My usual way of handling e-mails is reading them in the inbox which collects both work-related e-mails from the Exchange server and private e-mails from my Gmail inbox using SMTP and POP3., and then dragging them to the the appropriate folder in one of the PST I have.
I know that since I index my mails and it is lightning fast to find any e-mail filing each e-mail in a specific related folder is less important, but kind of used to it, and I still find it useful to be able to go to a folder and see all the mails that I decided that belong to that folder, and not all the files that match some search. This has prove itself useful mainly in customer related data, where searching the customer name would have bring way too many mails, but looking at the customer folder quickly revealed the old case I was looking for. By the way, these is one of the reason I prefer Outlook to Gmail. Outlook can easily help me categorize my mails in hundreds of hierarchical folders, where Gmail provides a flat list of labels, which might not be useful for more than a few dozens.
My problem was that whenever I wanted to move a mail to a folder, I would have to find the folder in the folders tree, in order to drag the mail into it. This might be annoying for commonly used folders like the folder that keeps mails from CodeProject (I’m subscribed to it although I rarely develop in Microsoft technologies. I enjoy skimming through it looking at what’s new in that area. Occasionally I even find an interesting article).
When a mail is opened in Outlook editor, which has the new ribbon, the ribbon has a clever Move to Folder item which opens a list of recently used folders. However, if I don’t want to open the mail, and only want to move it to a folder from the index, I have to find the folder in the tree and drag it to it.
One solution is to use the Favorite Folders to put shortcut to commonly used folders in a fixed place, and then drag mails to that folder shortcut, and not to its location in the tree. This has two drawbacks:
- The list tends to grow all the time, and I end up with a big list of “Favorite Folders” which I rarely ever navigate to – I only use them as drag targets.
- Sometimes Outlook crashes and the list of Favorites folder is reset, and I have to start building it from scratch.
Today I came up with a new solution – use macros.
I wrote the following VBA procedure:
Private Sub MoveItemsToFolder(folderID As String) Dim item As MailItem Dim targetFolder As Folder ' Folder ID can be obtained by selecting the folder ' in Outlook and then typing in the immediate window: ' ?ActiveExplorer.CurrentFolder.EntryID Set targetFolder = GetNamespace("MAPI").GetFolderFromID(folderID) If ActiveExplorer.CurrentFolder = targetFolder Then MsgBox "You are already in '" & targetFolder.Name & "'.", vbCritical Exit Sub End If For Each item In ActiveExplorer.Selection item.Move targetFolder Next item End Sub
and then I wrote small procedures like the following:
Sub MoveToPrivate() MoveItemsToFolder "0000000045DC3C0FFF1EA54CBAD9147BB26AF269A2800000" End Sub Sub MoveToCodeProject() MoveItemsToFolder "00000000A7E4D138E838B7489BA3F839949B055122860000" End Sub
Then I created a new menu in Outlook toolbar, and added these procedures as items to this toolbar menu. So now, when I want to move a mail to a folder, I simply select it and click the appropriate button.
As the comment says, if a new folder is needed, I select it and open the VBA editor, and type
in the immediate window. I didn’t have an Outlook crash yet, so I don’t yet know if crashes that reset the favorite folders also reset toolbar customization, but at least the first problem is solved – my favorite folders only contains folder I navigate to regularly, and not all the folder I periodically get mails that should be filed under them.