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E-mail: Folders, Filters and Spam
Remember when mail was delivered only once a day? You would sift through the mail, drop the junk into the trash, read some letters, and put others aside to deal with later. Now, twenty-four hours a day, e-mail pours into your Inbox, much of it unsolicited (and often bizarre). It takes time to review all that mail. There are letters to answer, file or delete, and attachments to review.
Organizing your e-mail will make your work much easier and less time-consuming. You can set up folders for filing letters, and filter your mail automatically. Finding particular letters that you have saved can also be done quickly and easily.
Setting up new folders:
Your program comes with certain standard folders like the Inbox. You can add your own personal folders to the folder list. For instance, if you correspond a great deal with your siblings, you can create and store their mail in a folder called Family.
To set up your own folders, try RIGHT-CLICKING the top level of your folder list (in Outlook Express, for example, it is called 'Local Folders'). In the menu that appears, click New Folder, and name it Family.
The new folder appears in your list.
When the next letter from your sister arrives in your Inbox, click the letter AND hold down the mouse key. (By clicking and not releasing the mouse, you are picking up the letter.) Drag it towards the folder list. The Family folder will be highlighted when your mouse touches it. Release the mouse. The new letter is now in the Family folder.
Filtering your mail Back to top
Computer programs often have features that can be automated and e-mail programs are no exception. The best of these features is the filtering option. A filter pre-checks your mail and decides what to do with it based on rules that you have set up.
For instance, you can decide that any e-mail that offers you free prescriptions on-line should be sent directly to the trash. Or that mail from a favorite person should be flagged as a high priority, or that letters dealing with your business should be immediately placed in an appropriately named folder.
How do you set up the rules? Your e-mail program has what's often called
a "wizard" to help you do this. The wizard takes you through
the process of setting up criteria for examining the mail.
First, you tell the filter what to look for in all incoming mail: a particular sender, certain words in the subject or the body of the message.
Then you tell the program what action to take when it encounters those words. Some common actions are deleting a letter or sending it to a particular folder.
Once the rules are set up, they are automatically applied to all incoming mail, saving you a lot of time.
So how does this help me with junk mail? Back to top
On any given day, you probably find mail in your Inbox offering to enlarge specific parts of your body, to sell you products you have no use for, to involve you in harebrained money-earning schemes, or to introduce you to pornographic internet sites. Junk mail (also called 'Spam') can be intrusive, offensive and, at best, a waste of your time.
Your e-mail program, however, does offer you some measure of defense against the Spam plague. Rules can be set to identify letters that contain certain words or phrases and send them straight to the Deleted Items folder. You can also select offensive letters and add their senders to the Blocked Senders list. If Mr. X sends me Spam, and I place his name on the Blocked Senders list, none of his letters will ever get through to my Inbox again.
How can I find a particular letter? Back to top
You received a letter from David Farb sometime in the late spring. But
you have 200 messages in your Inbox and you want to find it quickly.
In the From column, you see the Sender of the letter; in the subject,
a title describing the contents of the mail. Received gives you the date
and time, Size tells you how 'heavy' the letter is (a letter with an attachment
will be heavier than one without, for example).
Click it again and the mail is sorted from Z to A. Try the other headers and see how your mailbox changes.
Now let's find David's letter. Click the From header. The mail is now sorted alphabetically by name. Scroll down to the D section and you see his letter.