Organising Your Mail

Published Date
01 - Jun - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Jun - 2006
Organising Your Mail
If you use Web mail services such as GMail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc., you don't need to read further. But do read on if you use Outlook 2003 which, with its plethora of features, is without a doubt the best e-mail client out there!

Regular use of e-mail clients coupled with the daily chaos of a workplace can easily result in your Inbox becoming ridiculously cluttered. Here are some tips on how to set up and organise your mailbox, and make the most out of MS Outlook 2003.

STEP1. Group Similar Messages
In Outlook 2003, all messages are delivered to the Inbox. By creating separate folders, you can arrange the mails properly. Create folders according to teams, projects, and departments-or categorise them in any way that makes sense to you.

Creating new mail folders

Go to the All Mail folder, right-click on Inbox and then select New Folder. Single-click the new folder and then rename it as you like. Now, if you want to create more sub-folders under this new folder, repeat the above process.

Sort e-mails by any criteria you choose

STEP2. Sort E-Mails By
You can specify how Outlook sorts incoming mails. They can be sorted by Date, From, To, Size, Flag, Importance, Subject and Conversation.

Creating "virtual" folders

To set the default view, go to the View menu, select Arrange By, and choose the option that suits you best. Every time Outlook starts, it will sort the new mails according to whatever settings you chose.

STEP3. Virtual Folders
While sorting does help in quick retrieval of mails, one still needs to search for them. Outlook 2003 allows creation of virtual folders for search. By default, Outlook has three search folders-for Large mails, Follow up, and Unread mails. You can go about making as many search folders as you like. Creating virtual folders helps keep together mails that pertain to a particular project, meeting, and so on.

To make new search folders, right-click on Search Folders in the All Mail Folders window, and then select New Search Folder. In the following dialog box, you can select from the predefined search criteria, or you can define custom search criteria. 

STEP4. Keep Junk At Bay
Outlook provides an inbuilt Junk filter that diverts unsolicited mails to a separate folder. You can create a White List of senders who will never be blocked, and also mark as junk the few mails that slip through the junk filter.

The junk filter settings in Outlook 2003

To turn on the Junk filter, Go to Tools > Options > Preferences. Under E-mail, click on Junk E-mail. In the next dialog box, specify the level of junk e-mail protection-there are four options: No Automatic Filtering, Low, High, and Safe List Only. If you get loads of spam, you might want to set the filter to High-but remember to regularly check the junk folder for mails that have wrongly been marked as junk!

STEP5. Smart Rules
Mailbox rules are a smart way of automating manual work. For example, you can use them to move specific mails to separate folders, mark meetings, auto-delete mails from specific people, etc. Mail rules will save you lot of time and are an effective way of organising your mailbox.

Set up filters so mails go where they should

To set rules, go to Tools > Rules and Alerts. In the Rules And Alerts window, go to the E-mail Rules tab. Click on New Rule, which opens the Rule Wizard. Outlook already has some predefined templates: you can start defining rules using them, or start with a blank rule.                                    

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