Flag an item for follow up

Applying a flag to a message or a contact in Microsoft Outlook gives you a visual reminder to follow up on it in some way. You can use flags with default dates, such as Today, Tomorrow, and Next Week, or customize your flags with specific dates.

Flags for messages appear in your e-mail views, and flags for contacts appear in Contact table (table: A view type that displays a list of items (rows) and their attributes (columns). Use this view to display details about items. Table is the default view type for Inbox and Tasks.) views. With a Quick Click flag (Quick Click flag: A default flag that is assigned to an item when you click the Flag Status column in your Inbox or other table view. You set the default time, date, or other criteria for the flag from the Follow Up menu.), you can also assign flags to items with a single click.

A flagged item also appears in the To-Do Bar, the Daily Task List in Calendar, and in the Tasks view.

In this article


How do the flag dates on the Follow Up menu work?

The following table describes how the dates work for the flags on the Follow Up menu, which is in the Tags group. However, you can customize the dates and set reminders for any flag.

Flag Start date Due date Reminder
Today Current date Current date One hour before the end time of today's work day
Tomorrow Current date plus one day Current date plus one day Start time of current day plus one work day
This Week Current date plus two days, but no later than the last work day of this week Last work day of this week Start time of current day plus two work days
Next Week First work day of next week Last work day of next week Start time of the first work day of next week
No Date No date No date None
Custom Current date is displayed; choose a custom date if desired Current date is displayed; choose a custom date if desired Current date is displayed; choose a custom date if desired

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Add a flag to a message

Flags create a visible reminder that an action is due. When a message is flagged, a flag appears for that message in the message list. Flagged items also appear in the To-Do Bar, in the Daily Task List in Calendar, and in the To-Do List in the Tasks view.

In addition to flags, you can include a reminder that alerts you at a pre-determined time.

As you hover over flagged messages in the Task List, the details that are associated with the flag appear, such as the due date, the type of follow up that is needed, or a when a reminder will appear.

Do one of the following:

  • In an open message, on the Home tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up, and then click a flag.
  • In a message list, such as your Inbox, click Flag for follow up icon to the right of the item to set your default flag. For more default date options, right-click on the flag and select from the drop down list.

 Tip    You can also assign a flag to a message with one click. For more information, see Add a Quick Click flag.

If you want more options for the due date, you can add a flag with a custom date.

  • In an open message, on the Home tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up, and then click Custom.
  • In a message list, such as your Inbox, right-click Flag for follow up icon, and then select Custom.
  • In the Start Date and Due Date boxes, select the dates that you want.

 Note    Flagging an item does not assign a reminder to the item. You can add a reminder by right-clicking the flagged item and selecting Add Reminder. For more information, see Add a flag with a reminder date.

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Add a flag to a contact

Flags can also be applied to contacts. A flag on a contact gives a visible reminder to take an action related to the contact, such as calling or contacting someone. Flagged contacts appear in the To-Do Bar, Daily Task List in Calendar, and in the Tasks view.

Do one of the following:

  • In an open contact, on the Contact tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up, and then click a flag.
  • In Contacts, click on the contact you want to flag. Then, on the Home tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up, and then click a flag.

 Tip   You can also assign a flag to a message with one click. For more information, see Add a Quick Click flag.

If you want more options for the due date, you can add a flag with a custom date.

  • In an open contact, on the Contact tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up, and then click Custom.
  • In Contacts, click on the contact you want to flag. Then, on the Home tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up, and then click Custom.
  • In the Start Date and Due Date boxes, select the dates you want.

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Add a Quick Click flag

If there is one flag that you frequently use, such as Next Week, you can assign that as your Quick Flag. When you click the flag column, the Quick Flag is applied. By default, the Quick Click flag is set for Today.

Use a single click to set a Quick Click flag for Today

 Note    When you change the default Quick Click flag, items you have previously flagged are not changed.

Assign a Quick Click flag to a message

  • In your Inbox, to the right of a message, click the Flag Status column. This adds the flag that you selected as your Quick Click flag to the column.

 Note    A Quick Click flag can be added to multiple messages at the same time. Press and hold CTRL as you click each message, and then click the Flag Status column next to one of the messages.

Assign a Quick Click flag to a contact

  • In Contacts, in a table view such as By Follow Up Flag, next to a contact, click the Flag Status column. This adds the flag that you selected as your Quick Click flag to the column.

 Note   A Quick Click flag can be added to multiple contacts at the same time. Press and hold CTRL as you click each contact, and then click the Flag Status column next to one of the messages.

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Add a flag with a reminder

If you want to be reminded to take action on a flagged item, you can add a reminder. For example, you can add a reminder for a message so that you remember to reply by a certain time, or you can add a reminder for a contact to remember to return a telephone call.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • In an open message, on the Home tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up.
    • In Contacts, click on the contact you want to flag. Then, on the Home tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up.

 Tip   You can also add a flag with a reminder to an item in a table view. In your Inbox or in a list of contacts, select an item, and then click Follow Up in the Tags group.

  1. On the Follow Up menu, click Add Reminder.
  2. In the Reminder list, click the arrow, and then select the date when you want to be reminded.
  3. Then, select the time of day to be reminded.

 Tip   You can also select other information for the item in the Start date, Due date, and Flag to boxes. In the Flag to list, you can select other text, such as Review or Reply to all, to reinforce what the reminder is for. This text appears in the InfoBar in the message. You can also type your own text into the Flag to box.

  1. To change the default reminder sound, click the speaker icon Button Image, and then browse to a sound file. If the Play this sound check box is cleared, select it.

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Add a flag for recipients

If you want to encourage people to reply to a message or you want to request other actions from them, you can send them a flagged message. You can add text that is specific to your request. You can choose from several options in a list or type your own text. The default text is Follow Up.

  1. In a new message, on the Message tab, in the Tags group, click Follow Up.
  2. On the Follow Up menu, click Flag for Recipients.
  3. In the Flag to list, select an action, or type your own text. What you select or type here appears in the InfoBar in the message that the recipient receives.
  4. If you do not want to send a reminder with the message, clear the Reminder box.
  5. If you want to send a reminder with the message, in the Flag for Recipients section, select a date and time from the lists. If you do not want to send a reminder, clear the Reminder box.

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Add a flag automatically with a rule

A rule is an action that Outlook performs automatically upon incoming or outgoing messages based on conditions that you have specified. You can decide what happens to your unread messages — for example, messages from a particular person or group — before they arrive in your Inbox.

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Manage Rules & Alerts.
  3. Click New Rule.
  4. Under Step 1: Select a template in the Rules Wizard, click Flag messages from someone for follow-up.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Follow the instructions in the Rules Wizard.

 Note    To apply this rule to all accounts and each Inbox folder, select the Create this rule on all accounts check box on the last page in the Rules Wizard.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2010