How to Use the Follow Up Option in Outlook

The Microsoft Outlook logo.

One of the most useful and least understood options in Outlook is Follow Up, the program’s email reminder. If you’re having trouble remembering to reply to emails after they’re no longer on the first page of your inbox, this is the tool for you.

Tracking reminds you of emails on the date of your choice and adds them to your Outlook task list. When you have processed the reminder and marked it as completed, it will disappear from your task list. It’s simple, fast, efficient and easy to use.

To get started, select an email in Outlook, then click Home> Tracking (it’s in the “Tags” group).

In the drop-down menu, select the date on which you want to follow up on the email. Microsoft offers several quick actions, including “Today”, “Tomorrow” or “Next week”. However, you can also click on “Custom” to select a date.

The Monitoring menu.

The email is then highlighted in yellow, so you can see at a glance which messages are marked for follow-up. It also adds the email to your Outlook task list.

An email that has been flagged and is now highlighted in yellow and appears in the task list.

This is called “add flag” to an email. Once you’re done, you can move the email to any other folder, like your archive, and it will remain visible in your task list. Just double-click it to open it.

By default, Outlook reminds you of the email on the day you selected. However, if you want to choose the exact date and time for the reminder, go back to Home> Tracking, then select “Add reminder”.

This opens the “Custom” panel, where you can change the name of the indicator, the start and due dates, and the date and time of the reminder.

You can also click on Home> Monitoring, then select “Custom” to access the panel.

The first option, “Mark To”, is the name of the flag you give to the email. This appears at the top of the message as an information tip. In this case, it displays “Follow Up”, which is the default name, Start and Due Date.

An email with the follow-up information board highlighted.

You can select a different flag name from the drop-down menu or enter your own.

We changed the name of the flag to “Review” and the information board changed accordingly.

An email with the follow-up information board highlighted.

If you want to change the tracking date of the email, you can change the values ​​”Start date” and “Due date”.

By default, Outlook tasks work according to the “due date”. So when you set one, it determines when the email appears in your task list.

You can also set the date and time when you want a pop-up reminder. By default, Outlook uses the default reminder alert noise, but you can also change it if you want.

When you are done, click “OK” to close the custom panel.

If you use Follow Up a lot, you may also like the Quick Click option. This allows you to click once on an email and add a default flag. If you haven’t changed the default options in Outlook yet, hover over an email until you see the quick action buttons on the right. One of them will be a monitoring indicator.

If you don’t see this option, check out our quick action guide add it. When you click the Quick Action button, it marks the email for a “Today” follow-up by default.

You can go to Home> Tracking, then select “Set Quick Click” to change this setting.

In the drop-down menu, select the default date to use by the Quick Action button, then click on “OK”.

Now when you hover over an email and click on the tracking flag in Quick Actions, it will automatically use the date you selected. This is very useful if you are scanning emails at the end of the day to remind yourself to deal with them later.

When you’re done with an email, click Home> Tracking, then select “Mark as done” or “Clear flag.”

“Mark Complete” marks the task as complete and removes it from the list of visible tasks, while “Clear Flag” deletes the task. Either one works, but we like “Mark Complete” because it’s like checking something off a to-do list.

You are now ready to use the tracking flag!

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