Software

Save replies in folders other than the Sent folder to increase productivity

Finding messages in the Sent folder isn't for the meek; save replies with the messages instead. You'll never hunt for another reply.

If you asked me which Outlook setting saves me the most time, I'd say saving replies in the folder with the original message. By storing both messages and replies in the same folder, I can quickly find my responses  - it sure beats the heck outta sorting the Sent folder and crossing my fingers!

There are a few catches. First, this behavior doesn't work with the Inbox. Outlook will continue to save replies to messages in the Inbox in the Sent folder. You'll want to create a few personal folders for storing your messages. Then, create a few rules for moving messages into those folders. Most of us already do that. Second, you can't apply this to individual folders - it's an all-or-nothing feature.

Once you have personal folders, you can easily store your replies by changing a simple setting as follows:

  1. Click the File tab and select Options (under Help).
  2. Select Mail in the left pane.
  3. In the Save Messages section, check the When Replying To A Message That Is Not In the Inbox, Save The Reply In The Same Folder option.
  4. Click OK.

If you're using Outlook 2003 or 2007, do the following:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. On the Preferences tab, click E-mail Options in the E-mail section.
  3. Click Advanced E-mail options at the bottom of the Message Handling section.
  4. In the Save Messages section, check the In Folders Other Than The Inbox, Save Replies With The Original Message option.
  5. Then, click OK three times.

This behavior has been around for a long time - it's nothing new. But, every time I share it, I make someone very happy, so it's worth repeating.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

14 comments
kindozo
kindozo

how do I archive my mails?

kindozo
kindozo

I have never used outlook before, is there any other way to manage the folders in my email? If not, how can I increase replies to increase productivity?

kindozo
kindozo

I have never used outlook before, is there any other way to manage the folders in my email? If not, how can I increase replies to increase productivity?

JJFitz
JJFitz

My experience has been that even if you have sufficient storage space on your Exchange Server, the more folders and messages you store there, the slower it takes for Outlook to open up and the more likely your folders (ost) will become corrupt. With that in mind, I archive everything I want to save once I have read and / or replied to an incoming message. I move them to a monthly .pst that is saved on a file share (for automatic back up). All archived sent and received items go in the same folder (e.g. SentAndReceivedSept2011). I have one folder to look in per month and I use Outlook's built-in functionality (filter/sort/search/categorize) to help me find what I am looking for. I only keep the last three month's archives open in Outlook. If I need to span more months or years, I use a search tool application called X1 desktop which is extremely fast and flexible.

rahimi87
rahimi87

Hi... I also applied this rule to make my outlook look neat and easier to track the corresponding email. But I have a problem since 2 weeks ago where all email received were directed and stored in 'Inbox' folder, rather than to the corresponding folder. I have several rules in 'Rules and Alert' to manage the incoming email from some of my colleagues and bosses but all other incoming email (except the email managed by the rules) are directed to 'Inbox' folder. Previously this option works well, but since 2 weeks ago it become chaos. I need to manually move the email to the corresponding folder.

Rioch
Rioch

Yes Susan, this is a huge time-saver. Thanks for sharing it. Similar capability exists in Thunderbird: 1. Choose Account Settings from the Tools menu. 2. Select Copies and Folders under the [i]account name[/i]. 3. Check the option to [i]Place replies in the folder of the message being replied to[/i] In Thunderbird, this does work with the Inbox but it must be set up for each account. Like Outlook it's all or nothing within the account

dowcompser
dowcompser

if the recipient is in your contacts, go to their contact information and select Activities. All items including emails will be listed based on their email address. Quick and very effective.

ian
ian

what about NEW mail? To ensure ALL mail to and from a particular person is stored in their specific folder, you need to set your NEW sent items to that particular folder (in Outlook 2007, Options > Save Sent Item). Unfortunately this is a manual process. Is there a way to create a rule to save outgoing email based on the To field.

marc
marc

I have my inbox folder and a read folder. Outlook indexing has gotten so good that I don't need to file messages an manage folders, I just do keywork searches for what I need. It saves time both searching and saving messages.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Nope, but this rule will: Apply this rule after I send a message Move a copy to the Inbox folder then disable the 'Save copies of messages in the Sent Items folder' option. However, I can't speak for how this rule will interact with the 'Save replies in the same folder' option.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Outlook would be vastly improved if I could color the folder icons or the folder names themselves. I have many folders and subfolders... colors would help me quickly find what I'm looking for. Hope someone from product development is paying attention.

yorkshirepudding
yorkshirepudding

I have moved to using search folders rather than sub folders within the inbox for the majority of uses. I can then view all conversation threads whether the message is in the inbox, sent items or another sub folder.

ian
ian

Just realized I can do this. Set a rule for each recipient Apply this rule after I send a message sent to flag message for Follow up within 3 days and assign it to category and move a copy to the folder