I use Outlook at home and at work. It’s a great email client, but isn’t an all in one tool. You can certainly follow email threads, keep them in folders, flag them as to dos, and categorize them. Any research, notes or thoughts you have about the discussion are better kept outside of Outlook though, unless you happen to like those notecards… To be fair, you can “send” a message to the folder that you are keeping the conversation in but it seems disjointed and sometimes making sense of them is a task in itself. Often there are conversations on the phone, instant messenger, or in person and it’s necessary to keep them in context or within the timeline of the thread. This is one way in which the integration between OneNote and Outlook shines.
The first step to a larger organizational world is to send the emails you need to track to OneNote. It’s as easy as clicking a button. THIS button, in fact:
Once you do, OneNote will ask you where you want to put it. Don’t worry, the original email will remain in Outlook so put it wherever you want to. Select the notebook, tab or even a specific page to add it to. Personally, I keep the follow ups in progress all in one tab until completion. I later move them to their final destination. You can also add emails to meeting notes you’ve created from outlook appointments. It’s a matter of preference, because once you put the email in OneNote, any word in it (or tags you place in it) is searchable. You can easily find it when you need it through the powerful (more so than Outlook) search function.
Speaking of which, the next steps are the whole reason you’ve brought the email here in the first place: what you can do with it once in OneNote. I flag all tracked conversations as Outlook tasks. Just select “Outlook task” in the ribbon and decide on a due date, if any. Then at the bottom of that same dropdown list is “open in Outlook”. That will create a task in Outlook which you can see in your sidebar or in your tasks section in Outlook. They are linked so marking one complete will complete it in the other. You can then make notes anywhere on the OneNote page you sent the email to. You can even timestamp the note easily with a click:
Of course you can add any kind of note (text, audio, video, picture, web clipping, and drawing) and tag any note with either the included tags or you can customize your own. If there is information to gather or steps to take while completing the thread, you can of course add a checklist.
With OneNote/Outlook integration there really is no reason to have the information you need scattered throughout your device. Hope this helps. – AK