What Are Email Message Priorities?

The majority of email services and programs use message priorities to indicate what is and is not important. Prioritization of messages can be applied manually or automatically, and messages can also be marked as low priority or unimportant.

How Prioritizing Email Marking Works

Certain email services and programs enable you to mark outgoing messages as important or unimportant manually. When you’re ready to send the email, you can designate it as such.

In the Inbox, emails with the highest priority may be bolded, highlighted, starred, or otherwise flagged. Less critical messages may be grayed out or relegated to the bottom of the list. Again, the specifics will vary according to the recipient’s email program.

Certain email providers, such as Gmail, automatically set an email’s priority level if the sender does not specify one. It assigns a priority to the message and moves it to the “Important” section of your Inbox. This feature is based on predicted behavior and varies depending on who you email and whether the message was generated automatically or was sent by a real person.

Other email clients allow you to manually change the importance of emails. This is useful when a sender frequently uses the high priority/important flag when they shouldn’t, or when you want all emails from a specific sender to be marked as important.

Why It Is Important

Keeping important emails in the foreground enables you to focus on them rather than on unimportant emails. It’s one of the most efficient and effective modes of communication, and interacting with emails on your terms and according to your priorities enhances the experience.

Depending on the email client you’re using, the email client may send notification of a new email only if the message is deemed important. Distractions are reduced by removing non-critical emails from your notifications without deleting them.

How to Configure Email Priority

When composing an email, many email clients allow you to specify the message’s priority. Typically, it is located in the compose box.

In some email clients, such as Gmail, classifying an outgoing email as important is as simple as adding a descriptor to the subject line, such as [URGENT].

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