Christopher's Email Filing & Retrieval Method

Email Filing In MS Outlook For Subsequent Retrieval

Christopher Rath


I have two goals when organizing my email:

The discussion below is divided into two sections: how I file, and how I find. The two are directly linked; since my “find” technique builds upon the filing method.

A. How I File

Here’s how I organize, along with some “why” notes (note that I have been using this system since 1997 or 1998):

Some final notes on filing:

B. How I Find

For many years I used the above filing technique along with a manual searching method; that is, because the files all have a date range in the filename I was easily able to open one or two PSTs and then use MS Outlook’s Advanced Find panel to search out the specific message I was looking for. Searches spanning long periods of time were difficult because Advanced Find will only search one .PST file at a time.

A couple of years ago I licensed a copy of X1 (see The product is relatively inexpensive: $50. X1 allows all of your .PST files to be searched at the same time—without the need for those .PST files to be open inside your MS Outlook session; however, to quickly narrow the scope of your searches you need to have consistently organized your mail. Note, X1 also indexes all of the other documents on your hard drive.

X1 is much more effective than the free Google desktop search because of the manner in which it presents its search results and because it allows you to file mail items from its interface. It is also much better than the free MS email search plug-in, Lookout; because Lookout is limited to indexing 1 GB of email (after which it begins to crash).

©Copyright 2008, Christopher & Jean Rath
Telephone: 613-824-4584
Address: 1371 Major Rd., Ottawa, ON, Canada K1E 1H3
Last updated: 2015/02/14 @ 21:33:58 ( )