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Filter your email like a pro

Christopher Breen | March 11, 2014
Twitter follower Jason Verly is interested in learning my technique for auto-filtering email. When I mentioned that doing this requires Outlook he didn't shy away.

Many of the pieces are in place. I've created a specific category for the messages I want to filter, assigned keyboard shortcuts to the commands I need, and designed a rule that will move any future messages from these senders to a particular folder. Now it's just a matter of configuring the macro. It looks like this:

The gist is that I create the macro, assign a keyboard shortcut to it, and then lay out this series of actions, which trigger keyboard shortcuts within Outlook that do my bidding. Specifically the actions do this:

  • Make Outlook active.
  • Add the selected message's sender to Outlook's contacts.
  • Assign the Marketing category to that contact.
  • Close the contact window.
  • Save the contact.
  • Move the selected message to the PR Releases folder.

Phew. Done. Now when I receive a PR pitch from a new contact I simply invoke the macro with a single shortcut. In seconds they're properly categorized and their message is moved to my PR folder. And if a message arrives from a sender who's already been categorized, their message automatically moves to the PR folder thanks to the rule I've created. While the initial setup can be a little taxing, the reward in not having to manually move messages and assign categories is well worth the trouble.


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