August 19, 2004

Q: Is there a shortcut to saving Microsoft Outlook e-mail to a personal folder on your hard drive?

A: Here's a trick I use to quickly take all of the e-mail sent by readers, promoters, spammers and my superiors to the PC at my office and schlep them home for work there. It's just the ticket for you, too.

Open the folder in which you want to store the mail, and then fire up Outlook and go to the list of messages. Make sure that you have clicked the Windows size box (the middle box in the upper right-hand corner, next to the X) to show a single box instead of the default double boxes. This makes it possible to use the mouse to move the whole Outlook display - and any other window - by dragging with the mouse.

So drag the Outlook display so that it is next to that open folder you want to use for storage. Now select the top message in the Outlook list and scroll down to the bottom one. Hold down the Shift key and click that last note. This will select all the messages.

Now you can simply click the mouse while hovering over any of the selected lines and drag the whole group into the other folder.

In my case, I then plug a flash-memory thumb drive into the computer and drag the mail folder onto it. At home I simply open the folder, right-click inside it and pick View from the display that pops up. I move down to the item to show Details, and I get a list of messages, each with the subject line displayed.

I should add that one also can reverse the process and select all the messages in the folder and then drag them into the mail display in Outlook on the second computer. This lets you use all of Outlook's powers of searching to find needed messages. But it also tends to clutter up one's mailbox, which is why I prefer to just keep them in a folder with subject lines displayed.

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Q and A

James Coates of the Chicago Tribune may be reached via e-mail at jcoates

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