of the Outlook Mail window:

Directions-Training-Blog-Quick-Steps-Outlook-EmailLet’s take a closer look at this group of command buttons:

Directions-Training-Blog-Quick-Steps-Outlook-Email-1

If you haven’t used any of these buttons before you will see six default Quick Steps in the gallery:

  • Move to:? – move an item in your Inbox to a specific folder
  • Team Email – send a message to a pre-defined group of recipients
  • Reply & Delete – open up a Reply To window, then Delete the original message as soon you finish sending the reply
  • To Manager – forward the selected message to your manager without the need to type in your manager’s email address
  • Done – mark a Task as complete
  • Create New – create your own Quick Step

Outlook Email – What can Quick Steps Do?

Let’s first take a look at some of these default Quick Steps. With the exception of Reply & Delete, these Quick Steps require a one-time only configuration. I’ll use the example of the Move to:? Quick step.

Move to: ?

When you click this button for the first time you simply have to specify which folder you would like an item moved to, and you can also rename the Quick Step to reflect the location where the item will be moved:

Directions-Training-Blog-Quick-Steps-Outlook-Email-2

In this example, I have a folder named “My Folder” where I want items to be placed. I would rename the Quick step to match the name of the folder and then choose the folder location from the drop-down box as illustrated below:

Directions-Training-Blog-Quick-Steps-Outlook-Email-3When I click the Save button, I now have a command button in my Quick Steps gallery that allows me to move one or more selected items in my inbox directly into the folder I want. No more clicking and dragging required!

Directions-Training-Blog-Quick-Steps-Outlook-Email-4

Team Email

The other default Quick Steps would have a similar First Time Setup, like the Team Email where all I’d have to do is specify a list of recipients once, and then be able to address an email to all of these recipients without ever having to type a single email address:

Directions-Training-Blog-Quick-Steps-Outlook-Email-6

Create Your Own Quick Step

But I’m not limited to only the 5 default Quick Steps provided, I can create my own, too. The Quick Steps I create can automate multiple my Outlook actions. Let’s say I’m working on a project and I’ve set up a folder to hold all of my project related emails. But when I get a message about the project I always want to forward the message to my team, mark the message as read and assign it to a Category related to my project.

If I click the Quick Step labeled “Create New,” I simply specify the first action and then add as many steps as I need:

Directions-Training-Blog-Quick-Steps-Outlook-Email-7

After I click Finish, I’ll now have a command button that will perform all of these actions to any message I choose with one click of the mouse.

If you want to make yourself more efficient in handling your Outlook Emails all it takes is some Quick Steps!

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