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Managing Outlook 2007 Folders

written by: Meryl K Evans•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 7/5/2011

Get things done with a well-organized email box!

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    Task management experts recommend having few email messages in your inbox. It doesn't mean you need to delete them, but to act on them and file them in a folder structure that works for you.

    You can find the folders in the Navigation Pane under either Personal Folders or Mailbox. You can also access the Folder List by clicking the Folder icon at the bottom of the Navigation Pane. Click the plus sign to expand a list and the minus sign to collapse the list.

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    Creating Folders

    Those who work with multiple clients or projects might consider creating a folder for each client or project. Or create one folder called "Client" or "Project" and then create subfolders for each client and project.

    Create a new folder:

    1. Select New and Folder from the File menu, or use the Ctrl+Shift+E shortcut.
    2. Enter a name for the folder in the Name box.
    3. Leave Mail and Post Items as the selected item in Folder contains.
    4. Select the item where you want the folder created.
    5. Click OK.

    Create a subfolder in the new folder:

    1. Right-click the name of the new folder.
    2. Select New Folder.
    3. Enter a name for the folder in the Name box.
    4. Leave Mail and Post Items as the selected item in Folder contains.
    5. Confirm the new folder appears highlighted.
    6. Click OK.
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    Move Messages into Folders

    A folder doesn't have to exist when you want to move a message into a new folder. You can create the folder with the message open. Do the following to move the message into a new folder:

    1. Click Move to Folder from the Actions group.
    2. Click Other Folder.
    3. Click New from the Move Item to window.
    4. Enter a name for the folder in the Name box.
    5. Leave Mail and Post Items as the selected item in Folder contains.
    6. Select the item where you want the folder created.
    7. Click OK.

    To move a message into an existing folder, click "Move to Folder" from the message's ribbon and select the folder name. You can also drag the message from the inbox or folder and drop it into the desired folder.

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    Categorize Messages by Color

    Color categories provide a visual tool to aid in quickly finding relevant messages. Create and name categories to identify messages related to meetings and contacts. Assign a color to messages of business or personal nature. Give major projects their own colors to better manage and organize the projects' information throughout Outlook since color categories work with Calendar, Contacts and Tasks. For more on Color Categories, see Chapter 10. You can assign as many categories to an item as you need.

    Right-click any message, select "Categorize" and pick the category to instantly apply the new category to the selected message, or click "All Categories" to assign more than one category or to modify, add, delete and rename the categories.

    Click the category icon from the Standard toolbar to access the categories list.

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    Use Search Folders

    Search folders create virtual folders with items matching the search criteria. You may search folders e-mails from a specific individual. The results from this search appear in a single folder even though the actual messages live in other folders.

    Note: Virtual folders are folders that look like regular folders except their items live in a different folder.

    Outlook comes with three default Search Folders: Categorized Mail, Large Mail (messages over 100 KB in size) and Unread Mail. Click these anytime in the Navigation Pane for a list of messages. Note the Unreal Mail folder lists all unread messages not just those in the Inbox.

    Tip: To customize an existing search folder, right-click the folder, select "Customize this Search Folder" and click Criteria.

    Create a new search folder:

    1. Click the arrow next to New in the Standard tool bar and select Search Folder or use Ctrl+Shift+P shortcut.
    2. Select a Search Folder from the list.
    3. Select the folders to search mail, if you have multiple personal folders.
    4. Click OK and the results appear.

    Note: Deleting Search Folder doesn't delete the messages contained in that folder from their original locations. However, if you delete more than one open or selected messages appearing in a Search Folder, then Outlook deletes them from their original folders.