We all use email to communicate with our staff, our customers and our peers, but effectively managing our inbox’s can sometimes seem like a full-time job in itself. Here, we’ve listed five things you can do in Microsoft Outlook 2013 to take the hassle out of email management and make your working day more productive and efficient.

[themecolor]1. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts for Faster Working[/themecolor]

You mastered the art of Ctrl+C and Ctrl+P in Word long ago – now it’s time to get your head around some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts in Outlook.

Here are 5 to remember:

Ctrl+Shift+M = Create a Message
Ctrl+R = Reply to Email
Ctrl+Enter = Send Email
Ctrl+M = Send/Receive All Mail
F3 or Ctrl+E = Go to Search Box

[themecolor]2. Create a Dedicated ‘CC’ Folder[/themecolor]

Creating a folder for all of the emails that are not sent directly to you will filter out less important messages from your main inbox. First of all, create your ‘CC’ folder as a sub-folder. Then go to Rules > Create Rule and click through to the Advanced Options tab. In the Rules Wizard, check the box that says ‘where my name is not in the To box’, and on the next screen, tick ‘move it to the specified folder’. Click on the hyperlink to assign the specified folder.

[themecolor]3. Set Up Search Folders[/themecolor]

If you’re consistently losing messages from your chairman, your priority client or even your other half, you can alleviate the problem by organising your search folders to make sure you never miss emails from your most important senders.

Go to Folder and choose New Search Folder. Use ‘mail from and to specific people’ to set up the function. There are plenty of other options to explore too if you’re determined to de-clutter your inbox even further.

[themecolor]4. Use Email Templates[/themecolor]

Save time (and your sanity) by setting up and retrieving email templates. Type out your generic email template in a new message, then go to File > Save As > Outlook Template and save it under a relevant title. To retrieve a template, go to New Items > Choose Form and have a look for it in ‘User Templates in File System’.

[themecolor]5. Discover Microsoft’s QuickSteps[/themecolor]

QuickSteps has revolutionised the way in which regular Outlook users work. This nifty little tool allows you to apply multiple actions to email messages, automating all those common or repetitive tasks that eat into your working day.

Microsoft has already defined a list of default Quick Steps and there are far too many for us to mention here, but all options are customisable, so experiment with the feature. To create a new Quick Step, just go to Mail > Quick Steps, then click Create New Quick Step in the gallery.