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Simple Outlook hack may save your day in the future - What's the next action

Simple Outlook hack may save your day in the future

22 10 05 - 09:30 - Bookmark this post

This morning, while going through some archived threads in the 43Folders group, I stumbled on this amazing Outlook hack in this thread, written by Simon. Don’t know if he has a blog or anything…

“Ever get sent an e-mail with a blank or unintelligible subject line? Maybe you get CCed on a long ping pong e-mail that only reveals it’s relevance in the very last reply.
Well, sometimes you need to file these away suckers for reference and this is where the trouble begins. What was top of your mind a week ago may now be completely opaque. So, when you browse through your mail folders, looking for that vital bit of information, it seems next to impossible to recall what all those e-mail exchanges were about? Where is it?
Well there is an easy solution – _change the subject line_ . Think of it as personal tagging. It is very easy to do.
First, double click the e-mail (or hit enter) to open it in a separate window. Then put your cursor on the subject line and start typing. That’s it. You can add your own reference – date, project number, whatever – or change the subject line completely. Whatever is going to be meaningful to you. Use as many words you like.
When you’re done, Ctrl+S to save. “

Now why didn’t I think of that myself? It is _so_ easy! Especially since the searchfunction in Outlook is way too slow for me and for some reason desktop-search engines like Google or MSN slows my laptop in a considerable way. So most of the times I need to look by hand to find something fast. Using tagging or a more sensible subjectline can save the day! Thank you Simon for that excellent tip!



Outlook search is indeed horrible, but there are sollutions. I too think that the Google and MSN toolbars are ‘over the top’, but still use an old app called LookOut to index only my outlook items. LookOut has been bought by Microsoft last year and the technology is now integrated in the MSN toolbar, but I’m sure LookOut is still available on the web. It is the type of tool I like: it does only one thing and it does it well. Shame on Microsoft for destroying this!
Jeroen (URL) - 22 10 05 - 10:04

Hi Jeroen, I had the same problems with LookOut on my laptop. When starting up Outlook with LookOut (hehehe) it really slows down my startup time. But indeed, it’s an excellent app!
Frank Meeuwsen (Email) (URL) - 22 10 05 - 10:07

Along these lines, here’s another simple trick: you get an email that applies to 2 projects. Which to file it under? Both! Select the email and copy and paste and you have 2 of it.
Sometimes more is better, even for email.
Bob Walsh (Email) (URL) - 22 10 05 - 15:43

Especially if you have set-up rules to organise your email, changing the subjectline acccordingly will automate this filing process. Activate the rules or wait for another mailcheck!
Rob Venstra (Email) (URL) - 24 10 05 - 10:58

This is way cool.

Add on… you can edit the email itself to add notes… open the email, right click on body and select EDIT MESSAGE. Again Ctrl + S will save the change
Parker - 29 10 05 - 00:01

Ahh, it is so obvious.
Also works great on Lotus Notes
Mo - 12 01 06 - 17:05

i’m a big fan of NEO Pro (emailorganizer.com). it runs on top of Outlook and gives instant search results, and includes searching thru multiple .pst’s. check it out. (i have no relation to the company)
rich (Email) - 12 01 06 - 18:51

Macro to Change the subject line
hari (Email) - 06 03 06 - 21:54

You can do the same with MyLife Organised – move the email into your outline list and change the description & properties to something you can relate to. The email is accessible via a link in the task notes.

Works for me
cojack - 14 06 06 - 09:56

If you prefer to preserve your Subject, you can add “Conversation” to your list view using the field chooser. “Conversation” is a duplicate of the Subject field. Pick which field you are going to edit routinely and stick to it. When you need to sort by subject/conversation, you will still be able to do it based on the original subject.
Nelson Garcia - 14 06 06 - 18:59

Adding the Conversation field makes sense – allows me to preserve the original subjectline, but is there a way to edit the conversation field. I cannot even get the conversation field to show up when I double-click on my message (does show up up in my list view tho).
arvind (Email) - 16 08 06 - 19:02



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This is an article which is part of my weblog "What's the Next Action". It deals with everything GTD and the five phases of projectplanning as written by Dave Allen in his book "Getting Things Done".

The previous article on this blog is called 'The difference between GTD at home and at work'.
The next article on this blog is called 'Giving thanks to David Allen's cult time-management credo'.
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