Posey's Tips & Tricks

My Two Favorite Features in the New Outlook

Pinning and snoozing emails might not sound revolutionary, but they have been very appreciated in my life.

Pinning and snoozing emails might not sound revolutionary, but they have been very appreciated in my life.

By: Brien M. Posey

Although Microsoft has been previewing the new Outlook for a while, I am still on the fence as to whether I like it or if I prefer the old Outlook interface that we have had for years. Apparently, I am in the minority though. Most of the people that I have talked to about the new Outlook seem to either really love it, or really hate it. There isn't much in between. For me though, there are definitely some things that I don't like about the new Outlook, but there are some things that I think Microsoft has gotten right. In fact, there are two new features that I absolutely love, though at least one of these features has been available on Outlook Mobile for a while.

Snooze for Email
The first of the new features that I really like is a snooze option for email. The idea behind this feature is that important messages often arrive at inopportune times and the snooze feature makes it easier to deal with such messages on your own terms.

Let me explain why this is such a great feature. Like everyone else, I have periods of time when I am insanely busy. I do try to stay caught up on my email during these busy times, but if a message requires more than just a quick response, I will usually mark the message as unread so that I can go back and revisit it later on. Most of the time this method seems to work out fine, but there have been times when for whatever reason a message does not retain its "unread" status, thereby resulting in me never following up on the message. I have also occasionally marked a message as unread and gone back to look at it a few days later only to realize that I didn't respond by the time that the sender needed me to.

Outlook's snooze feature solves this problem beautifully. When you snooze an email, the message disappears from your Inbox and then reappears as a new message at a time of your choosing.

To snooze a message, you need only to select the message and then click on the clock icon in the Outlook taskbar. Next, you just have to choose when you want the message to reappear. You can opt to see the message later today, tomorrow, this weekend, next week, or you can choose a specific date.

The first time that I heard about the Snooze feature, I wondered what would happen if you accidentally snoozed the wrong message. Suppose for example, that I had a really important message that I needed to respond to and accidentally snoozed it instead of snoozing the less important message that I had intended to snooze. As it turns out, accidental snoozes aren't a problem after all.

When you snooze a message, that message is placed into a folder called Snoozed. You can access this folder at any time and you can move a snoozed message back to your Inbox if necessary.

Pin an Email
Another new feature that I really like is the ability to pin an email. Granted, this is not a feature that I can see myself using every day. Even so, I have absolutely no doubt that I will be using it on a semi-regular basis.

The idea behind pinning an email is simple. If you have an important message that you don't want to have to go looking for, you can pin it to the top of your Inbox. All you have to do is to select the message and click the Pin icon. The message will instantly be moved to the top of the Inbox (or any other folder) and it will stay there until you unpin it.

So why do I love this feature so much? Let me give you an example. A few days ago, I went to a hardware store and placed an order to have some work done on a family member's home. As luck would have it, the order got messed up. I repeatedly had to refer to the confirmation email as I worked to get the issue resolved. Being able to pin the order confirmation to the top of my Inbox meant that I didn't keep having to go looking for the message. And of course, once the issue was finally resolved, I simply removed the pin and the message went back to its normal place within my Inbox.

About the Author

Brien Posey is a 22-time Microsoft MVP with decades of IT experience. As a freelance writer, Posey has written thousands of articles and contributed to several dozen books on a wide variety of IT topics. Prior to going freelance, Posey was a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and health care facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the country's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox. In addition to his continued work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years actively training as a commercial scientist-astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space. You can follow his spaceflight training on his Web site.


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