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How to set follow-up reminders for email in Outlook

The complete step-by-step process on how to set follow-up reminders in Outlook. Keep track of important emails and tasks with Mailbutler.

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    By James

    James has seven years' experience as a Content Marketer, bylines on Left Foot Forward, Submittable, and INOMICS, and a Master's in History. In his free time he likes to read, play guitar, and write for his personal blog.

    In a data-driven industry, it’s not easy to sift through the available information and prioritize the main tasks at hand. From a productivity viewpoint, there’s nothing more vital than setting up a reminder system to highlight what truly matters.

    When it comes to Outlook, the beauty of the Microsoft email client is that it offers a solid foundation for organizing and managing your daily objectives efficiently. In this guide, we'll show you how to set a reminder in Outlook, using the small red flag icon found in the top right corner of your home tab.

    The benefits of Outlook email reminders

    The interesting thing about Outlook follow-up reminders is that you can set them for both yourself and your recipients. This means when you send an email that you really need a reply to, you can set a reminder on it for your recipient, and when the time comes, they'll get notified.

    Using follow up reminders in Outlook has a number of benefits:

    Helps to establish a solid rapport with recipients

    In an over-saturated marketplace, with people constantly getting barraged by email messages, sending a client a follow-up reminder can help them cut through the noise and stay in the know with all the latest data. This can be anything from order tracking to upcoming meetings and business-related queries. Using Outlook, you can simply set a follow-up reminder for recipients, and let Outlook do the rest.

    Sending Outlook reminders

    Source: Microsoft Support

    Sending Outlook reminders for important emails also shows that you value the recipient's opinion and feedback on a particular matter. It shows you're interested in getting an answer from the recipients in a timely manner.

    Minimizes missed opportunities

    Regardless of the type of business you're running, sending Outlook email reminders is a sure way to demonstrate professionalism and stay on top of your communication. More often than not, the Outlook inbox can be quite overwhelming, so even the most urgent of matters get buried under the avalanche of information.

    add email reminder in outlook

    Source: How-to-Geek

    When you have a specific due date to meet, or you need to remind contacts of upcoming appointments, having a prompt response through the use of a reminder email in Outlook can be a lifesaver. After all, a missed opportunity often translates to a failed deal or lost contract, and that's something no business needs on its agenda.

    Helps you stand out from the crowd

    Many of the default templates most companies use for their email correspondence have the same look and feel. It's difficult to get variety in email templates - so try and stand out another way: with an Outlook reminder.

    Setting an Outlook follow-up reminder for your recipient when you send your email shows that you truly care about a personalized experience and are serious about connecting with them. It's basically a sticky note that you leave on their virtual desk.

    Gives you insight into the email habits of your correspondents

    When you add follow-up reminders in Outlook, you essentially have access to the email habits of your recipient. This can give you a clear idea of when you should send follow-ups and how often you should reach out to certain individuals.

    add reminder email messages in Outlook

    Source: MSOutlook Info

    When you have this kind of data on hand, you can tailor your alerts and emails as necessary. You'll know how to grab their attention and increase the likelihood of them responding. Not only is this quite useful for planning your future strategic campaigns, but it can also boost the effectiveness of your messages.

    How to use email reminders in Outlook

    Depending on your business's needs, you can use the reminders feature to cater to a few different scenarios. There are a few things you can use reminders for:

    Meeting prompts

    In many cases, meetings are scheduled ahead of time, at a specific date and time. When that time frame is somewhat longer or there are lots of meetings on your clients' to-do lists, it's entirely possible for them to forget when the session is or what it's about.

    set up a reminder for your recipients to confirm their attendance

    Source: Microsoft Tech Community

    To mitigate this inconvenience, you could set up a reminder for your recipients to confirm their attendance or simply ask them to join at the specified date. This can be done with a few simple clicks and appears in their inbox as a pop-up message.

    Outlook Meeting prompts

    Source: Microsoft Support

    Task reminders

    For tasks that have a specified due date, sticking to your deadline is a vital aspect of maintaining the success of the project. When you want to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page, you could set up default reminders in their calendars through the use of Outlook follow-up emails.

    Outlook Task reminders

    Source: ExtendOffice

    In this way, you can maintain team accountability and boost overall productivity from all parties involved. Anyone who receives the reminder will be able to track their progress and prioritize certain tasks according to their schedule. They can also collaborate with other team members to get optimal results in no time.

    Feedback or promotion alerts

    Both feedback and promotion emails generally require some kind of response from the recipient. When you add alerts for these messages, you're basically making sure that a reply is sent back in an expedited manner.

    This can really come in handy for limited-time offers that may not be available after a certain period. When the follow-up message appears on your recipient's screen, it's a sign that the offer is still open and active, and adds pressure on the recipient to take advantage of it before the time runs out.

    How to set follow-up reminders in Outlook

    The process of how to set a reminder in Outlook is quite straightforward. To start with, you need to write your base email with all the necessary information about the assignment or event you want your recipients to see in their calendars.

    Then, right-click on the red flag icon at the top part of your current tab and select the follow-up option. This will prompt a drop-down menu that lets you customize the date and time. You could opt for a preset option from the list, such as tomorrow, next week, or another point in the future. There's also the option of using a custom date based on your needs.

    Once you've picked your preferred date and time schedule, simply click send on your email and your contacts should receive an alert in their mail. If you want to make any additional changes, you can click the bell icon next to the reminder date in your calendar view.

    How to set follow-up reminders in Outlook

    Source: Microsoft Support

    If you want to remove any current alerts, you just have to click on the flag icon again and select 'clear flag'. This will remove any existing prompts along with any associated data from your calendar.

    Sending follow-up reminders with Mailbutler

    If you’re wondering how to set reminders in Outlook, you might also want to consider a third-party, reliable service like Mailbutler to manage automated assignments. The reminder option is currently merged with the Tasks feature, allowing you to create alerts as part of your to-do.

    To do this, open an email or contact, open the Mailbutler Sidebar. Here, you'll find the option to add a follow-up task by clicking on the drop-down arrow on the blue icon.

    Follow-up reminders in Outlook with Mailbutler

    At this point, you'll see several options to choose from, depending on your specific needs. If you're creating a new one, you can just select follow-up task from the drop-down menu, and you'll have successfully created a new reminder.

    You can further customize the follow-up by defining other parameters, such as the option to set the assignment as completed when you receive a reply. This gives you greater control over the kinds of alerts you're using and ensures an effective workflow.

    Your Outlook Inbox, Smarter

    Add reminder in Outlook to follow-up effortlessly.

    Enhancing Tasks and Notes management with Mailbutler's Tags

    Mailbutler's Email Tags feature is a game-changer for Outlook users aiming to enhance their email organization. Beyond just setting reminders, it's essential to categorize and prioritize your tasks and notes effectively.

    With Mailbutler's tagging system, you can swiftly label all your tasks and notes within Outlook. This ensures you always know which tasks have the highest priority and which notes contain crucial information. By integrating Mailbutler's Tags feature into your Outlook routine, you can navigate through your tasks and notes with ease, ensuring you're always on top of your responsibilities.

    Set reminders by turning Outlook emails into tasks

    When it comes to manually turning an email message into a task, the process is somewhat different. You need to right-click and hold the specific message you want to turn into a task. Next, simply drag it down to your other window where your task view is open, and drop it in the desired position.

    Set reminders by turning Outlook emails into tasks

    Source: Microsoft Support

    Once you release the mouse button, you'll be given three options to choose from:

    • Copy as a task with text - this creates a new task with the same content from the email message itself. It's usually the default option when you drag the message to the task folder.
    • Copy as a task with an attachment - this retains the original message in your inbox, but creates a new assignment with the email embedded as an attachment.
    • Move as a task with attachment - this also involves embedding the initial message, with the only difference being that it doesn't leave it in your inbox.

    Can you set up follow-up reminder alerts in Outlook?

    Yes, you can set up an email follow-up reminder in Outlook. To add a reminder in Outlook email, you can find the feature in the home tab when writing your email. Before sending it, click follow-up, and you'll see all the options to set a reminder.

    Recommended article: Create distribution list in Outlook

    Make sure to select the option to flag recipients, which will notify them and show that the message is important. By default, a reminder is automatically set up when you create an assignment, but you can modify the details if it doesn't suit your preferences.


    For a comprehensive and efficient way to manage and remind all team members and clients of relevant appointments and due dates, mail follow-up alerts can be a lifesaver. Microsoft has its own feature that is easy to use, but if you want a more hands-on approach with customizable alerts, then Mailbutler might be more up your alley.

    Follow-up reminders in Outlook FAQs

    Does Outlook have a follow-up reminder?

    Yes it does. You can add a reminder in Outlook email by clicking the flag icon when you're done writing your email. This will give you the option to select the date in your calendar for when you want the recipients to receive an alert.

    How do I send a follow-up reminder email?

    The easiest way to set and send a follow-up reminder is with Mailbutler. Sending an Outlook reminder email is usually done by setting up a task in Outlook, but it's easier with Mailbutler's Tasks feature. With Mailbutler, you simply open the Sidebar, click on the drop-down arrow, and set a follow-up reminder. It really is that easy.

    How do I add a reminder in an Outlook calendar?

    To set reminders in Outlook, simply open your calendar view in the navigation pane. Then double-click on the relevant appointment to open the options list. Here, you'll find the reminder drop-down box, and you can select the time and date you want from the list.

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    Comments (4)

    1. What I would like to see in outlook is something that at the end of the day when I log out it flags that I have emails in my drafts unsent. I get pointless updates about how much time I’ve engaged with others etc, more useful info would be you have (insert amount) unsent emails in your draft folder – review these now!
      That would be far more useful than the dross in the constant outlook updates

      09 Aug 2023
      • Thank you for the feedback, this will be passed on to our production team!

        09 Aug 2023
    2. Great article, great information. But I still am pulling my hair out trying to figure out why my “Follow-Up” selector (with red flag) only has 3 options: High Importance & Low Importance (with no choice of dates/times) and Clear Flag. I’m going crazy. It’s an HP with Windows 8.1 and using Outlook.

      29 Apr 2024
      • Hi Cindie, Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry that you are having problems with Outlook’s Follow-up Reminders. I’m not sure what could be causing this, I’m afraid, and I would recommend you to contact Microsoft Support for help with this – I’m sure they will be able to fix this for you!
        If you are interested to learn more about Mailbutler’s Follow-up feature, go ahead and sign up for a free trial here:

        29 Apr 2024

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