Computer Tip: Working with MS Outlook – part 1

Here are a couple of tips when working with Outlook:

If you are an Email pack rat [that is you keep just about every Email that comes in or goes out] or one of those people who tend to open Emails but forget to delete them then maybe it is a better idea to split your mail mailbox into multiple parts. If you aren’t part of a company [i.e. individual using Outlook], move sent items and inbox items from different years into their own personal folder. For example, create a personal folder for 2011, name the folder [from Personal Folder] 2011, create an Inbox and Sent Items folders and dump the Inbox and Sent Items from your main folder into the 2011 respective folders. On the other hand, if you work for a company or occasionally have various projects that you work on, you may want to follow the above but separate folders by project. In some cases, you can also do it by people who send a lot of mail or with large attachments.

When you do the above [especially if you have thousands of messages in your Inbox], you will notice that your Inbox is more responsive when opening, search for recent Emails, etc. [Unfortunately, you will have to dig harder to find older messages.]

In conjunction with the above tip, you need to compress the personal folder(s) used. Even though you may have deleted a message [and it’s not in Deleted Items], it is still being stored in your personal folder. The personal folder is like a database, you delete a record but it is still technically there. Therefore you need to compact [or purge] the database. To do so, exit Outlook. Optionally, make a backup of the personal folder(s). Go into the Control Panel. Find Mail (32-bit) [or Mail]. Click on Data Files. Highlight the personal folder and click on the Settings button. Click on the Compact Now button. Depending on the your system’s CPU, speed of your hard disk, how much mail you have, this could take anywhere from a few minutes to hours. A slow system could even take a day. [Note: If running on a laptop, you may want to disable the sleep or hibernation option temporarily.] After the personal folder is compacted, Outlook should be a bit speedier.

Note that if you keep mail both on the server and locally, then the first option to split Emails into other folders may cause some problems. As an example, old mail may return to the Inbox even though it may already be in a personal folder elsewhere.

As usual, these are just tips. Use at your own risk. Test before using.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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