About Overcome Email Overload with Eudora 5
Other email material by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood:
Humorous looks at email:
Overcome Email Overload with Eudora 5|
Copyright © 2001 Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
Eudora has a number of features that you can use to move through your messages more quickly. If you hate to take your hands off the keyboard, Eudora's many keyboard shortcuts can streamline your work. If you prefer to do everything with a mouse, adding new buttons to the toolbar can reduce the distance your mouse travels every day.
None of these shortcuts will give you an immediate, huge time savings. However, the number of messages that you get per year multiplied by the amount of time you save on each one works out to be a significant number. Just as importantly, these shortcuts can make reading email less tedious and give you a sense of control and competence.
Bouncing back and forth from your keyboard to your mouse can get tedious, especially if you prefer to use the keyboard. One of the most common reasons people go to the mouse is to move to the next message. However, Eudora has very good keyboard shortcuts for moving to the next new message.
Pressing the arrow keys with a modifier key moves you from message to message. Eudora for Windows's default modifier key is Alt . Alt-<up-arrow> and Alt-<left-arrow> open the previous message; Alt-<down-arrow> and Alt-<right-arrow> open the next message.
If you don't like Alt , you can select a different modifier key. Select Tools -> Options... -> Miscellaneous . Next, check one of the boxes in the section titled Switch Messages with , as indicated by the arrow in Figure 24:
The Mac OS modifier key is normally Command . If you haven't chaNged the settings, typing Command-<up-arrow> or Command-<left-arrow> opens the previous message and Command-<down-arrow> or Command-<right-arrow> opens the next message. To change the modifier key, go to Special -> Settings -> Moving Around and select a different checkbox in the section labeled Arrow+these modifiers to switch messages, as shown by the arrow in Figure 25.
You might be tempted to use the arrow keys without a modifier key. Unfortunately, if you are using Mac OS and change the setting so that you don't need a modifier key to switch messages, you won't be able to use the arrow keys when editing messages.
In addition to switching messages with the arrow keys, you can move quickly through messages with the Space bar. If you have selected a message in a mailbox, Space can open the message in its own window.
If the message is long enough that it doesn't all fit in the window, Space can scroll the message down one page. If you're at the end of a message, Space can open the next message. Thus hitting the biggest key on the keyboard repeatedly can take you through the entire text of all your messages.
Mac OS Eudora normally has this behavior. Windows Eudora, however, does something different by default. To make the space bar take you to the next message, select Tools -> Options... -> Viewing Mail . Uncheck the box next to Use Microsoft's viewer and make sure there is a check mark in the box labeled Automatically open next message . Your settings should look similar to the window in Figure 26:
There is a disadvantage to unchecking the Use Microsoft's viewer box. Some messages with styled text are a little bit prettier when displayed with Microsoft's viewer than with Eudora's built-in viewer. However, if you are keyboard-oriented, being able to use the spacebar to move through messages is probably more valuable than slightly better looking messages.
With Mac OS, you can set what you want to happen when you are at the end of a message and hit Space . By default, Eudora opens the next unread message instead of the next message. This is a very useful behavior: usually you don't want to see messages you've already read.
However, you might want to switch temporarily to move to the next message--read or unread--if you need to hunt through a large block of old messages. To do this, change the After finishing a message setting in Special -> Settings... -> Moving Around (shown in Figure 25).
Note that "next unread message" really means "next unread message as sorted in this mailbox." For example, suppose that you go through three messages in the same order that they are sorted in the mailbox. If you read one message, skip one, and then read the last one, then there will not be a "next unread message." The one that you skipped is " before"-- not "next" after--the message you just finished.
As discussed in Separate "To-Do" Messages from "Done" Messages, if you prioritize with labels and filter your messages after you read them, you can move through your messages very quickly by alternating between "show the next message" and "manually filter" commands:
If you are looking at a message in its own window and you manually filter that message, Eudora will first close that message. Eudora for Mac OS will open the next unread message in its own window. Eudora for Windows will not open a new message.
If you are using Eudora for Windows, you can transfer a message to another mailbox by pressing Alt-r . This will bring up the Transfer menu. Then, typing the first letter(s) of a mailbox will move the message into that mailbox. This is useful for transferring "to-do" messages in your medium priority mailboxes into the inbox, as discussed in Separate "To-Do" Messages from "Done" Messages.
Using Eudora for Windows, if you read a message in the message Message Preview Pane, transferring the message will make the Message Preview Pane show the next message. If the message is open in its own window, transferring it will only close the window. Again, if you are using Windows, you probably want to use the Message Preview Pane.
If you use Mac OS, transferring a message to another mailbox will cause the next unread message to appear, regardless of whether you're reading the message in the Message Preview Pane or in its own window. (Note that Eudora for Mac OS doesn't have a keyboard shortcut for transferring a message. You either have to transfer it with a menu command, by dragging it to a mailbox, or with a button in the toolbar.)
If you are using Paid or Sponsored mode, you can customize your toolbar. If there are menu operations or keystrokes that you do frequently, turning them into one-click operations can save you time. For example, if you prefer the mouse to the keyboar and use Eudora for Mac OS (which doesn't have built-in toolbar buttons for moving to the next message), you might like to add a button for Command-<down-arrow>.
You can even use menu commands that are not built in. For example, if you save a search, that search becomes a menu item. You then can add a button to the toolbar to run that search. (How to Find Related Messages Over and Over shows how to save searches.)
There are so many different actions that a button could take that they are divided into general categories by the tabs along the top, then into smaller categories by the vertical list on the left-hand side of the window. The pictures on the right are what the button will actually look like in the toolbar.
To move a toolbar button to a different place on the toolbar, hold the Alt key while dragging the button to its new location. To remove a toolbar button, hold the Alt key while dragging the button off the toolbar.
I believe that moving messages out of the inbox by filtering (as discussed in Separate "To-Do" Messages from "Done" Messages) is the most efficient way to mark messages "done." If you agree, you can skip to How to Find Messages.
Some people delete each message as soon as they finish with it. This makes seeing to-do items easy: the inbox has to-do items and nothing else. However, this means they can't refer to old messages to help them:
If you delete some things but not others, you have to take some time to decide what to keep and what to throw away. This might only take a tiny bit of time, but it adds up when you do it over and over again. It is faster to keep everything.
It also probably isn't worth your time to periodically purge your files in hopes of finding old messages more quickly in the future. Find and Search work so well and so quickly that cleaning out old messages probably won't save as much time as it takes.
Disk space was once expensive. It was not economically possible to keep all of your email messages. But now, text messages are now ridiculously small compared to the size of hard disks. You probably won't ever need to throw away text messages. (Attachments are different. Attachments are often big enough that you may need to clean out your attachments directory periodically.)
You can put a button in the toolbar for marking a message Unread . If you are using Eudora for Windows, you can switch a message's status quickly between Read and Unread by pressing Shift-Space . Eudora for Mac OS does not have a keyboard shortcut.
If you are using Mac OS, you can save a search that will show you all of your unread messages, sorted by mailbox. Saving searches is covered in How to Find Related Messages Over and Over.
When you close Eudora, it remembers where your windows are and reopens them when you restart Eudora. That means that you can mark a "to-do" message by opening it in its own window and leaving the window open until you have finished with the message. You can then see at a glance how many messages you need to deal with.
You could even choose to use your filters to open your high-priority messages in their own window, as discussed in How to Show Importance by (Not) Opening Messages and Mailboxes. Eudora opens messages on the left-hand side of the screen, so moving "to-do" windows to the right-hand side of your screen is an easy way to separate new messages and old "to-do" messages.
You can then mark messages "done" just by closing them. To close a window, click in the close box or press Command-w (Mac OS) or Control-w (Windows). (Don't worry that Eudora will close the messages when you quit the program. When you re-start, Eudora will re-open any windows that were open when you quit.)
Mac OS users will probably like this technique more than Windows users. Eudora for Mac OS has a transparent background, while the Windows version has a gray background. If you make the Eudora for Windows window large enough for all your messages, you'll have trouble seeing other programs. The title bar on Mac OS windows also takes less room than title bars under Windows.
If you need more room on your screen, you can minimize (Windows) or roll up (Mac OS) the message window. You can also reduce the size of your windows with the techniques you will learn in How to Make More Room on Your Monitor.
You might be concerned that you'll end up with too many open windows to manage. This certainly can be a problem, but you probably won't have as many windows open as you think. Only a small fraction of your new messages will turn into "to-do" items. You might only have a few open messages and a few open mailboxes under normal circumstances.
A message that you can't find is just as gone as a message you deleted. Fortunately, Eudora has simple but powerful features for finding messages. I assume you're already familiar with the Special/Edit -> Find -> Search tool, which is pretty easy to find and figure out. There are a number of ways to find messages that are not as obvious or intuitive. This section will describe different ways to find messages.
If you are sure that you are familiar with all the possible ways to find messages, you can skip to Move to the Next Message Easily. However, Eudora has many little tricks that are not obvious. I recommend reading this section.
As mentioned briefly in Group by Category, Eudora can rearrange mailboxes in many different ways. This can help you find messages faster.
Holding Option (Mac OS) or Shift (Windows) down while clicking on a heading does a reverse sort. For example, if you Option -click /Shift -click on Subject , Eudora will sort all the messages from Z to A by subject.
Eudora can also sort by multiple columns. If you are using Eudora for Windows, hold down the Control key and click on several columns one after another. Eudora will sub-sort the messages, with the first column clicked being most important and the last column clicked being least important. For example, suppose you Control -click on Who , then Subject , then Date . Eudora will group each correspondent's messages together. For each correspondent, all the messages will be sorted by subject. For each correspondent and subject, the messages will be sorted by date.
Eudora for Windows puts a little triangle in the header of the column that the mailbox is sorted by. If you've sorted the mailbox by multiple columns, all of the sort columns will have little triangles, with a tiny number inside that tells what that column's sort order is. For example, look at the triangles indicated by the arrows in Figure 30. They show that this mailbox is sorted first by Label, second by Date, and third by Subject:
If you are using Eudora for Mac OS, you don't have to hold a key down to sort by multiple columns, but you have to click on the column headers in the reverse order from Windows. For example, suppose you want the same effect as mentioned in earlier: each correspondent's messages grouped together, then sorted by subject, then by date. You need to click on Date first, then Subject , then Who .
You might be tempted to separate all the Read messages from the Unread messages by sorting on Read (the column with the little blue ball at the top). This works reasonably well for Windows, but not for Mac OS.
Under Mac OS, as soon as you open a message, Eudora changes its status to Read and moves the message to the Read section of the list. If you try to move to the "next" message, Eudora will take you to a message that you have already read!
If you type something while a mailbox is the active window, Eudora shows the message with the Who or Subject entry that is alphabetically closest to what you typed. (Eudora uses the Who column unless you have sorted by Subject .) For example, if you sort by subject and type t , the mailbox will change to highlight a message whose Subject starts with T. If no messages start with T, Eudora will highlight the message with the subject line that starts with the letter closest to T.
If you type quickly enough, Eudora looks for a whole word. For example, you could type inter if you wanted to find all messages with the subject of interview candidate instead of messages with subject of Italian distributor or icky smell in cafeteria . However, if you pause for too long between letters, Eudora starts a new search with the next letter. For example, if you pause between int and er , you might end up looking at a message with the subject erase my hard drive?!?!
If the mailbox is not sorted by Subject , Eudora starts by looking for the letters that you typed in first names. If there are no first names with those letters, it then looks for the letters in the last (second) name. For example, suppose your inbox has messages from
Eudora can help you find related messages. If you Option -click (Mac OS) or Alt -click (Windows) on a message line in a mailbox window, then Eudora will reorder the mailbox to bring together and highlight all the messages with the same contents as the column you clicked on. To restore the normal order, just click on one of the column headers.
This technique works extremely well. Typing the name or subject that you are looking for, then Option / Alt -clicking on the name or subject is much faster than doing a Special/Edit -> Find -> Search . I find myself using Option / Alt -click many times each day.
If you are using Mac OS, you can save a search to use over and over again. Select Special -> Find -> Search and set up the search that you want. Then select File -> Save As and give that search a name. You can then run that search at any time by selecting Special -> Find -> (name of your search) and then clicking on the Search button .
For example, you might create a search to find all unread messages in mailboxes other than Out , Trash , and z-ProbableJunkEmail . If you name it Unread , then you can run that search at any time by selecting Special -> Find -> Unread , then clicking on the Search button. (And now that you've got a menu action for it, you can make a toolbar button for it.)
You can keep track of your messages more easily if you can see them all. Eudora displays many pieces of information that you might not need to see. Hiding that information will give you more room on your monitor for information you care about.
If all of a group's messages are in their own windows, you don't need to see a preview of it. You might want to close the Message Preview Pane in some or all of your mailboxes to give you more room on the screen. With Mac OS, to close the Message Preview Pane, click on the triangle at the left of the strip between the list of messages and the Message Preview Pane, as indicated by the arrow in Figure 33:
While Mac OS users can open and close the Message Preview Pane on a mailbox-by-mailbox basis, Windows users must either open or close all Message Preview Panes together. Windows users need to select Tools -> Options... , then select the Viewing Mail window. Uncheck the box next to Show message preview pane .
Eudora normally shows many columns in mailbox windows. You probably don't need to see all of the columns. For example, once you become familiar with the color-coding of your labels, you probably don't need to see the Label column. You might also find that you never look at the Size , Server , and Mood (Mac OS) columns or the Size , Server Status , and Mood Watch (Windows) columns.
You can control which columns appear by selecting Special -> Settings... -> Mailbox Display (Mac OS) or Tools -> Options... -> Mailboxes (Windows) and unchecking the boxes next to columns you don't care about, as shown by the arrow in Figure 34:
There are many more shortcuts in Eudora than I covered in this chapter. I cover more in later chapters, but you might want to look quickly through the others. To see a list of all of the keyboard shortcuts, select Help -> Modifiers and Shortcuts (Mac OS) or Help -> Modifiers -> Index and type in keyboard shortcuts (Windows).
Go up to Table of Contents
Go back to Chapter 3 - Useful Filter Recipes
Go on to Chapter 5 - Reduce the Number of Incoming Messages