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Why is this in my Inbox Again?

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I usually leave messages in my Inbox until I’ve resolved them. This leads to an Inbox with several, ok dozens (sometimes hundreds), of read messages. My favorite aerobic activity for many years was opening and losing messages I’d already read to remind myself why the message was still sitting in my Inbox!

When follow up flags were first introduced in Outlook, I thought this would solve my problem. While having a little red flag next to a message told me I needed to take action, it didn’t tell me what action needed to be taken. So, there I was still opening and closing messages all day. I got fed up with this counterproductive behavior several years ago and decided there HAD to be a better way, and BINGO, there was.

My solution does involve follow up flags, but it also involves customizing the fields in my Inbox. Here’s what it looks like now:


In Outlook, you can customize the text for your follow up flags AND you can add a field to your Inbox headers allowing you to see that custom text! Here’s how you do it:

Adding Customized Follow Up Flags

First, let’s start by learning how to add your own custom text to the follow-up flags.

1. Right-click on the message to the flag.
2. Select Follow up, Custom…
3. In the Flag to field, enter the custom text for the flag:


4. Adjust any other flag settings you like, and then click OK.

Adding the Follow Up Flag Field Header

Now, let’s see how we add the field that will make our custom follow up flag text visible.

1. Right-click on any field header at the top of your Inbox
2. Select Field Chooser, and from the list that opens, find the Follow Up Flag label.

Microsoft Outlook Tutorial 2018

3. Drag the label from the dialog box up onto your Inbox header and drop it where you want it to appear.

Microsoft Outlook Tutorial 2018

4. Click the red X in the corner of the list box to close it.
5. If the area for the Follow Up Flag text is too narrow, simply place your mouse on the left or right edges of the label in the header and drag to widen.

You’re all set! No more needlessly opening and closing messages to determine why they are still in your Inbox. Hope you found this helpful. Learn more tips like these in Intellezy’s amazing array of micro lesson videos too!

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