One of the most powerful and sanity-saving functions in Eudora is its ability to filter messages automatically. In this way, you can manage your e-mail with fine-tuned precision. Eudora Pro offers a full array of filtering capabilities.
- transfer all the messages from your clients to individual project mailboxes
- make copies of messages and sort them to different mailboxes
- immediately trash all the mail from a particular spammer
- automatically reply to a request for information
- color code messages
- and more...
To set up filters, select Filters from the Special menu. The filters window shows a listing of filters that have been created on the left and the tools for creating filters on the right.
A filter has 3 components:
- Filter options: which mail will be filtered & will filters be engaged automatically or manually.
- Filter criteria: what text will the filter search and where will it look.
- filter action: what the filter does with the mail.
To create a new filter, first click on the New button. To modify an existing filter, highlight that filter in the left hand list.
Second, select the options for how the filter should function from the right side of the window. Most of the time you are going to want only your Incoming mail filtered and you'll want it done automatically (which is the default). That's the whole point of this, isn't it! But Eudora does give you the option of having the filter act on Incoming and/or Outgoing mail. You can also set it up as a Manual filter which is only engaged when you highlight messages in a mailbox and then select Filter Messages from the Special menu.
Next, define the criteria for the filter. You need to detail what text the filter will be searching for to identify a message and where it will look for that text. Use the Header pop-up menu to choose which header item and what specific text string the filter should search for. For example, you might define a filter to search the From: field of the message header for your boss' name or e-mail address or search the To: field of the message header for the e-mail address of one of your discussion lists. You are allowed two related terms for these criteria so that your filter is as specific as possible.
You now need to tell the filter what to do with those messages once it has caught them. From the Action pop-up menu, choose the action to be taken on messages. You can define 5 different actions for each filter.
Some actions you can take:
- Transfer or Copy it to a specific mailbox
- Change its Status or Priority or Label
- Assign it a new Subject
- Reply with a specific message
- Forward or Redirect it
Usually you want the filter to sort messages to separate mailboxes, so you select Transfer To as your filter action.
Eudora even gives you the opportunity to create a new mailbox or folder at this point in the process. Just choose New... from the Transfer menu as described in earlier sections.
Once you've waded through all these steps to set up a filter, you now must save the changes to your filter settings before closing the Filters window (Command-S or you will be prompted when you close the window).
When the filters are invoked (automatically or manually), each message is matched against each filter in the order they are listed in the Filters window (from top to bottom). If a filter finds the right text in the right place, the message is then transfered or copied or whatever the action specifies. Then the message is matched against the next filter...and so on down the whole list of filters you have created.
One of the options in the Action pop-up menu is Skip Rest. This stops the filtering process for that message so that the message is not matched to the rest of the filters in the list. So if a message fits the filtering criteria and the filter includes a Skip Rest action, the message is filtered and then not compared to the rest of the filters in the list Eudora moves on to the next message. This saves time in the filtering process so that each message doesn't have to be compared to every filter in your list.
Filters are automatically named based on the criteria for the filter. You can change the order of them in the list by highlighting and dragging them up or down.
Some practical advice on managing e-mail
We find it most helpful in keeping information overload at bay to filter our Incoming messages automatically into a set of mailboxes based on their source.
For example, Kim belongs to too many Web design and graphics lists, so she set up a series of incoming mailboxes like:
If you put a space in front of those mailbox names (" In-Spiderwoman" vs. "In-Spiderwoman"), they will move to the top of the mailbox list and will be more easily accessible.
Then her filters are set up to automatically sort the Incoming mail into these mailboxes based on their header text. For example:
- If it has "email@example.com" in the To: field or "*SW*" in the Subject: field, it is automatically transferred to the In-Spiderwoman mailbox.
- If it has "firstname.lastname@example.org" in the To: field, it is automatically transferred to the In-WebMonster mailbox.
- If it has "PHOTOSHP@VM.SC.EDU" in the To: field, it is automatically transferred to the In-Photoshop mailbox.
- If it has "PAGEMAKR@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU" in the To: field, it is automatically transferred to the In-PageMaker mailbox.
You get it...
In this way, all the list mail is filtered out to these separate mailboxes, and Kim's In mailbox is left clear for mail sent directly and personally to her. Personal mail no longer risks getting lost amid the hundreds of list messages that pour in each day.
Kim then sets up a series of storage mailboxes and folders to transfer the messages into that she wants to archive, like:
- list info
- PS 4.0
- scanning tips
- special effects
- cascading style sheets
- cool sites
- good books
So...can you really keep your sanity when there's over 200 messages streaming in at you...set up filters and Eudora will help...but keep your finger on that Delete key!
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