In Outlook 2016, when you hover your mouse over a particular message in any folder, you’ll notice an outline of a flag icon. However, if your email is set up with the IMAP protocol rather than POP3 or Exchange Server, your options for flagging a message for follow-up are limited. You can still flag messages, but there aren’t any options for reminders for yourself or your recipients.
Here’s a method for setting up reminders that works regardless of how your email account is set up.
How to Set Reminders by Turning Outlook Emails into Tasks
Simply select the email you want to be reminded of, then hold down the right mouse button (not the left one you normally click with) and drag the message down to Tasks. Release the mouse button, and you’ll be presented with three choices:
- Copy as Task with Text. This leaves the original email in your Inbox or other folder and embeds the text of the email in a new Task. If you were to use the left mouse button to drag your email to the Tasks folder, this is the default.
- Copy as Task with Attachment. This leaves the original email in your Inbox or other folder and embeds the email in your new Task as an attachment. This choice is particularly useful if the original email has attachments itself that you’d want to be able to open and view from the Task.
- Move as Task with Attachment. This embeds the email into your new Task just like the previous choice, except it does not leave the original email in your Inbox or other folders.
Pick one, and a new Task item opens. You can manage this like a calendar item: Set a start and end or due date and a reminder, note the status and priority, and even assign it to someone else in your workgroup.
One advantage of turning emails into tasks is that it gives you somewhere to keep notes on your progress — whom you called, what follow-up you need to do and so on.
Track To-Dos in Your Inbox
Regardless of which method you use to follow up on your emails, they’ll show up on your To-Do List within the Tasks folder. For even easier access, you can open a To-Do bar from the View tab in your email view and in your calendar view.
Turning emails into Tasks can help you keep track of all those requests flying back and forth and allow you to unclutter your inbox for better focus.