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Monday, January 2, 2012

1214. Preprocess email

I organize my files carefully into folder, and I’d like to do something similar with my email. I see how to create folders in my email client, but want to automatically route emails to various folders based on the project they’re associated with. How can I do that?

If you receive email that you want to keep, but you want it to be routed to another folder besides your Inbox so that you can organize the messages, all you need to do is set up an email rule. (Almost every email system supports some sort of rule-based email organization, and even if your server does not, many email client applications add their own email rules.)
These rules and filters can be based on a number of different criterion, including the email sender, or perhaps if you were specifically in the TO or CC address. You can create rules that filter email based upon words or phrases in the subject or body of the email. The email can then be routed, deleted, or saved in other folders.
You can often apply rules when you send the email, as well, so you could, for example, have the email you send to a friend automatically stored in a specific folder after being sent.
All of the features of these rules are based upon your email provider and the email client you use. Examine the help information for your email system to determine what the email system can do.
Be aware that if you set up a rule in client software (like Outlook, Thunderbird, or Entourage), and if you work on multiple computers, you will need to create that rule on all your computers—it’s possible that the client will supply a rule import/export feature to make this process simpler. If you use multiple computers, you may find it more useful to set up rules on the email server (Gmail, Windows Live Mail, and Yahoo all support this feature, as do most other email servers). That way, the rules you create apply on the server, before you retrieve your email, and the rules apply for all your computers.

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