Sorting E-Mail

Some people like to keep their inbox clean, while others keep a copy of every message they have ever received. Those of you who are e-mail pack rats should enjoy this issue's tip.

Keeping all your e-mail in your inbox not only presents a daunting list of messages to wade through, but will actually slow down your mail software, which has to keep track of all those missives. Sorting e-mail into subfolders will make messages easier to find and speed things up, too.

For this tip we will discuss Outlook Express 5, a very common mail program. Other software such as Outlook, Pegasus, or the excellent PMMail work in a similar fashion.

Outlook Express stores mail messages in folders under its Local Folders storage area. By default the user sees folders called Inbox, Sent Items, and the like. To create a new folder select the File/New/Folder... menu item. A dialog box appears, allowing you to select the parent folder for the one you want to create. Select the Local Folders item, type a name, and click OK. The new folder appears in the Local Folders list. To move messages into your new folder, select the Inbox, and simply drag and drop the messages. Use the CTRL and Shift keys to select multiple messages at once.

Advanced users can even sort messages automatically. Select the Tools/Message Rules/Mail... menu item to set up a Mail Rule. For example in the dialog that appears, check Where the Subject line contains specific words and Move it to the specified folder. Click the blue words under the Rule Description area to enter the words Outlook Express should look for in the subject of incoming messages, and to tell the program to move the messages automatically into your new folder.

October 2001

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