Microsoft’s website states that the average Outlook.com customer receives 10,000 emails in a year and 80% of that will be newsletters and advertisements that clutter a user’s inbox. On January 16, 2014 Microsoft announced that it was celebrating “National Clean Out Your Inbox Week’ by dedicating time to help users de-clutter their email. Besides updating its ‘Sweep to Delete’ feature, Outlook has also upgraded ways to categorize and search for messages.
Sweep to Delete
The Sweep to Delete feature helps users get rid of the emails they don’t want in bulk. This makes it easier to delete or block a large number of emails at once. This feature seems to be a favorite for Outlook customers- it is used over 7.5 million times a week. To make the tool simpler, Microsoft has updated it to require less clicks to use.
Organize by Categories
Many emails need to be saved for future reference. In order to keep track of important emails, Outlook allows you to create categories to store emails. Outlook provides users with a set of default categories based on the most common types of emails. However users can also easily create new categories based on their specific inbox activity. The user can select an email and use the “Categories” option in the top navigation bar. Once the user has created a category, they can automatically categorize all email from a specific sender in four clicks: click “Categories”, click the category name, click “Apply to all from…” and then click “Categorize all”.
Find with Search and then Archive
The updated Search tool is used to quickly find email regardless of the category or folder it’s in. The tool can also be used to look for contacts. Searching for a contact will find all email messages from any address they have, so the user doesn’t have to remember whether the email came from their personal address or their work address.
Outlook has also provided suggested search criteria for the type of email the user may be looking for (e.g. “and has an attachment”). The advanced search now contains more search criteria and has cleaner filters that can be applied to the search results.
Archiving messages has also become easier as well. Entire email categories can be archived with a few simple clicks.
Set up Automatic Filing
Users can also create folders and set up automatic rules that will send future email directly to a specific folder. The “Move to” feature gives the user the option to “Move all email from…” which can save time and the trouble of clicking each email from a sender individually.
Use Instant Actions and Keyboard shortcuts
To quickly get through most common inbox tasks, Outlook.com has instant actions. These small buttons appear when a user hovers over an email. From there, users can delete, flag, or mark emails as unread. Users can also create their own instant actions to fit their needs.
Outlook.com has also improved keyboard access and keyboard shortcuts. To see all of the Outlook.com keyboard shortcuts, press the “?” key.