Addressing emails in Microsoft Outlook

Emails are now a significant communication medium, and sometimes so numerous as to be overwhelming. Part of good management of emails is to ensure that your email Title, Status and Options convey clearly what the email is about, and what response you want from the recipient. The following guidelines may be of some assistance in writing good emails.

Email Subject:

  • Ensure the subject line gives a clear indication of the content of the message.
  • Indicate if the subject matter is sensitive.
  • Consider including an identification number, if relevant.
  • Do not use any punctuation, if possible.
  • Place spaces between each word in your title to facilitate easy searching and reading.
  • Be concise.
  • Avoid using abbreviations and acronyms.
  • Avoid typing in CAPITALS, as this can be considered the electronic equivalent of ‘shouting’.
  • Avoid using symbol combinations that might trigger spam detection software, such as "Hi’ and do not leave the subject line blank for the same reason.

Other aspects to consider:

  • Include only one subject per email message.
  • Indicate what action is required, or that no action is required.
  • Consider including a deadline or using flags to indicate whether the message is of high or low importance and the speed with which an action is required.
  • Emails are official communications, and should be written in appropriate language.
  • It is considered good practice to end your email with a salutation, followed by a signature, which should include at least your name and job title.
  • When the University approves a disclaimer, this must be included as well.
  • Discuss with colleagues whether you might agree on titling conventions that will be used in your team.

Adapted from Records and Archives Management Services article "Guidelines on titling emails".