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Flagging an Email: Why and How to Use this Nifty Feature

Flagging an email is a quick and easy tool to mark essential communications on your email account. It is helpful if you want to make it easy to find information later, mark time-sensitive messages, or prevent yourself from forgetting to read or reply to an email if you are busy. 

We’ll share what flagging an email does, how to do it, and some of the benefits of using this feature.

What Does Flagging an Email Do?

Emails are essential for communication between friends, family, and business associates. While making folders can help you sort emails by type, flagging an email is the fastest and most effective way to mark something for later review.

Critical communications can get buried for people regularly inundated with emails, and there can be dire consequences for missing or forgetting to act on these messages. Flagging an email denotes time-sensitive messages, serving as a reminder and a way to organize your busy email address.

A graphic of an email with a flag, along with the text: "Flagging an email is the fastest and most effective way to mark something for later review"

For example, if you get a message from a coworker asking you to send them the minutes from last week’s board meeting, but the day’s work is overwhelming, you might flag the email so you can deal with it when you have time without forgetting about it.

How to Flag an Email in Different Providers

Different providers offer different services when it comes to flagging emails. For example, some only provide the functionality of marking an email as necessary, while others allow you to flag emails by type. 

How to Flag an Email in Gmail

Gmail lets you flag emails from your inbox, marking them as important, starring them, or adding a relevant label. 

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Gmail account and navigate to your inbox.
  2. Locate the message you want to flag.
  3. Select the arrow by the star on the left-hand side.

Performing this action marks the conversation as important for you and the recipient. Later, if you want to review this email thread, you can find it under the “important” filter to the left of your inbox.

How to Flag an Email in Outlook

In outlook, you must hover over or click on the message you want to flag and select the flag icon on the right side of the email border. It should appear right next to the file and bin icons. 

Doing so marks the email as important and allows you to find it by filtering your emails to “Flagged,” saving you the headache of browsing through a saturated inbox, hoping to find it later. 

How to Flag an Email in AOL

All you need to do in AOL is hover over it and select the flag icon when it appears to the right of the subject line. Nice and easy!

How to Flag an Email on an iPhone

On your iPhone, start by opening your mail app and following these steps:

  1. Open the email you want to flag and tap Reply.
  2. Select Flag Email from the dropdown menu.

Once done, you’ll be able to locate the flagged message from the flagged folder. You can also organize your iPhone emails by different colors and arrange them in folders accordingly.

Other Flagging Options

While providers may vary in their customization offerings, you can tailor your email experience using additional features. 

For example, some providers provide the option to select “Follow Up” as a flag, which can be helpful if there’s information in an email that you need to, well, follow up on. 

The three most valuable types of flags are as follows:

  • Follow up flags
  • To-do flags
  • Read later flags

Follow Up Flags

A follow-up flag is a tool for reminding yourself to check on or complete something at a later time. 

For instance, you may email a coworker asking them to check and approve a layout so that you can submit it for production, yet you know they are revising blueprints for the engineering team. Nonetheless, you must get that proposal out by the deadline. 

Rather than just hoping your coworker responds to your email, you may mark it with a follow-up flag to remind yourself to check for a response later in the workday or shoot him another prompt to respond.

To-Do Flags

Another type of flag, the to-do flag, is a great way to remind yourself to respond to something in an email. 

You may receive an email from the local animal adoption center with their available volunteer hours listed on a sign-up sheet. If you are busy at the time, mark it with a to-do flag to remind you to fill out the form later when it is more convenient. 

Read Later Flags

Finally, the “read later” flag is meant for when you don’t have the time to explore a message, but you know it’s important. 

You might, for example, spot an order confirmation email for an item you bought as a gift from Amazon but need more time to review it to ensure everything is correct.

In this event, you might mark it with a “read later” flag to remind yourself to look over it when you have the time. 

A read-later flag is also helpful if you accidentally open an email or if it ends up being much longer than expected. Using this flag will remind you the next time you open your inbox that you still need to give that email some attention.

Calendar Syncing

Calendar syncing is another flagging feature available from some providers that allow flagging emails. 

This ability allows you to place a reminder on your email calendar (such as to respond to an important email). Performing a sync shares that reminder on each additional digital calendar you choose. That way, even if you are not currently using that email service, you can still view the reminders so you remember to deal with them. 

Flagging emails may also allow you to send a notification at a specific date and time, prompting you to address it.

The Bottom Line

Flagging an email is a tool that more people should use to organize their inboxes and ensure that they are completing required tasks within the required timeframe. It is also helpful in sorting relevant mail from junk and can provide notifications to later review emails. 

Whether you need to follow up on something, refer to the information in the email, or want it archived where you can find it easily, flagging is an easy practice that can pay great dividends. 

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By James Smith

Described as an "English Guru," James Smith holds a Master's degree in English from Arkansas Tech University, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with a minor in ESL. James is a sought after writer and editor with university teaching experience.

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