Using Quick Steps in Microsoft Outlook, you can click a button to run one or more automated actions on an email you select. Although Outlook provides you with some useful pre-made Quick Steps, you may want to create your own.
By setting up a custom Quick Step, you can do things like move an email, create a task, and schedule a meeting with a single click.
How to create a custom quick step
To create your own Quick Steps, go to the Home tab and select the bottom arrow in the Quick Steps box.
Choose “Create New”. Alternatively, move your cursor to New Quick Step and choose “Custom” from the popup menu.
There are several categories to choose from when creating a custom Quick Step. Each one offers useful automation that can really save you time.
1. Present your message
You can set up a Quick Step with the File category, which allows you to quickly move, copy, or delete an email.
RELATED: How to delete multiple emails in Microsoft Outlook
Select the Choose an action dropdown box and choose an option in the Presentation section. Give your quick step a name at the top of the window.
If you choose one of the removal options, you don’t have to choose anything else.
If you choose Move to Folder or Copy to Folder, use the box below to select the folder you want. This is useful if you often move or copy emails to the same folder.
You can optionally assign a hotkey using that dropdown box at the bottom, as well as insert tooltip text so you know what the quick step does when you hover over it.
Click “Finish” to save your new quick step.
2. Change email status
If you want to change the status of an email to read or unread or set importance, you can use a quick change status step.
Select the Choose an action dropdown box and choose an option in the Change state section. Then, give your fast pace a name.
If you choose Mark Read or Mark Unread, you don’t have to select anything else.
If you choose Set importance, choose the priority from the next dropdown box that appears. This is convenient for quickly marking messages as important.
Optionally assign a shortcut and add a tooltip, then click “Finish” to save the quick step.
3. Manage categories, tasks and flags
Using categories, tasks, and flags, you can do a number of things with your email. Assign a category, attach a flag, or create a task. You can also clear categories or tags or mark the message as complete.
Select the Choose an action dropdown box and choose an option in the Categories, Tasks, and Flags section. Then, give the quick step a name.
As an example, we’ll choose the Categorize Message action. Then select the category from the dropdown box below. Then, with one click, you can assign a category to the message.
As another example, we’ll use the Create a task with message text action. This is a great action to use if you manage your to-dos in Outlook. Then just select the Quick Step and you will see a new task window open with the email in the body.
Optionally assign a shortcut and add a tooltip, then click “Finish” to save your quick step.
4. Reply, Reply or Forward
With the Reply category, you can compose a new message, forward, reply or reply all, reply with a meeting, or forward the email as an attachment.
RELATED: How to forward an email as an attachment in Microsoft Outlook
Select the Choose an action dropdown box and choose an option in the Respond section.
A good example here is forwarding the message as an attachment. This is perfect if you tend to receive emails that you often forward to someone else. Select Forward message as attachment in the Choose an action box. To fill in the remaining details at that point, you don’t have to select anything else.
To pre-populate the details of the email you are forwarding, select “Show Options”.
You can then add anything you want to the email, including the subject, branding, importance, and text. Just remember, these details apply every time you use Fast Pass.
Be sure to name the quick step and select any additional options at the bottom. Click “Finish”.
5. Create an appointment
The Appointment category is ideal for messages you receive that often lead to meetings. You can schedule a new meeting or create an appointment.
An impressive example is creating a new meeting.
To set up a blank meeting request that you fill out on the spot, simply select New Meeting from the Choose an action dropdown box and nothing else. To pre-populate meeting details, select ‘Show Options’.
Like the Answer Quick Step above, you can add optional details like attendees, topic, location, importance, and text. Again, these details apply every time you use the fast pass.
Give your quickstep a name and select any additional options at the bottom. Click “Finish”.
6. Manage conversations
The last Quick Step category for custom actions is Conversations. With it, you can always move messages in the conversation or just ignore them.
RELATED: How to toggle and customize the conversation view in Outlook
Select the Choose an action dropdown box and choose an option in the Conversation section.
If you choose to move messages, please select the location in the dropdown box below. If you choose to ignore the messages, you don’t have to select anything else.
Give your quick step a name, choose an option at the bottom if desired, and click “Finish.”
How to use your quick step
After you create a custom Quick Step, you can use it like the pre-made options. Select the email and go to the Home tab. Choose the action in the Quick Step box in the Quick Step section of the ribbon. And that’s it!
If the quick step moves, dials, or responds, it will happen automatically when you click the button. If you set up a Quick Step to forward a message, create a task, or schedule an appointment, you’ll see a corresponding box appear, like the Quick Step to create a task below.
While Rules in Outlook are great for automating tasks without lifting a finger, you may want to take an action to perform repetitive tasks on specific emails. This is the ideal time to use Quick Steps.