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How do I organise my emails?

Email inbox

Once you start using email, you will soon find messages clogging up your Inbox. Once you’ve read them, you might want to organise your email by storing messages, deleting them, archiving them and moving them elsewhere.

WebWise Team | 10th October 2012

It can be useful to think of your email in the same way as paper correspondence. You probably already have a system for organising that or you would pretty soon be overwhelmed.

Storing messages

You may have box files or folders for different categories of mail such as personal correspondence, bills and so on. Some you bin immediately, others after a time. Perhaps, sometimes, you move a letter from one folder to another. The same applies to email and most email programs will provide an option to create folders for storing mail.

You could create folders based on the category, for a particular person, or for a particular occasion. It is entirely up to you. If you decide you don’t need a folder any more you can easily delete it – just remember that its contents will be deleted too.

You can also create sub-folders within folders in the same way.

Moving messages

To move messages from one folder to another – for example, from your Inbox to a folder you have created - you can usually ‘drag and drop’, or highlight the message and use the menus.

If you are accessing your emails over the internet, the site will allow you to select a number of emails in your inbox by clicking on them and then choose the option to move them into your chosen folder.

Organising how you view your mail

You can view the contents of your folders by date, sender or subject. You can also sort them in ascending or descending order.

Online, things are different, and your ability to sort your emails will depend on which webmail site you use. If you cannot find out how to do this easily try accessing the site’s help pages.


Over time, your folders will grow both in number and size and archiving will help you manage them. Some do this automatically, but with others you will have to archive manually – create your own folders and move messages into it. You could also create a file outside the email program altogether, or store messages on a CD-ROM or memory stick.


Folders tend to become unstable if they grow too large and it is a good idea to save any large attachments elsewhere. You simply need to open the attachment and save it where you like - then delete the message from the folder to save space.


Periodically, it is a good idea to delete unwanted emails to save space. There is also a risk with some email programs and webmail that your allocated space will become full and leave no room for new messages. You can delete emails by dragging them into the ‘deleted items’ folder or clicking on the delete button. You can delete an entire folder and its contents in the same way.

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WebWise Team

WebWise was first launched in 1998 and since then has helped people of all ages to learn about and love the internet.