Once you have two of them, they multiply and multiply until finally, you have an Inbox that is packed, leaving you to hunt and scroll for the ones that are REALLY important, the ones that are somewhat important and the ones you absolutely don’t even want to open. The downside is that the scrolling technique will invariably lead to you missing the one email that you really couldn’t afford to miss. That could lead to sticky conversations that start out, “Why did you miss my birthday dinner?” or “Why didn’t you show up at your annual employee evaluation?”
But fear not — there is a minor fix you can employ if you’re using Outlook 2011 for Macs, and it will make it easier for you to sift through your email more efficiently. The key is to create a separate folder for all your unread email, so that as you read the important ones that you’ve spotted, you have a separate place that collects everything you haven’t read yet. It keeps the format of your primary inbox intact, while at the same time giving you an alternative place to scroll through unread emails and categorize them.
If you look at your normal outlook display for your Inbox. If you look in the lower left hand corner of the left hand column of options and scroll down, there is a section called “Smart Folders.” There will already be options for Flagged Mail, High Priority Email and Overdue Mail. However, there is no folder for Unread Mail. You want to create a folder for Unread Mail in that section.
To do that, first go to the “search this folder” function on the upper left, and click inside it. You will see a new ribbon open up across the top of the screen, displaying a few different search options. You want to indicate ALL MAIL, and then you want to go to the advanced button and click in the ITEMS CONTAINING drop down menu on the ribbon and then click on the “read status” item on the list. This will show me all my unread email. Now all I have to do is click SAVE in the upper right part of the ribbon, and it will automatically create a Smart Folder for those items. Now simply title the folder UNREAD MAIL, and you’re all set. Now, Outlook will automatically take all your unread email and place it in that folder.
Now, as you open and answer your email, you won’t have to scroll through your main inbox to examine all your unread mail as it is mixed in with the read mail. You can simply go to your Smart Folder marked Unread Mail, and scroll through that shorter list.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of emails still to answer, and many more to delete.