Email is an essential tool for sharing information. Due to poor email practices, email can become overwhelming and productivity suffers. Adapting email best practices at work can help.
Use the Outlook app on all of your devices to get the best experience.
- For departmentally distributed computers, contact your unit IT support to obtain Microsoft Office, which includes Outlook
- For personal computers, you can download Microsoft Office from W-Exchange
- Set up the Outlook app on iOS
- Set up the Outlook app on Android
Keeping your inbox organized
Check out Microsoft's tips on Organizing your Inbox. There are many tips for deleting, archiving, moving, sorting, and filtering.
It is helpful to create folders to store related emails. Folders can be used to store emails from an important sender, organize emails related to a project, or keeping personal emails separate.
Marking emails as junk in Outlook will train the spam filter. If you get an unsolicited email, mark it as junk instead of simply deleting it. You can also unsubscribe from many of these types of messages. The link to unsubscribe is generally located in the fine print at the bottom of email messages. Messages can also be blocked or allowed based on the sender's email address.
You can use rules to filter out unimportant emails, like those from mailing lists or marketing campaigns. Rules can be created to filter based on an email's subject, the from address, or any other message attributes. Most marketing and mailing list emails can be filtered by creating a rule to filter messages using the word unsubscribe.
Focused Inbox works with you to prioritize what's most important. What lands in Focused Inbox is based on the content of the email (e.g., newsletters, machine-generated email, and so on) and who you interact with most often. If you need to fine-tune your Focused Inbox, Move to Focused and Move to Other options are available to do that.
Things to Keep in Mind...
When Composing an Email
- Are you sending an email to a large number of people, such as a mass email list? Consider using the BCC field to avoid recipient use of the Reply All feature.
When Replying to an Email
- Remember that you do not need to respond to everything. If it isn't meaningful and actionable or relevant, skip hitting the reply button.
- Mind the "Reply all." Do not use it unless everyone on the email chain needs to be included.
- Be aware of phishing attempts. Do not reply to any email requesting your personal information, or linking to a page requesting entry of your personal information. Learn more about Phishing.
When Sending Attachments
- Let the recipient know in the email what you are sending and why.
- Ensure that the file is actually attached.
- Provide logical file names to your attachments.
- Avoid unnecessarily large file sizes. If you must send large files consider sharing them from your OneDrive instead.
When you are Away From the Office or Busy
- Use the Outlook feature "send automatic replies" to let those who send you email know you are not available.
- Use the Outlook calendar feature to post your appointments and/or busy times. This will allow those trying to schedule a meeting with you know you are or are not available.
Email is Not Private: What Should Not Be Sent Via Email
- Do not send personal, confidential or sensitive data, whether yours or someone else's. This includes personal academic information (e.g. grades, schedule information, etc.) and medical information (e.g. DSS accommodations, diagnoses, medical documents, etc.). Be aware of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines for electronic communication where appropriate.
- Do not send credit card or other account information (e.g. usernames, passwords).
- Do not send anything you would not want broadcast to the world. Emails may be forwarded, posted to social media and/or read by unintended people.
- Your email is a reflection of you. Check for typos and other mistakes before sending.