Outlook Express 5.0 for Mac

Getting Organized - Filters



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Here you will learn how to use the powerful filtering tools available from the TOOLS menu. Mail Rules , Mailing List Manager and Junk Mail Filter.



The mail filters in OE 5.0 are very powerful and useful. You find them as Rules in the Tools Menu. In Claris Emailer they are referred to as "Mail Actions". Here is the default screen you get when you make a new rule.


When you make a mail rule you can have an unlimited number of criteria. Just neep clicking "Add Criteria" to create new ones.

In each criteria you may have up to 3 parts. A place to look, a modifier (is, is not, contains, begins with, etc) and what text to look for.



Then based on that combination there are unlimited actions which you can configure. Actions include move to folder, copy, delete, forward, redirect, reply, add or delete sender to contacts or a mailing list, set a color, play a sound, alert you with a text message, and even run an AppleScript. The possibilities are endless.






The most effective and basic task that can be done is to set up filters to put new e-mails into proper folders. If you receive mail regularly from certain people, keeping up with them in your Inbox can be quite time consuming. All you need to do is set a mail rule similar to this: If "from" contains "Mom" then "move message" to folder "Mom" and "play sound" "whistle3".



You can add sounds to alert you to important e-mails and not have to interrupt your work to look for that anticipated response each time your mail is downloaded. These sounds need to be system sounds which are in your system suitcase.

I subscribe to a number of lists in single post mode so I do get many e-mails. I choose the sound played to alert me as to what has shown up in my mailbox. For instance, I use one sound for my Mac lists, as I do post to them with regularity and want to read responses ASAP, no sound for the lists which I read as time allows and as my last rule, I just play another sound to alert me that an email has not satisfied any rule set and is something I don't regularly receive.

I only wish telephones were as capable of sorting and informing me as to whether a call was worth answering.



Can you imagine the telephone being able to decide which answering machine message to play based on who is calling?

Well, OE will do just that. You can configure an autoresponder. If you set a rule to "reply" you can immediately send a response. The reply action will accept a significant file - as large as you would like.

Going on vacation? You can write a rule to reply to those you would like to know, that you won't be responding for a while.

For this "Vacation" responder to work you will need to leave your computer on while you are gone and make a repeating schedule to have OE "Send All" & "Receive". If this is not an option, see if your ISP offers an autoresponder feature, their computers are always on.



Suppose you have a newsletter and someone subscribes by sending an e-mail to a certain address ("mynewsletter@mydomain.com") with "subscribe" in the subject. You can have the filter set to: If To: contains "mynewsletter" and Subject: is "subscribe" then "add sender to mailing list" named "newsletter" and "reply" with "thank you for subscribing" and "move to folder" named "needs attention".




A word of caution... You will want to be careful how you set up these rules as unexpected things may result. Use "is" rather than "contains". Headers tend to be the most consistent because they aren't modifiable by most users. Also rules are applied in the order they are listed so be sure you haven't created similar rules.

You can further insure that the subscribe e-mail is addressed properly and has the proper subject. I would advise you set your mail link to mynewsletter@mydomain.com?subject=subscribe. That will fill the subject line with what you specify, in this case "subscribe".

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Mailing List Manager

Here is a feature which is great for keeping list postings out of your regular mail. It eliminates the need for a mail rule and prevents those posts from being flagged as 'Junk Mail' if you use the Junk Mail Filter. More on that later. See Mailing List NOTE


If you ctrl+click on a message from the list you would like to make rules for and choose 'Create Mailing List Rule' from the contextual menu, OE will open the Mailing List Manager (MLM) and attempt to place the proper address in the list address field. You can choose a folder to move these messages to and choose whether you would like your posts to be added to that folder also. Be sure to uncheck the "Do not apply rules to list messages" if you would like to add actions not contained in the MLM, for instance, "play a sound".



On the advanced tab you can add other addresses for the list and choose actions to be made on the messages.




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Junk Mail Filter

Junk mail, also called spam, is mail that is sent to many people or groups, regardless of whether the recipients want to receive it. If you sometimes receive junk mail, use the Junk Mail Filter to automatically attempt to identify and manage such messages. The Junk Mail Filter uses certain criteria to attempt to classify messages you receive as junk mail.



The Junk Mail Filter never classifies messages from contacts in your Address Book as junk mail. To ensure that messages from a particular person or group are never mistakenly classified as junk mail, simply add the person to your Address Book. You can also add domains that you would not like to be classified as junk mail by typing the domain into the text box in the Junk Mail Filter.

You can specify a few actions to perform on potential junk mail, from applying a color to such messages, to running an AppleScript. If you want to apply further actions to junk messages that you receive, such as moving it to a certain folder, you can create a rule for that action.



Mailing List NOTE: In order to prevent the Junk Mail Filter from flagging messages from Mailing Lists you participate in, be sure to add the list to your address book when creating Mailing List Rules in the MLM.


back up to Mailing List Manager

CAUTION: You will want to play around with this filter for a while before you create any drastic rules like putting all junk into deleted items. You will find some unexpected results until you have tweaked this filter and added e-mail addresses of those correspondents which for some reason are flagged. I have had some very surprising mail tagged as "Junk".

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Applying the Rules

In order to apply a new rule you highlight the messages you want to apply it to and choose "Apply Rule" from the "Message" menu, or control-click and choose "apply rule" from the contextual menu.. If you would like either the Mailing List or Junk Mail rules to be applied choose "All Rules".

The order of execution is:

Mailing List Manager
Junk Mail Filter
User defined Rules (in the listed order)

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