Make Outlook Serve You Better

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q: I use Outlook to handle my e-mail, calendar and to-do list. While it serves many of my needs, I wish it could do more. For example, when someone sends me an e-mail, it’s easy to add that person to my Contacts list, but when I want to save other information that may be in that e-mail, like the phone number, business name, etc., I’ve got to type it or copy one piece of information at a time and paste them into the person’s folder. There’s got to be a better way.

 

A: Yes, there are better ways. But first I’ll describe the process for those who are not aware of what Outlook can do. When you receive an e-mail from a contact you want to save, place your cursor over the sender’s e-mail address, which is at the top of the e-mail page, right below the Subject line, and then right-click to open a menu (see screenshot below) ...

 

… click on Add to Outlook Contacts.

Or you can bypass those steps by just dragging the sender’s e-mail address directly to the Contacts folder (see screenshot below).

OK, now for the better way. There are pricey third-party applications, and you can locate them with a Google search using the words index Outlook mail. But there is one nifty program that integrates with Outlook, indexes all your e-mail for near-instant search results, extracts the sender’s name, phone number and company name, tracks any additional recipients of the person’s email messages sent to you, plus a host of other handy amenities. And it’s free.

 

The program, Xobni (that’s inbox spelled backward), adds a new perspective to Outlook by opening a panel to the right of the mail screen (see screenshot below). Although you can slide it out of sight when you don’t need it, I find it so useful that I keep it snuggled right next to my Reading Pane. Xobni runs on Windows XP or Vista, and it integrates with Skype’s VoIP service.

 

My two favorite functions: Xobni displays threads of conversations and files that you exchanged with the highlighted contact, giving you easy and instant access to the data. It also provides two template options: One creates a blank e-mail to the person highlighted. The other, coordinating with your Outlook calendar, not only creates a meeting request, but it also automatically lists all your open time slots.

 

To download, go to xobni.com/download.

 

SPONSORED REPORT

Building client loyalty with payroll services

In this report, CPA experts detail their tactics for performing successful payroll services, how to mitigate risk in the process, and the impact payroll can have as a value-added service.

PODCAST

Using drones to enhance audits

Hermann Sidhu, CPA, global assurance digital leader at EY, walks us through EY’s exciting new project to use drones to help audit large warehouses and outdoor inventories.