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Process Email Faster With Outlook Quick Steps

By Danielle DavisRoe

Microsoft Outlook for Legal Professionals

Most attorneys agree: Keeping up with email is a full-time job in and of itself. Processing email faster is the key to getting out of your inbox and back to work. Quick Steps, available in Outlook’s Windows desktop application, can save you time when it comes to routine tasks. Here’s how to set up workflows with Quick Steps, adapted from Affinity Consulting Group’s “Microsoft Outlook for Legal Professionals.”

Introduction to Quick Steps

The Quick Steps feature allows you to launch a workflow of steps with a single button click. With Quick Steps, you can automate:

  • Moving emails to folders
  • Copying emails to folders
  • Deleting emails (moving them to your deleted items folder)
  • Permanently deleting emails (skipping the deleted items folder)
  • Marking emails as read or unread
  • Setting the importance level of an email
  • Applying categories to emails
  • Clearing categories from emails
  • Flagging emails
  • Clearing flags from emails
  • Marking emails as complete
  • Creating tasks based on emails
  • Responding to emails with new messages, forwards, replies, reply alls, or meetings
  • Creating meetings and appointments based on emails
  • Setting conversations to always be moved or ignored

While creating a Quick Step that accomplishes any one of those tasks can be helpful, the real power comes from building workflows that incorporate multiple steps. For example, if you frequently delegate work to the same person, you can build a quick step that forwards the email, marks the email as read, applies the client category, and moves the email to a delegated items folder.

Creating Quick Steps

Quick Steps are found on the mail home ribbon in the Quick Steps group. Quick Steps are not available for calendars, tasks, people, notes or folders. Here’s how to create a new Quick Step:

  1. Click on the Create New button in the Quick Step gallery.
  2. Give your Quick Step a concise name that is meaningful to you. When you apply your Quick Step, you’ll identify it by its name.
  3. Then, select the first action in your workflow.
  4. Some actions will need additional information, such as the folder to move the email to or the Category to apply.
  5. After setting up your first action, click on the box to add additional actions to stack each step of your workflow together.
  6. Consider adding a shortcut key to activate your Quick Step faster.

Using Quick Steps

Once you set up your Quick Step, it’s time to use it. Either click on the name of the Quick Step in the Quick Step gallery or use the keyboard shortcut you assigned when creating the Quick Step.

Example Quick Step: Delegating Emails

  1. On the Home ribbon, in the Quick Steps group, click on Create New.

  1. Name your quick step.

Step 1: Forward the Email

  1. Under Choose an Action, select Forward.
  2. In the To field, enter the email addresses of the recipients.
  3. Click on Show Options.
  4. Add cc or bcc addresses, change the subject, set a flag, or mark the importance, if desired.
  5. Add default text to the body of your email (if desired) using the Text field.
  6. To automatically send the email, check the box to Automatically send after a one-minute delay. If you do not check this box, the forward will open. You will have the opportunity to change the email recipients or text, but you must click send to forward the email.

Step Two: Mark the Email as Read

  1. To mark the original email as read, click on the Add Action button.
  2. Under Choose an Action, select Mark as Read.

Step Three: Apply the Client Category

  1. To apply the client category to the original email, click on the Add Action button.
  2. Under Choose an Action, select Categorize Message.
  3. Select the Category to be applied.

Step Four: Move the Email

  1. Finally, to move the original email to a specific folder, click on the Add Action button.
  2. Under Choose an Action, select Move to a Folder.
  3. Under Choose Folder, select the desired folder.
  4. Click Finish.

Learn more tricks like this in Affinity Consulting Group’s “Microsoft Outlook for Legal Professionals.”

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About Affinity Consulting Group

Affinity Consulting Group inspires, enables, and empowers legal teams of all sizes to work smarter, from anywhere. The company’s holistic approach incorporates people, process, and technology. Affinity’s passionate, well-connected industry experts work hand in hand with you to help you better understand and optimize your business — from software to growth strategy, and everything in between.

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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Danielle Danielle DavisRoe

Danielle DavisRoe is a senior consultant with Affinity Consulting Group (@affinitylegal). Whether it’s teaching clients a new skill through training, speaking at CLE events, or management consulting, Danielle is 100% focused on making the lives of her clients better. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

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