How to take control of your email

Story contributed by BNCC member Chris Jeffery, Proprietor/Chief Guru of CyberGuru

These days we all struggle with the sheer volume of emails in our inboxes. Thankfully there are certain tools to help us manage this problem. Here we discuss three tools to help you take control of your email.

Firstly, Microsoft have introduced the Clutter folder to Outlook 2013 and 2016. The Clutter folder is where low priority messages are automatically sent. Outlook filters out these messages by looking at information such as the sender, whether you’ve previously corresponded with the email address and the importance of the message. It will never send emails from yourself, your management chain or your direct reports to the Clutter folder.

Similar to the Junk Mail folder, you can move messages to and from the Clutter folder and Outlook will remember this for next time. This feature is enabled by default and if you wish to opt out must be manually turned off.

The Clutter folder is only available to those with an Office 365 subscription. This is one of several new features that will only be available to Office 365 users as they come online.

Secondly, there is a Rules tool that helps to reduce manual filing or taking the same action when similar messages arrive. Once created, rules are always turned on and run automatically. For example, if you regularly receive electronic receipts from PayPal for your online shopping you can create a rule that all receipts go into a particular folder so you can reconcile your account at the end of the month.

Rules can also alert you about important emails. For example, you could create a rule that whenever you receive an email from your partner it sends a message to your mobile so you don’t miss it. Unlike the Clutter folder the Rules tool is available to all Outlook users. Further information on how to create, delete, import or export rules can be found on Microsoft’s Office Support page here: Manage email messages by using rules.

Thirdly, there is the Junk folder. We’ve all used it at some stage. We’ve finally gotten sick of whichever particular organisation has been spamming our inbox and we mark it as “Junk”. This is an effective way of removing unwanted emails from the Inbox and gives you the option to see what they have sent you should you want to review them before they are deleted.

From a security standpoint though this does nothing to secure your details online. If you’ve previously made an online purchase from this company, they may hold your credit card details as a matter of company policy. If you are certain you want no further contact with them then it is worth spending the extra few minutes to unsubscribe or delete your online account with the company. Because when government departments, banks, large corporations and even local websites like Gumtree have all recently been hacked and account details stolen, how do you know a website you have an account with won’t be next?

Under the Spam Act 2003, every commercial electronic message (including an email) sent must contain an “unsubscribe” link, allowing the receiver to remove themselves from a mailing list should they choose to do so. This can be used to tell the sender they do not wish to receive messages.

If you would like help with any of these tools, please contact us to discuss this.

CyberGuru can upgrade you to Office 2016 or Office 365 if you wish to access the new features. We also provide training to help you make the most of your Office environment, no matter which version of Office you use.

Chris Jeffery is Proprietor/Chief Guru of CyberGuru. CyberGuru provides award-winning, professional and affordable computer solutions to small businesses, not-for-profit organisations and individuals in consulting, design, support and training.

Chris works with clients to enable and empower them to get the most out of their technology. Further details on CyberGuru can be found on his website at http://www.cyberguru.com.au.

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