The information given here is for Outlook Express - the most common email client. But the information is broadly the same for all email software.

Email is the 'killer application' of the web and has established itself as one of the most useful business tools today.
Outlook Express(OE) though supplied free as part of the 'Windows bundle' is a powerful piece of software - than can be made to work even better for you.

Other email clients, as email programs are known, like Thunderbird or MS Outlook (paid for as part of MS Office suite) will offer you even more.

1. Make new folders.

Like a filing cabinet with different folders, OE can quickly be expanded by right mouse clicking on 'Local Folders' and add 'New Folder'.

This can be 'Business', 'Private' a mailing list you subscribe to.

Why should you want more folders? Well, next we are going to tell OE which emails to put in which folder using Message Rules.

2. Message Rules

These are a really powerful feature of email clients which will tell the email software which emails to put where - and even delete SPAM for you.

In OE go to 'Tools' > 'Message Rules' > 'Mail' > 'New...'

These rules are pretty self explanatory. You must create a folder (see 1. above) before your can send mail to it. You can make rules based on what account the email is sent to, what email account it comes from, what is in the subject line, what is in the body of the message and more...

These rules can work alone or in a series of rules. Be sure you change the default 'and' for two or more rules to 'or' (see red ring on right). Otherwise the incoming email will need to fulfill all the rules and not just one of them.

I run 15 rules. Rule #4 shown here deletes SPAM and marks it as read.

Whereas Rule #3 shown here diverts all email from a yahoo group I am a member of to a specific folder for all mail from that group.


You can test your email rules by sending yourself an email which fulfills a rule and see if it obeys it. If it doesn't work it's likely to be your setup of the rule that is wrong.

3. Email Searching

I hate filing about as much as retrieving information through paper files.

Good news! Your email client will do it all for you.

I only delete SPAM. The rest of my sent and received emails stay in 'Sent' and 'Inbox' and assorted other folders. I have some 20,000 emails occupying a few megabytes of disc space. When I change computers I take my old emails with me.

Using the 'Find' (magnifying glass icon) facility in IE any email can be located in seconds.