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There are probably actions you regularly perform in Outlook, such as deleting, archiving, and marking things as read. Here’s how to use Quick Action buttons to add one-click options that appear over every email to perform each action.

You’ve probably seen Quick Action buttons in Outlook already but never really took much notice of them. They appear when your cursor is hovering over an email. By default, the buttons show the Follow Up flag and the Delete bin icons.

The default Quick Action buttons.

If you click one of the buttons, it performs the named action. In this case, marking the email to be followed up or moving it to the Deleted Items folder. You can change the Quick Action buttons to any of the following five actions:

  • Archive
  • Delete
  • Move
  • Flag/ Clear Flag (this is the Follow Up flag)
  • Mark as Read/Unread

To change the buttons, click Home > Follow Up. Next, in the menu that appears, select the “Set Quick Actions” option.

The Follow Up menu with "Set Quick Actions" highlighted.

This will bring up the Quick Actions panel.

The "Quick Actions" panel.

Select the options you want to be displayed in the two Quick Action slots using the dropdowns and then click “OK.”

The "Quick Actions" panel with the 2 dropdowns highlighted.

The Delete action will always be available no matter which options you choose, so really, you can choose any two Quick Actions plus the Delete option. In this example, we’ve chosen “Archive” and “Mark as Read/Unread” which display next to the Delete option.

The Quick Action buttons with the new choices.

You can also choose Delete plus one other Quick Action from the dropdown if you don’t want quick access to other actions.

A really useful feature is the ability to select multiple emails and then apply the Quick Action to all of them at once. Select the messages you want to apply the Quick Action to, hover over any one of the emails, and then select the Quick Action.

Multiple emails selected with the Quick Action buttons highlighted.

All of the selected emails will have the Quick Action applied to them. This is a quick and simple way to make managing your emails just a little bit less work.

Rob Woodgate Rob Woodgate
Rob Woodgate is a writer and IT consultant with nearly 20 years of experience across the private and public sectors. He's also worked as a trainer, technical support person, delivery manager, system administrator, and in other roles that involve getting people and technology to work together.
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