Email Guides and Essays
by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood,

  • Top Ten Tips for Overcoming Email Overload
  • Top Three Anti-Spam Filters

    About Overcome Email Overload with Eudora 5

    About Overcome Email Overload with Microsoft Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2002

    Frequently asked questions

    Press room

    About Kaitlin Duck Sherwood

    World Wide Webfoot Press home

  • Overcome Email Overload

    What if You Use Outlook Express?

    If you get a lot of email and use Outlook Express, I strongly advise getting Eudora instead. Outlook Express has a reasonably good junk mail filter and a very nice mailing list manager, but it just doesn't have the features that Eudora does for getting through a lot of email fast. (Note: I have no financial interest in Eudora's parent company.)

    You can use Eudora for free by looking at small, unobtrusive ads; this lets you try it out with minimal pain. Download Eudora from

    If you are unwilling to switch to Eudora, you can buy one of the other books -- there is a lot of advice that is similar. I would suggest buying the Eudora book instead of the Outlook book: Outlook Express is actually more like Eudora than like Outlook. (I think Microsoft did a disservice to the world in giving two very different products the same name.)

    About Half the Chapters Are Non-Technical

    About half of the book (either one) talks about non-technical ways of coping with your email better. For example, you can store common responses and use them over and over again. For another example, if you put "No Reply Needed" at the bottom of messages, you won't get as many messages that just say "Thank you". Chapters 5-11 don't depend much on what email program you use. Chapter 1, Introduction doesn't either.

    Chapter 4 Is Program-Specific

    Chapter 4, Move Around Your Messages Quickly, is highly specific to what email program you use. It might not help you much, but it's not a critical chapter. While most chapters tell you how to be more effective by doing different things, this chapter tells you how to be more efficient by doing the same things better.

    Chapters 2 and 3 Feature Something that Outlook Express For Windows Doesn't Have

    Chapters 2 and 3 are cover what may be the most important part of the book: how to set up rules to automatically organize and prioritize your messages. (Note: Microsoft calls them "rules" but all other programs call them "filters".) Rules take specified actions based on conditions you set. For example, you might set up a rule that moves all messages from your boss to a "Boss" folder.

    Outlook Express's rules aren't as good as Eudora's or Outlook's. Eudora and Outlook both let you assign a category to a message, then sort your inbox first by category, second by date.

    Outlook Express 6 for Mac OS will let you change the Priority of a message, and you can sort your inbox by Priority. Thus, if you don't mind hijacking the Priority and using it, you can use the same techniques as shown in Chapter 2.

    Unfortunately, Outlook Express for Windows has no way of changing an aspect of the message that you can then sort the inbox by.

    The final versions of my books really focus on using categories to organize messages. Unfortunately, Outlook Express rules don't have any way of assigning a message to a category. Outlook Express rules *can* move messages to a different folder, however. That's not as convenient (because your unread/"must-respond-to" messages are spread across several folders), but it is better than having all your messages in a jumbled heap.

    But Wait! There Might Be Hope!

    Verion 0.7.2e -- About Eudora, But Focusing on Moving to Folders
    I also have five copies left of an older version (0.7.2e) of the Eudora book from before I decided that organizing by category was the best strategy. That version of the book uses moving to folders as its basic organizing principle, so it would be more useful than either of the final versions of the Outlook or Eudora books.

    (You would have to figure out yourself which buttons to push and which menus to pull down, but that isn't that hard.)

    The cover on version 0.7.2e is laminated and wire-bound (meaning that it will lay flat). It's got a few typos, but the writing is about as crisp and clear as the final version. (For reference, the final version of the Eudora book is revision 0.8.9e.) If you would like one of the 0.7.2e books, I'll sell it to you for US$15 plus tax/shipping/handling.

    Ordering an Older Version

    If you are interested in an older version, send me email. Be sure to tell me the version number of the one you want.

    Technical Notes on Outlook Express

    Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
    Updated 30 December 2001.