By the time you read this week’s webDotWiz column, everybody (in Australia, at least) should have the new Hotmail. You’ll immediately know by the large orange icon towards the top of the Hotmail window that urges you to learn more about how you can organise your inbox.
As well, the header at the top of your browser window is in the new Wave 4 format, giving you links to your Live Home page (under Windows Live), Hotmail (which also show how many unread messages are in your inbox), Messenger (the web version showing how many of your contacts are online), Live Office (for creating, editing, sharing and storing online Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents) and Live Photos.
Security is a top priority in email these days and Hotmail gives you as much guidance as possible to ensure you don’t open emails containing malware and keep spam away from your inbox as much as it possibly can. Hotmail marks email from a trusted source with a green icon so look for it on posts in your inbox. As well, Hotmail continues the practice of not opening a message in your inbox until you’ve decided it’s safe to do so.
There are new tools to help your organise the messages you receive. One such tool is Sweep (see below).
As well you’ll see options across the top of your message area to enable you to view All your messages (turned on automatically) or you can choose just those from your contacts or those from social networking sites such as Facebook. With so many notifications arriving in your inbox from activities by your Facebook friends, using the Social updates filter will make life easier.
In the new Hotmail you don’t have to leave Hotmail to open another program to view photos and videos posted by your friends. The Activity View takes care of these types of occasions.
Create some folders
To organise your inbox using Sweep, you firstly need to create some folders into which posts from certain people and organisations will be automatically stored or you can use Sweep to manually move these posts for storage.
In the left-hand pane Hotmail gives a big hint that we should better organise our inbox by showing New folder under the current list of folders so create folders for posts from certain people, newsletters you’ve subscribed to and notifications of activities by your friends on other social networking sites such as Facebook.
So look through your inbox to see which folders you need to create and which fit in with your needs.
Organise your inbox with Sweep
You’ll find Sweep just under the Windows Live header at the top of the page along with New, Reply, etc. Sweep’s two main functions are to move posts from a certain address to one of your folders or to delete all emails from a certain address.
Compared to the old days of individually selecting all the posts you wanted to move to a certain folder or delete, Sweep simplifies the process by requiring you to just select one post from a certain person or email address and it will move all the emails from that address to one of your folders.
For example, nearly all of us receive a Windows Live newsletter each month that gives some news and information about using various aspects of Windows Live. After a while you notice that webDotWiz is not keeping up with articles explaining some of these featues so it’d be better if you keep up to date yourself. So you want to save the monthly Windows Live newsletter in a folder.
So begin with creating a new folder, giving the folder a name such as Windows Live newsletters. Now back in your inbox find one of these newsletters, select it and click on Sweep. You want to move all these Windows Live newsletters to the folder you created so choose Move all from… on the Sweep menu.
After you click on Move all from…, a pane open to show you which emails you’re moving and you’re asked for the destination folder. In our example, we’d choose the Windows Live newsletters folder from the dropdown list. So choose this folder from the list.
Before you click the Move all button, note you can tick a box that tells Hotmail to automatically move all emails from this address – in this case, the Windows Live newsletters – to the Windows Live newsletters folder in the future. So click the box to save lots of time.
In a similar fashion, create new folders and tell Hotmail to automatically direct new posts to these folders. In other words, you’ll only need to spend a bit of time organising your email inbox using Sweep.
The aim of Sweep is to enable you to have what the experts call a zero inbox, that is, you should only have a couple of new emails that land in your main inbox folder – all other new emails automatically land in folders you’ve already organised.
Quick views, Messenger, calendar and contacts
In the left-hand pane there are other tools to help you quickly view posts. Under Quick view you can easily bring up posts containing photos from your contacts. Similarly you can go directly to posts that have Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote documents attached and you’ll be able to view these documents in Hotmail itself using Office Web Apps.
You can use the Mark as function on the top menu to flag certain emails. For example, you might put a flag on particular posts you need to return to later on. Use Quick view when you want to bring up these flagged emails.
Messenger enables you to chat with family and friends from within Hotmail itself (while you’re working hard at creating new folders and using Sweep, for example) without having to leave Hotmail to bring up the desktop version of Messenger.
The calendar in Hotmail needs its own article so you can see all its features but in the spirit of having a zero inbox, Live Calendar is at hand so you can enter birthdays and events along with an automatic reminder alert.
There’s one feature of you contacts list that needs pointing out, namely you can ask Hotmail to clean out your contacts list to remove duplicate entries to keep things tidy. If you connect your Facebook account with Windows Live, all your Facebook contacts are automatically imported so it’s easy to post an email to any of your Facebook friends.
Cross-posted from webDotWiz Online at www.webdotwiz.com/column-050810.htm
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Posted using the trial version of Windows Live Writer 2011.