The simplest way to employ the email message flags in BlackBerry OS is to assign a flag to a message you received to remind yourself of something. For example, you can flag a message from your spouse requesting that you pick up a gallon of milk on the way home from the office. And you can program your device to remind you right at 5pm to make sure you remember the grocery store stop and avoid the dog house.

Note: BlackBerry email flags work only with email messages, so you cannot flag PIN, SMS/MMS, or any other sort of messages using the default email flags feature in the BlackBerry OS.

To assign an email flag to a specific message, scroll over the email in your messages list, press your BlackBerry Menu key -- located directly to the left of your trackball/trackpad -- and choose the Flag for Follow Up option. A default flag is then assigned to the message.

You can also use a quick keyboard shortcut to assign a new flag. In your messages inbox, simply highlight a message and press the W key.

To edit or modify your flag settings, scroll over the flagged message, press the BlackBerry Menu key once again, and choose Flag Properties.

The Flag Properties screen offers up four customizable options: Request, or the specific type of flag you want to assign to a message; Colour [sic]; Status (complete or not complete); and Due Date, or when you want to be reminded.

First, you should choose the appropriate option in your Request field. Choices include Call, Follow Up, Forward, No Response Necessary, Reply All, and a Custom Request option that lets you type your own message, instructions, etc.

After selecting the proper Request option, you can pick your flag color. It's good practice to assign flag colours to specific Request types, so you eventually come to associate the colors with particular requests. For instance, you could always employ red flags for messages you need to reply to and green flags for messages that don't require responses.

Next, you can set a specific due date or reminder time to your message flags. Just scroll down to the Due field and choose Date. Once you've selected the Date option, a specific date and time appear. Scroll over and click specific sections to change the date and time to the appropriate values. Finally, press your BlackBerry Menu key and choose Save to confirm the changes.

Voilà! You've setup a BlackBerry email flag reminder.

Finally, you can go back into specific flag properties at any time and modify your choices. You can also switch the flag status from Not Complete to Completed. Doing so removes any future flag notifications you may have set. Simply follow the above process to access the Flag Properties screen and you're good to go.

You can also quickly view all your flagged email via another BlackBerry keyboard shortcut: Alt-F within your inbox displays a flagged message list. If you're a corporate BlackBerry user on a compatible BES and you've turned on your wireless reconciliation option, any and all flags you assign to messages via BlackBerry should appear in your desktop mail client, as well. And vice versa: Flags assigned to messages using your desktop client should appear in your BlackBerry mail folder.

Flagging new BlackBerry email messages before you send them

You can assign BlackBerry email flags to messages you compose, to serve as reminders to you or message receipts -- though the folks who receive the messages may need to also be using a compatible BlackBerry device and BES or your flags won't appear on their messages.

To add a flag to a new message, start composing the new email and then press your BlackBerry Menu key. Choose the Flag for Follow Up option and then set your specific flag properties according to the process described above. Save your settings, finish typing up your message, and then send it.

Removing BlackBerry email flags

Finally, you may want to remove BlackBerry email flags. You can delete message flags at any time by scrolling over a flagged email in your inbox or your flagged messages list, pressing BlackBerry Menu again, and choosing Delete Flag.

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