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Thanks to Julie Duschack for providing us
with directions for setting up our mail folders.

Mail Sorting (general definition)

Mail Sorting allows the reader to have their email sorted into sub folders as if someone was neatly stacking them on your desk, where they politely wait to be read. One folder might hold your QuiltArt mail while the next the postings from the Abstract Challenge discussion group, etc. This feature is not available for all browsers,

Mail Sorting

Microsoft's Outlook Express - Version 1-6
Netscape - Version 1-?
ABC Product
BDF Product

Mail Sorting - Microsoft's Outlook Express (General info, only written once per browser)

Microsoft's Outlooks Express allows you to sort your incoming emails into unlimited groupings. Mail that is automatically sorted into a sub folder, still shows as unread, but instead of your screen showing INBOX (30) to show that you have 30 unread messages, you might see the following:

QuiltArt (12)
Orchids (3)
Dog Club (7)

Your miscellaneous family mail will still drop into the inbox. So will all of the junk mail you don't filter out. But mail that is coming from a specific discussion group can easily be sorted. This allows you to read those first, or save them for later, depending upon how you feel about your other family and junk mail. <G>

Another great use for this feature is to filter out random junk mail that comes with terms in their subject lines, like "XXX" We don't have to save this mail. We sort it, and deleted it without ever seeing it.

Before we set the sorting criteria, first view your in-basket. How do you identify your mail now? For example, do certain types of mail all come with a code word in the subject line, or from a particular address? Other mail might be addressed to a particular group address. What ever makes this mail different from the rest is how we will instruct the system to sort it into folders.

Select your version of Microsoft's Outlook Express from the following list. Instructions may vary slightly from version to version. If you are not sure which version of the browser you are using, open your main screen for reading mail and look for a Help drop down menu. Click on the option titled "About Microsoft Outlook Express" to open a screen that lists the version number.

Microsoft's Outlook Express - Version 6

To set up mail sorting we need to tell the computer how to sort, and what to do with those posts. As you have your main window open to select and read mail, use the following drop down menus from the top of your screen.

MAIL Option

If this is the first time you've set up a Message Rule, click on NEW and proceed with the following instructions. When you return to this screen in the future, you will see three tab choices. Using the MAIL RULES tab, click on the NEW button on the right and proceed.

Remember when we reviewed our current InBox? Here is where you tell the system what is different about this grouping of mail as opposed to all the rest.

1. Click on the SELECT THE CODITIONS YOUR RULE areas that apply. You may select more than one if necessary.

2. Notice that as soon as you make a selection, a corresponding item appears in the RULE DESCRIPTION field. These two functions go hand in hand because while you may have told the system to sort based on the FROM or SUBJECT line, the next stage is to identify what specific word or person to look for.

3. Click on the blue word in the DESCRIPTION field. You will be taken to a new screen where you can enter the specific word or people you would like to search for. Click OK and you are returned to complete the final step in building your Mail Sorting Rule.

4. For Rules that have multiple Conditions, determine if you want both conditions to apply to every message (AND) or if only one need apply (OR). An example is shown in the FAQ section. Change from AND to OR by clicking on the blue word.


At this point, we have identified for the computer how you would like it to sort, and what specifically it should look for. Now we tell it what to do with it.


1. For our purposes, perhaps the most valuable choice is to COPY TO A SPECIFIED FOLDER.

2. Just as before, as soon as you made a higher level decision, the system prompts you in the RULE DESCRIPTION field to tell it the more specific details. In this case, you told it you want to sort this mail to a specified folder, now you have to tell it which one.

3. In most cases, you will be creating a folder as you create the rule for the first time. In the RULE DESCRIPTION, click on the word SPECIFIED folder.

4. A list of all of your available folders under Outlook Express appears. Notice that they are all located under an item called LOCAL FOLDERS. Obviously you don't want your Quilt Art mail sorted to your Sent Items, Drafts or Outbox.

Click on the NEW FOLDER button, enter a name, and hit OK. Confirm that the folder appears as you expected and hit OK to return to your New Mail Rule Window.

Hint, If you attempt this step and your new folder is not visible, look for + signs by other entries. You may have inadvertently tucked your new folder under something other then the LOCAL FOLDER. If that happens, simple click on the LOCAL FOLDER, and try again. When you are done with the entire process, go back to your regular Outlook Express desktop. Find the folder you set up in error. Right Click to select DELETE, and answer YES. The offending folder will be removed.

5. At this point you can simply hit OK, and your rule will work. If you've missed a step, the system will prompt you. I would suggest that you use the final entry box on the bottom to name your rule so you can keep track of them in the future.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Most of my Quilt Art Mail is sorting, but not all.
For groups that have both individual postings and digests, you may have to identify and add both conditions to your Rule. Also watch for posters who reply to the original sender, but carbon copy the QuiltArt list.

In cases where you have more than one condition, make sure that the rule reads "Where the To line contains '' or Where the CC line contains ''

Notice the word or
If you click on this word you have the choice of AND or OR. You want to catch all of these posts, so the correct answer is OR.

How do I use this process to get rid of Junk Mail ?
To filter out those annoying random pieces of junk mail, simply type the identifying words into the SUBJECT line field. Some obvious examples might be XX, XXX, Porn, Mortgage, The Content You Requested, Bad Credit, etc.

Instead of sorting these to a folder, simply instruct your computer to DELETE FROM SERVER. The same process will work if it is a specific sender who you would like to avoid.

I don't see any list of folders when I open OUTLOOK EXPRESS. How will I know I have mail to read ?
If your Folder List is not visible at all, go to the Tool Bar with the buttons such as Send/Recv, Create Mail, Reply, Delete, etc. Click on the FOLDER LIST button.

If you've customized your Tool Bar in the past, it may not be on your Tool Bar at all. To add it back in, right click on the tool bar and select Customize. Then add the FOLDER LIST to your display. You may move it up or down on the list so that the buttons line up in what ever order you choose. When you are done, click CLOSE.

Where can I go if I need more help?
Call your mother ?
OK, that probably won't work, but you can refer to the Outlook Express Help files.
From your main window, open the Help Menu and select the Contents and Indexes. Type in the word "sort" and a few options come up. Select "Sorting Messages" and hit the display button. Select which ever option seems to be appropriate for your questions. For example "Manage News Messages With Rules" will lead you though the process of sorting mail using Message Rules.

©2002 Julie Duschack