Managing Your Email II
By: Scott Hendison      Published: May 2000

Few articles I've written have been as well received as the last one, on organizing your E-mail. I realize this is an area of interest to many people, so let's discuss another tool that may help you out.
Due to space restraints, I am only going to talk about Outlook Express, particularly version 5.0. Many of the features though, are the same in version 4.0, and many of the options can be found in other e-mail programs too. You'll just have to look for them.

Junk E-mail is a plague that nobody is immune from. Outlook has a pretty good tool for filtering unwanted e-mail out and deleting it automatically, or letting you choose what to do with it. To access this area, go to the "Tools" pulldown menu in OE (Outlook Express). Select Message Rules - Mail.

From here, it's pretty self-explanatory. For example, in the top window, choose the "Conditions" rule you want to apply. Let's pick the first one "where the From line contains people." In the second window, choose the "Action" for your rule. In this case, let's choose the "Delete it" box. Now in the third window, you'll see the underlined words "contains people". Click once on that and add the names either manually, or from your address book of the people you want to automatically delete their messages. This can be useful for the jokester sending you too many forwarded messages daily, or the pesky real estate site sending you solicitations long after you've asked them not to.

Another handy feature in the "Message Rules" area is to be able to delete, move or ignore messages without downloading file attachments. Some people insist on tying up your phone lines with huge downloads. Using the same procedure as above, you can create a rule saying "Where the message is more than size (put in your size maximum) do not download it from server." This allows you to know that a huge download is there, and get it when you choose to, instead of being forced to download it at an inconvenient time.

You can set this up to delete, forward, move, copy, or even colorize any messages from any people or groups you want to. You can even select messages that have certain words in the subject line or in the text of the message itself, and then choose what to do with them.

For example, a family can set up OE so that messages about sewing can get automatically moved to "Mom's" mail folder, messages about "Poke`mon fan club" can get automatically moved to "Kids" mail folder, messages about "NFL" get automatically moved to "Dad's" mail folder, and messages about "Adult XXX peep cam" can get automatically deleted.

No mail filters are perfect. There will always be the stray message that sneaks through by clever marketers of smut, or by entrepreneurs who know enough not to put the words "buy" or "sell" in the subject or text of their e-mail. By spending some time playing with these tools, you just may find managing your e-mail to be less of a chore, as we all continue into the digital age getting dozens, and sometimes hundreds of e-mails daily.


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