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Use Outlook 2010 Quick Steps to Organize Email Better and Faster

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Have you ever had the experience that you had to follow 10 steps over and over again every time when you need to nicely forward an important email to your manager? Fear no more! With the help of the Quick Steps feature in Outlook 2010, your old chore can be simplified as easy as one single click.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 introduced a new feature called "Quick Steps" that allows user to predefine a series of actions that user would like to perform on an email. If you are familiar with the Outlook Rules, you can think of the Quick Steps as the Rules with flexibility and user interaction for automating email process. It is extremely helpful when you are dealing with repetitive email process yet would like to review the email content before initiating the automated process. For example, if you receive a request from a customer and the request requires your manager’s attention, so you need to forward it to your manager. Before Outlook 2010, it takes several steps to accomplish this simple task:

   1. Click “Forward” button
   2. Type in your manager’s email (hopefully you still remember your manager’s email address, or you can still correctly spell his/her full name)
   3. Type in your message explain why you forward this email
   4. If this email is very important, set email Importance to High
   5. Click “Send
   6. Mark the original message as Read
   7. Drag and drop the email to “Forwarded To Manager” folder

Now, let’s see how Quick Steps can simplify the above tedious task. After you install Outlook 2010, you will notice there is already a Quick Step called To Manager, so you can click Manage Quick Steps icon to edit this Quick Step.
 Outlook2010-QuickSteps-ToManager.jpg
 Outlook2010-QuickSteps-ToManager.jpg

Select “To Manager” from the Quick step list on the left, then click Edit button.
 Outlook2010-QuickSteps-ToManager.jpg

You can change the Quick Step’s name, but I will leave it as To Manager.

This built-in step’s first action is “Forward”, and I will also leave it unchanged.

Then type in your manager’s email address in the To field. You can click “Show Options” link underneath the To field for more options, for example, set Importance to High.

Now, click Add Action button, and choose Mark as read from the action drop down list. Click Add Action button again and choose Move to folder from the action list, then choose a destination folder. You can repeat this step to add more actions if you need to.
 Outlook2010-QuickSteps-ToManager.jpg

Finally, you can define a shortcut key for this quick step from the Shortcut key drop down list, say CTRL+SHIFT+1.
 Outlook2010-QuickSteps-ToManager.jpg
Now click Save button to save the quick step. Let’s see how many steps it takes to accomplish the same task as before:

   1. Select the message and click To Manager from the Quick Steps option (or use shortcut key CTRL+SHIFT+1), and you will notice that the standard email forward window will load up with your manager’s email address populated and importance set to High
   2. Type in your message and click Send

You are done! Only two steps, and Outlook will handle the rest based on your predefined actions. As you already see, if a task on an email requires a lot of steps and actions, then the Quick Step feature can great simplify the process and make your life easy.

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