The Indiana Lawyer recently published my article on Microsoft Outlook’s Quick Steps feature. Quick Steps are great tools you can use to handle emails that need standard responses or actions that you often take with an email message.

From the article, here are three suggested Microsoft Outlook Quick Steps:

Quick Step 1

First, “To My Assistant.” Open Manage Quick Steps. Click New | Forward to. Click Options and name the Quick Step. Select the recipient(s) from your Outlook contacts or type the email address. Click Show Options and set the subject and other options as appropriate. The “Text” option can contain standard instructions for handling specific tasks (e.g., please file this; please respond; please set a meeting; please add to calendar; etc.) You can choose to automatically send the message or have Outlook prepare an email for you to send. Add the same “mark as read” and “move to” actions as above, and you’ve just handled multiple steps with one click.

Quick Step 2

Second, “To Read.” How many email newsletters do you receive that don’t require immediate action, but stay in your inbox because you want to get back to them? For this action, create a subfolder called “To Read.” Then, create a Quick Step to “Flag and Move.” Choose an appropriate flag and subfolder. Now, you can mark any message you want to read later in one click. If you change the “View” of Outlook to include your To-Do bar, messages marked for later reading appear for easy access.

Quick Step 3

Third, “Follow Up.” Many lawyers keep emails as a list of follow-up actions. Instead, use a Quick Step to file the message and apply a follow-up flag as a reminder. Select the first Quick Step you created and duplicate that Quick Step. Then, add a flag message action, choosing your preferred follow-up period. The messages for follow up appear in your To-Do pane.


Microsoft Outlook’s Quick Steps are great tools to improve your email productivity. What are some of your favorite uses of Microsoft Outlook Quick Steps? Post them in the comments!

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