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How to automatically organise your business emails in Microsoft Outlook

A quick guide to setting up your inbox so it automatically sorts all your business's emails into relevant folders, helping you keep on top of your messages.

When you're running a business, it’s easy to get bogged down by all the e-mails you receive. With suppliers, customers and colleagues all vying for your attention – not to mention the reams of e-newsletters and marketing circulars that seem impossible to avoid – it's easy to lose track of the more important messages sitting in your inbox.  

The good news is that there's a simple way to automatically order your emails into their own dedicated folders – and it only takes a few clicks. It's a great tactic to streamline your work flow and make your life that little bit easier, as your emails will start sorting themselves based on who they're from or what they're about – here’s a quick step-by-step guide to how it's done.

Step 1:

Open Outlook. For this guide we'll be using Outlook 2013.

Microsoft Outlook in a navigation bar

Step 2:

Select an e-mail from the sender whose messages you want to automatically file in a particular sub folder. For this example we will choose to place all emails from our supplier ‘Sun Items Plc’ into one manageable folder.

Microsoft Outlook screen grab

Step 3:

With the email from Sun Items Plc selected, go to the Home tab and select Rules.

Microsoft Outlook screengrab

Step 4:

Click Create Rule.

Microsoft Outlook screengrab

Step 5:

Tick the box which says From (sender). In this case it's From Sun Items Plc, and by ticking this you'll ensure all emails you recieve from Sun Items Plc automatically go into the new folder you're about to create.

Microsoft Outlook screengrab

Step 6:

If the Sent to: me only option is selected, then only emails sent with your address in the To field will be filtered - not those in which your address is in the CC or BCC fields.

Microsoft Outlook screengrab

Step 7:

Tick the Move the item to folder option.

Microsoft Outlook screengrab

Step 8:

Click Select folder, followed by new, and then name your new folder. In this instance we'll call it Sun Items Plc. Finally, click OK.

Microsoft Outlook screengrab

In future you will find that all e-mails sent directly to you from Sun Items Plc will automatically be neatly organised in a sub folder below your Inbox tab. Easy.

What's next?

Simply repeat the above steps with all the people, suppliers or friends you regularly receive emails from to ensure they all get filed in a similar way.

As you create your rules, you'll also find that you've got the option to sort emails based on their subject, which can be useful if someone frequently sends you emails on a specific topic.

Keeping your inbox organised can help you focus on the real task at hand – running a business. When every email has its own category you'll save yourself plenty of time and stress, with your folders making it easy to find that old e-mail.

Organise away!

Image source: Rahul Rodriguez on Flickr

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