Organize Outlook Express Emails

This tutorial is written assuming you are using Microsoft’s Outlook Express (not Outlook, but the methods would be similar) as your email program.

If you are using another email program you should be able to figure out your specific program after you read this tutorial. The tutorial is also available for some other email programs. Check the Email archives.

This turned into a long tutorial. Wanted to cover as many bases as possible for you. If I missed something please let me know.

The tutorial was originally created for the Successful Website Marketing Class. You can substitute names that are applicable to you.

Revised: May 1, 2006

I have revised this tutorial to make it easier to restore your folders (A whole different topic so please email me directly if you want to discuss). When you restore your folders Outlook Express puts them in one long list. The list is sorted alphabetically. If you name associated folders similarly then they will be all together.

A. Make Folders

  1. Open Outlook Express and make sure you are in the Inbox View. (click Inbox in the left column if you are not).
  2. Right click Inbox and select New Folder.
  3. In the top box type SEO Techniques, select Inbox in the bottom box then click OK.

    Now you have a folder under Inbox called SEO Techniques.

  4. Right click SEO Techniques in the left column and select New Folder.
  5. In the top box type SEO Techniques Main Group, select SEO Techniques in the bottom box then click OK.

    Now you have a folder under SEO Techniques called SEO Techniques Main Group.

  6. Right click SEO Techniques in the left column again and select New Folder.
  7. In the top box type SEO Techniques Marketing Group, select SEO Techniques in the bottom box then click OK.

So, so far we have created a folder in our Inbox called SEO Techniques and it has 2 sub folders SEO Techniques Main Group and SEO Techniques Marketing Group.

Now let’s get even more organized.

  1. Right click SEO Techniques and select New Folder.
  2. Type SEO Website Development Training in the top box, select SEO Techniques in the bottom box and then click OK.
  3. Right click SEO Website Development Training and select New Folder.
  4. Type SEO CSS Tutorials in the top box, select SEO Website Development in the bottom box and then click OK.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to create the following sub folders in the SEO Website Development folder:
    • SEO CSS Tutorials
    • SEO HTML Tutorials

Now try it on your own. Create some sub folders in the SEO Main Group folder. You might want to organize them as follows:

  • SEO Main Group Guidelines
  • SEO Main Group Lesson Plan and Preparation
  • One folder for each Lesson if you are keeping them all.

    If you do this one you can sort other people’s questions and answers to specific lessons into the appropriate folder.

Ok, you have all these folders, now what?

Assuming you have not setup any rules yet in Outlook Express and all your emails are just going to your Inbox:

B. Make Email Rules

When you receive an email from the SEO Techniques Main Group (subject will have [SEO CLASS] will be within it):

Setting conditions:

  1. Select the message.
  2. In the top menu bar select Message then Create Rule from Message.
  3. In box 1:
    • Untick Where the From Line contains
    • Tick (select) Where the Subject line contains
  4. In box 3:
    • Click contains specific words (it looks like a link)
  5. Type [SEO CLASS] in the top box.
  6. Click Add then Ok.

Setting action:

  1. In box 2:
    • Tick (select) Move it to the specified folder
  2. In box 3:
    • Click specified (looks like a link)
  3. Click the plus (+) sign in front of the Inbox and your subfolders are exposed.

    Click the plus sign in front of SEO Techniques and your subfolders SEO Techniques Main Group and SEO Techniques Marketing Group are exposed.

    Select SEO Techniques Main Group. Click Ok on the right (not the one at the bottom).

    Note: You may not have to click plus signs to expose the correct folder, depending on how soon you create the rule after creating the folders.

Name the Rule:

  1. In the bottom box create a name for your rule. Something that will make sense to you later. e.g. SEO Techniques Main Group Your rule should look something like this (The screenshots were made before Cricket changed some of the group names)

Save the Rule:

  1. Click Ok at the bottom of the dialog box.
  2. Click Ok when you get the message that your rule has been created.

Now try it on your own. Create a rule for the Marketing Group and Website Development Group.

So far you have created folders and rules for the SEO Techniques Mail groups. But what do you do with the existing emails you have been saving?

C. Apply Rules to Existing Mail

This part assumes that you still have all the SEO Techniques Mail in your Inbox.

  1. Select Tools from the top menu bar then select Message Rules.
  2. Select Mail from the next list.
  3. Click Apply Now from the right group of buttons.
  4. Click Select All from the right group of buttons.
  5. Make sure the Apply to folder box says Inbox, if not use the Browse button to select it.

    If you have already been sorting your email and have rethought how you want them sorted after reading the above and creating the rules above,
    tick the include Subfolders box.

  6. Click Apply Now. You will get a message saying the rules have been applied. Click Ok.
  7. Click Close button at the bottom.
  8. Click Ok.

Look at your Inbox, all the SEO Technique messages should be gone (not really, don’t panic).

If your subfolders are not exposed, click the plus (+) sign beside SEO Techniques folder to expose your subfolders.

Click the SEO Techniques Main Group Folder and all your messages for the main group should be there.

Look at your SEO Techniques Marketing Group folder. All those messages should be there.

Look at your SEO Website Development Group folder and all those messages should be there.

Now when you pick up your mail the messages should be filed in the appropriate folder.

How do you know you have mail from the group?

If you have new mail from the Main Group in the Folders List panel (View/Layout, select Folder Bar and Folder List) the SEO Techniques Main Group Folder name will be black and a number in brackets will appear to the right of the folder name. The same thing happens when you get mail from the Marketing and Web Development groups.
(The screenshots were made before Cricket changed some of the group names)

But what about the subfolders you had me create? How do the messages get sorted into these folders?

Well there’s 2 ways:

  1. You can get fancy and create more rules that select messages with [WDT CLASS] and Basic HTML 4.01 Tutorials in the subject (for example) and move them into the SEO HTML Tutorials folder.
  2. You can drag and drop the messages into their appropriate folder.
    • Expose all subfolders in the Group folder
    • Click on the message and while keeping your finger on the mouse, drag it over to the folder you want to file it in then let go of the mouse button
    • Click the folder you dragged the message to and it should be there.

      If it’s not then you let go of the mouse when the pointer was over another folder and you are going to have to look for it and try again.

I took the fancy route and it’s not working!

What you have to understand about email rules:

  • When your email program picks up your mail it first processes the rules in place. If none of the rules apply, the mail is filed in your Inbox.
  • When the criteria of a rule (conditions) are met the rule is applied (mail is moved to the folder you told it to move it to). That’s how the mail gets sorted into the folders.
  • If you look at your rules list, the mail program starts at the top of the list and checks the message against each rule IN THE ORDER THAT THEY ARE LISTED. So if you have a rule “If the subject contains [WDT CLASS] move it to Website Development” before one like “If the subject contains [WDT CLASS] and Basic HTML 4.01 Tutorials then move it to SEO HTML Tutorials” the email is going to be moved to the Website Development folder because that is the first rule that the conditions were met.

To rectify this problem:

  1. Click Tools, Message Rules, Mail from the top menu bar.
  2. Now you have to move your basic Website Development rule BELOW all the more specific rules you created for the Website Development group:
    • Select your basic rule for the Website Development group
    • Click the Move Down button. Keep clicking the Move Down button until it is BELOW the last specific rule you created for the Website Development Group
    • Click OK when you are finished

If any of you have questions please ask. This will save you time and make life less confusing if implemented.

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