Apparently, I haven't cleaned up my sent e-mail folder recently because it seems like I've spent a lot of time rummaging through old e-mail trying to find stuff. Finding files of any sort is one of the basic challenges of using a computer. But what you may not know is that some of the same tricks you use in Windows Explorer to find files also work in your e-mail program.
As many people know, you can sort your files by the column headings in Windows Explorer. For example, suppose you have folder with the end-of-year report, and you want to look at all the Excel files related to it. Rather than slogging through and scanning for the files, you can sort the list so the Excel ones appear together. First change the View drop down to Details. Then you click the Type column heading and the files sort by file extension, so all the Excel files appear together.
The same principle can be used with your e-mails. Outlook and Outlook Express use a columnar layout that is similar to Windows Explorer, but the headings are different. You see From, Date, Subject and so on. Normally, sent e-mail is sorted by when you sent or received it, but it doesn't have to be.
Suppose you know that Aunt Mary sent you an e-mail a while ago and you remembered that you said something really pithy in your reply that you also want to pass on to Uncle George. Look in your sent e-mail folder and sort the folder by Name by clicking the column heading. An arrow pointing up means it is sorted in ascending order. An arrow pointing down means it's sorted in descending order.
Just as with the Excel files, it's a lot easier to find an e-mail to or from a particular person when they are all together in a group. So do your eyes a favor and sort freely.