Microsoft has highlighted the way the @ symbol can be used in emails and meeting notifications, to really grab the attention of specific contacts.

Just like in MS Teams or various social networks, @ mentions are a valuable tool in Outlook, doing three things in one to ensure a message announces itself loud and clear to the intended recipient.

First off, mentioning a recipient in this way will make their name appear prominently in the email copy. Not only that, it will also automatically add their email address into the ‘To’ field, if they’re not already there. Finally, @ messages will stand out further in the user’s inbox, with the symbol showing up very notably within the recipient’s email list.

Tagging a user is straightforward – simply use the @ symbol then begin typing their name. You will then be presented with a shortlist of contacts, from which you simply click on the user you wish to mention. You can even tidy up the message if you need to; deleting their surname will keep the forename and the @ mention in place.

If you’re on the other side, it’s possible to filter messages by those which mention you – to either find something quickly or sift through to find the most pressing emails. Simply choose ‘All’ above the message list, then ‘Mentioned Mail’ if you’re using Windows (alternatively the drop down near ‘Focused’ if you have the latest Outlook for Windows), or go through Home > Filter Email > Mentioned if you’re on a Mac.

If this is a feature you start to rely on more regularly you could opt to add a Mention column to your email shortcuts. For this, select View > Current View > View Settings > Columns. Then, select and add ‘Mention’ (use the drop down to select ‘All Mail fields’ if ‘Mention’ isn’t there automatically).