Two Tips for Deleting Email Messages Quicker

When I sit down to deal with messages in my Inbox, I make decisions right then on what to do with each one. I keep my Inbox to one screen and don’t worry about promises, commitments, or deadlines falling through the cracks. Most messages are deleted. Here are two tips for deleting messages in Outlook (I use 2007. Works the same in 2003).
  • Turn off the warning, Are you sure? If this pesky box bothers you, it’s easy to turn it off. When I hit Delete, I want it gone and don’t want to give permission. From the Inbox, click Tools, Options, Other tab, Advanced Options, and untick the box, Warn before permanently deleting items.
  • Bypass the Deleted Items folder. If you’re sure you never want to see the message again (as in spam), permanently delete it so you don’t have to delete it again. Select the message (if it’s closed), hold down the Shift key then hit Delete. If you’re on an Exchange server, the message can be recovered. Otherwise, it’s gone!
Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert


  1. Great tip as always, Peggy. I look forward to receiving them because I know your tips are always useful.

    Here's something that's been plaguing me lately and I bet others have had this problem as well. Why do messages in Outlook sometimes appear in an invisible yellow font? The message in the preview window appears fine, but when I open it up, it's illegible! Like the message disappeared. What's up with that?

  2. JB, I like the Reading Pane on my right so I can read the entire message, open any attachments, etc. You can change Outlook Options and keep a message bold/unread in the Reading Pane if you select it.

    Click the Tools menu, Options, Other tab, Navigation Pane, and untick the box next to “Mark items as unread when viewed in the Reading Pane.” This way, it’ll only be marked as Read if you open it. After opening, you can right-click on the message and Mark as Unread if needed.

  3. Hey Peggy,

    Great post about deleting email. I tend to use AutoPreview view so I can get just a taste of the message that is sent to me before I delete or direct the message to my spam filter. I would also suggest turning off the reading pane as well so that the message is not considered read if you click on it.

    Thanks again


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