Managing E-mail

If you're like most people, your e-mail box is overflowing with stuff that you don't know what to do with. Maybe you've been e-mailed driving directions, recipes, photographs, jokes, or business items that you know you want to keep, so you just leave them sitting in your "In Box". I see peoples "In Boxes" that have over 100 items or more that they just don't want to delete for some reason or another. This leads to having to sort through dozens or even hundreds of messages to find exactly the one you want.

That's not so bad if you know the sender's name, or the date it was received, or even the subject. You do know that you can sort the messages in your In Box by with a simple click on the small toolbar immediately above your top message, right? Just click on the word "subject" and all your messages are grouped alphabetically by the subject line. The same goes for the word "from" and for the "received" date.

Nearly every e-mail program I've seen will allow you to create your own folders in your mail program to help you clean out your In Box. In Outlook Express, the current Microsoft Windows e-mail program, it's very simple. Open Outlook express. Left Click on the left side of your screen to highlight your "Local Folders" icon. Then right click with your mouse and select "new folder". A dialog box pops up, prompting you to enter the name of the folder. Type whatever you want to call it and hit enter. That's it! Then you can just click and drag messages from your In Box" to the appropriate folder you've created, and access them whenever you like.You can also right click messages, and choose "move to folder".

If you really want to get advanced with your organization skills, you'll see that you can actually create sub-folders within another mail folder. To see how easy that is, follow the instructions above to create a folder called "relatives". Once you do that, do it again, but in step one, left click on the "relatives" folder instead of the "Local Folders" icon. You can then just duplicate your effort and create sub-folders for all of your relatives that have ever sent you e-mail. Then all you'll have to do is just click and drag those e-mails to the right name under the "relatives" folder, and you'll have all of your family e-mail communications archived for easy review.

Whatever e-mail program you are using will have nearly the same instructions as these. In Netscape mail, the first folder to highlight is called "Local Mail" instead of "Local Folders". Then the process is the same. You can even create your sub folders right from the same dialog box that pops up to name the folder. If you're not sure where to put the new folder, just put it as a sub folder of "Local Mail" or "Local Folders", then you'll always have it showing for easy "click and dragging". Just experiment a little. You can always delete a mistake.

For most people, e-mail has become a part of every day life. It can really be a time saving increase to your efficiency, if you learn to use it properly, but it can also be a time sucking exercise in frustration (at least that's what my father thinks). I hope these tips help you to become more efficient, and enjoy your computer just a little bit more.

This article has been reproduced with kind permission from Scott Hendison, who is a computer & internet consultant living in Portland Oregon and works with companies all over the world. His website is


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