From the September 2009 Issue
Fall is a good time to refocus and get organized after the lazy days of summer. For business people, one of the best ways to do that is take some time to add efficiencies to the communication and calendar tool you use every day: Microsoft Outlook and the underlying power of Exchange. To get you started, here’s a primer for fine-tuning the way you use Outlook.
With every email and attachment sent and received, your Outlook files grow larger. Multiply that times the number of folks in your company doing the same thing, and you’ll begin to understand the strain it puts on your database resources. So the first step is to shrink your Outlook files.
Identify your largest emails, which usually are the ones with attachments. The goal here is to review them and then determine if they’re needed. If you can, delete it. Or something you might not have considered is to save the attachment elsewhere. You may also find the emails you need to keep are better saved in your company CRM system. Here are the quick and easy steps to finding your largest Outlook files:
- In Outlook, click on your folder that says “Search Folders” near the bottom of your Mail folders in the left-hand window.
- Expand the folder and right-click on “Large Mail.” Choose “Customize this search folder,” and click on the “Criteria” button.
- Here you can edit the default from 100Kb to the size you want. If you want to see all emails larger than 5MB enter 5,000.
- Click on the browse button and verify that “Search subfolders” is checked. Click OK.
- You will now see the contents of “Large Mail” in your right-hand window, and you’re ready to clean house.
MINIMIZE FUTURE BIG EMAILS
Once you have cleared away the biggies, you’ll want to minimize large emails in the future. The easiest way to do this is to reduce or eliminate the attachments you send or receive internally in your office. You only need one copy if everyone in your office has access to files stored on your server. So store it there and send the link (instead of the attachment) in your internal emails. That act alone saves a lot of space, from the ones that would end up in your Sent Items to the ones in the Inbox of all your co-workers who got the email blast, as well. The process for sending the path instead of the attachment is pretty easy.
- Create your email.
- Click on the location in your email text where you want to insert the link to the document.
- Click on the “Insert” ribbon across the top; then click on Hyperlink. The icon is the globe with a piece of a chain-link.
- Use Windows to browse to the location of the document. Highlight the document and click OK. This will insert the link into your email.
- You can actually test it yourself. Just point your mouse to the link. Hit
your Ctrl (Control) key and click with your mouse. This should take you to
the document. This lets you test your link before sending — a highly
If you’re like most people, you have a constantly growing collection of emails stored in your Sent Folder. The value of many has passed, but you hang onto them out of fear of losing some important communications and because of the time it would take to go through them all to decide what to save. Consider these options for reducing the size of your Sent Folder:
- If you are using a CRM system, use it to store the emails you need to keep. Include attachments, as well, where appropriate.
- One recommended method that allows you to delete the contents of your Sent Folder without having to review all your emails is to not rely on your Sent Folder as a storage location for important information you send. Whenever you send an email that is important to keep, send a copy to yourself. When you get the email, move it into the appropriate folder for saving. You could also have this moved to the desired folder automatically using the Tools menu.