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Tips to Organise your Outlook

Microsoft Outlook has a specific feature to help you to clean up your Outlook folders

Even for the most organised person, at some point of the year we tend to lose control of our Outlook folders or our inbox. Usually all associates with workload, busy schedule, and the huge amount of email that we get every day. To help in the boring task of organising Outlook folders you can use the Conversation Clean Up tool.

The Conversation Clean Up feature in Outlook can reduce the number of messages in your mail folders. Redundant messages throughout a conversation are moved to the deleted Items folder.

Firstly, a little bit of context of what the term conversation means from a Microsoft and Outlook perspective. A conversation is the complete set of email messages from the first message through all responses. The messages of a conversation have the same subject. For example, when you send a message to someone and then they reply, a conversation results. In many conversations, there might be many replies back and forth. Multiple people might reply to different messages in the conversation and it’s here that things start to get complicated and we tend to lose control of our organisational methods.

What Exactly Conversation Clean Up do?

The method is safe because the tool evaluates the content of each message in that conversation and will just delete the ones that are redundant. For example, Jeff sends a message to Anne and Tim. Anne replies to both Jeff and Tim and in her Outlook message body, Jeff’s complete original message is included. Now, Tim sees Anne’s message and replies to both Jeff and Anne. Tim’s reply includes all of the previous messages in the conversation. Conversation Clean Up can delete all the messages except the last one from Tim because within that message is a copy of all of the previous emails.

How to Remove Redundant Messages

See below step by step of how to use the Conversation Clean Up tool.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Delete group, click Clean Up.
  2. You will have 3 options and must choose one of the following:
  • Clean Up Conversation - The current conversation is reviewed, and redundant messages are deleted.
  • Clean Up Folder - All conversations in the selected folder are reviewed, and redundant messages are deleted.
  • Clean Up Folder & Subfolders - All conversations in the selected folder and any folder that it contains are reviewed, and redundant messages are deleted.

How to Change Settings in the Clean Up tool

If you are not happy with the options that by default Outlook provide, you can set up your own options for Conversation Clean Up. You can specify which messages are excepted from Clean Up and where the deleted messages should be moved.

Click File tab – OptionsMailUnder Conversation Clean Up, do any of the following:

To change the deleted message’s destination

To change where items are moved, for Cleaned-up items will go to this folder, click Browse, and then select an Outlook folder. By default, messages are moved to the Deleted Items folder. If you have multiple email accounts in your Outlook profile, each account has its own Deleted Items folder. Messages are moved to the Deleted Items folder that corresponds to the email account.

To replicate the folder structure of items, Clean Up deletes (when you use the Clean Up Folders & Subfolders command), select When cleaning sub-folders, recreate the folder hierarchy in the destination folder.

You can opt for not moving unread messages. We don’t recommend using this option, because the remaining conversation will contain any messages that are deleted, such as the those you might not have read.

It’s recommended to keep categorised messages, to do it select the option Don’t move categorised messages. Categories apply to specific messages and deleting a them would result in the loss of the categorised message. The same occurs to flagged messages, to always keep them you can select the option Don’t move flagged messages.

You can also select the option don’t move digitally-signed messages and the option for keeping the original messages. To do it you must select the option When a reply modifies a message, don’t move the original. This option makes sure that you have a record of all content of the conversation in the event someone alters a message.

After applying these options, you will see your Outlook folders better organised and you will have more spare time for work that matters.

Microsoft Outlook Training

At New Horizons Ireland we provide a wide range of IT courses, including Microsoft Outlook. We also have plenty of modalities to accommodate your needs. They can be done in our office in Dublin City Centre, instructor led or at your companies’ premises on the dates that suits your team. New Horizons Ireland also have the option to attend the courses in the Online live modality, which is online, but there is live because there is a real instructor leading the class. Talk to one of our Account Managers to choose the best option for you.

* The article above is based in the information provided by Microsoft here.

** Image from Rawpixel free copyright.

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