When you reply to an e-mail, Outlook stores a copy of that message in the Sent folder by default. My Sent folder has hundreds of messages, and trying to find an odd message here and there is a real pain. Then, I discovered an alternative to the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Sent folder. I just had to flip a switch!
Simply select a personal folder and send a message and Outlook will save the sent message in the selected folder, not the Sent folder. That means you can keep related messages, but received and sent, together.
It's a great feature, I'm only sorry it took me so long to find it! To set this option to the following:
- Choose Options from the Tools menu.
- On the Preferences tab, click E-mail Options in the E-mail section.
- Click Advanced E-mail options at the bottom of the Message Handling section.
- In the Save Messages section, check the In Folders Other Than The Inbox, Save Replies With The Original Message option.
- Then, click OK three times. No, three clicks won't take you home again, but it will help you organize your mail!
Now, you know there has to be one small gotcha. Outlook applies this setting to all personal folders, which might not be what you want. It's an all or nothing solution. You can't choose individual folders for this feature. However, Outlook continues to save all messages sent from the Inbox in the Sent folder—that might help you out a bit. Personally, I'd never go back to the default of saving everything in the Sent folder.
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.