applied tips : january 2009

microsoft outlook : follow-up on emails you've sent

When sending an email, it's useful to be reminded to follow-up. Perhaps we want to check back with our recipient in a few days to see if they received the message, or we just want a way to remind ourselves that a deadline has passed.

In Outlook 2003 and 2007, messages can be flagged for follow-up so that they can be easily found later when searching for flagged messages.  These messages can then be "Completed" like a task.

While you are composing your message, flag it by clicking the Flag icon in the toolbar.

In Outlook 2003, the "Flag for Follow Up" window will appear.  You can just click OK or you can specify a due date and time. When you send this message, it will appear flagged in your Sent Items folder.

In Outlook 2007, the Flag menu will open allowing you to set a date for follow-up. Chose from options like "Tomorrow" or "Next Week", or specify an exact date using "Custom".

You can also "Add Reminder" which will not only flag the message but trigger a pop-up alert at the time and date of your choosing.

In Outlook 2003, it's important to understand that this feature does not flag the email in the recipient's inbox, or create a reminder alarm for you or the recipient.

Displaying Flagged Emails

In Outlook 2003, you can view a list of all currently flagged items by opening the "For Follow-Up" Search Folder shown on the left side of the main screen under "All Mail Folders".

In Outlook 2007, you can view a list of all currently flagged items anywhere that Tasks and To-Do items are displayed. For example, turn the To Do bar on while viewing your Inbox (from the View menu, then To Do Bar, then Normal).

Don't forget to eventually complete a flagged email or they will pile up! To complete a flagged email, just click once on the flag. For additional options, you can right-click the flag.

Flagging an Email for Others

Users of Outlook 2007 enjoy a feature that enables the sender of a message to automatically flag that message for follow-up in the recipient's inbox.

From the "Follow-Up" pull down menu discussed earlier and shown above, choose "Flag for Recipients" to open the Custom dialog box.

Confirm that "Flag for Recipients" is checked, and optionally specify a type of flag (such as "Follow Up") or a Reminder date and time.

When your recipient sees the email in their Inbox, it will automatically be flagged and have a reminder alert if you specified one.

This feature may not work if the recipient does not use Outlook 2007.

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