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This chapter is from the book

Handle Email

As with snail mail, you should get into the habit of dealing with messages right away so that they don't pile up. You can delete messages you don't need. For those messages you want to keep, you may print a hard copy and then delete the original, or you can save the original, but move it to a different folder so that your Inbox is uncluttered. These habits will keep your Inbox organized so that you see only a pertinent set of messages.

Windows saves a copy of all sent messages. Also, when you delete a message, it is not really deleted, but moved from the Inbox to the Deleted Items folder. You can go through these files, as needed, to find copies of correspondence. You should also periodically clean out these folders so that they don't become cluttered.

On occasion you may want to print a hard copy of a message. For instance, suppose that someone sends you directions to a party. You can print the directions and take them with you. You also may want to print and save a hard copy of messages with important information such as an online order confirmation.

Deleting a Message

It's a good idea to weed out old, unneeded messages from the Inbox. To delete a message:

  1. Select the message you want to delete. You can select it in your Inbox, or you can delete an open message.

  2. Click the Delete button.

Emptying Your Deleted Items Folder

For sensitive messages, you may not want to keep even a copy in the Deleted Items folder. Instead, you can permanently delete the message. To do so, open the Deleted Items folder, select the message, and click the Delete button. When prompted to confirm the deletion, click Yes to permanently delete the message.

If you are sure you won't need any messages, you can clean out the entire folder. Click Edit and then select Empty 'Deleted Items' Folder. Confirm the deletion by clicking Yes.

Undeleting a Message

You can retrieve a message you accidentally deleted. To undelete a message:

  1. In the Folder list, click the Deleted Items folder. You see the messages that have been deleted.

  2. Click the message you want to undelete.

  3. Drag the message from the message header pane to one of the folders in the Folders list. For instance, drag the message from Deleted Items to Inbox.

Printing a Message

You can keep a hard copy of a message. To print a message:

  1. Select the message from the Outlook Express window or open the message.

  2. Click the Print button.

  3. Figure 3.11Figure 3.11 Select any options for printing the message and then click OK.

  4. Click Print to print the message.

When handling messages, keep these tips in mind:

  • You can sort messages to make them easy to find. You can sort by any of the columns, including From, Subject, and Received Date (the default). You might, for instance, sort by From so that you can see or find a message from a particular person. To sort, click the column heading. To sort in reverse sort order, click the column heading again.

  • As mentioned, you should periodically clean out your other mail folders, including your Deleted Items folder. To quickly get rid of the messages in this folder, first check to make sure there aren't any messages you need to keep. If so, move these messages to a different folder. Then click Edit and click Empty 'Deleted Items' Folder. Confirm the deletion by clicking Yes. You can clean out other folders, such as Sent Items, by selecting that folder. Then select the messages to delete and click the Delete button. Confirm the deletion by clicking Yes.

  • You can mark a message as read (or unread) so that it doesn't appear in bold (or it does!) You can also flag messages. For instance, you may want to flag a message for follow-up. To mark a message as read/unread, click Edit and then select the Mark as Read or Mark as Unread command. To flag a message, click Message, Flag Message. Outlook Express adds a flag icon to the message.

  • Figure 3.12Figure 3.12 You can flag messages that require your attention later.

  • If you can't find a message by scanning through the message list(s), you can search for it. You can search for a message based on the sender, recipient, subject, or content. Click Edit, Find, Message. In the Find Message dialog box, click in the text box next to the item you want to search and then type or select a value. Click Find Now. Outlook Express searches the messages and displays any matches in the lower half of the dialog box. You can double-click any message to open it.

  • If you are working on a detailed message and it's not complete, you can save it to your Drafts folder. You can then open the message again later to finish it. To save a message, click File, Save. You see a message stating that the message was saved to your Drafts folder. Click OK. To reopen the message, click Drafts in the Folders list and then double-click the message to open it.

Search by Date

You can also search by date if you don't know the contents or details of the message but know when it was sent. You can select to view messages received before or after the date you select.

Figure 3.13Figure 3.13 Type what you want to find in the appropriate search box and then click Find Now to search.

Organizing Messages You Want To Keep

You'll be surprised at how quickly the messages pile up in your Inbox. As mentioned, you should delete any messages you don't need, but what about those you want to keep? So that your Inbox isn't cluttered with old messages, you can create mail folders and store messages you want to keep. For instance, you might save messages for a project. Or if you like to keep copies of good jokes (jokes are probably the number one type of email message), you can set up a folder for these messages.

First, create the mail folder. Then you can move any messages to this folder. To create a folder, follow these steps:

  1. Click Local Folders in the Folder list. Doing so ensures that the new folder will be placed at the same level of existing folders.

  2. Click File, New, and then Folder. You see the Create Folder dialog box.

  3. Type the folder name and click OK to create the folder.

As soon as the folder is created, you can move messages to this (or any other folder). Follow these steps:

  1. Select the message to move.

  2. Drag the message from the message pane to the folder in the Folders list. The message is moved.

Figure 3.14Figure 3.14 Type the folder name here to create a new mail folder.

Figure 3.15Figure 3.15 The easiest way to move a message is to drag and drop it.

Many users have trouble dragging and dropping, so if you prefer, you can move a message by using a menu command. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Select the message you want to move.

  2. Click the Edit menu and then select Move to Folder. You see the Move dialog box.

  3. Copy Message

    You can also copy a message. You might want to copy messages if they relate to two different projects, for instance. To copy a message, follow the same steps but select the Copy to Folder command.

    Figure 3.16Figure 3.16 Select the folder in which to place the message(s).

  4. Expand the folder list by clicking the plus sign next to Local Folders. Then click the folder in which you want to place the selected message.

  5. Click OK. The message is moved to this folder.

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