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More Than One Way to View Email

Would you like to see just your unread email? How about only flagged messages? Want to view only mail from particular people? Well, here’s how to do it in Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Yahoo Mail, and AOL.

In Outlook Express go to View/Current View and you have the two options of “Show all messages” and “Hide Read messages”. In addition, you can create customized views. This is where it gets really cool.

Select “Define Views” then hit the “New” button. You’ll see a bunch of check boxes. You can show or hide email from certain addresses, hide old messages, show only flagged, and more. It works just like message rules except the emails are still there rather than moved or deleted.

Let’s, for example, make a “whitelist” view so we can show only email from friends or co-workers. Check off “Where the from line contains people” then go down to step two and click the highlighted “contains people”. From there you can type in addresses or select them from your address book. Next, click “show/hide” and choose which you want—in this case “show”. Finally, give the view a name.


So, if I check my email and have it set to “Show all”, but I want to find the messages defined by my custom view, I can go to View/Current View and select the view that I created. And, just like magic, only those messages appear.

In Thunderbird go to View/Messages and you’ll find a bunch of choices already waiting such as All, Unread, People I know, Recent Mail, Has Attachments. In addition are the labels that can be added to email: Important, Work, Personal, To Do, and Later.

T-Bird also allows you to create a custom view. Go down to “Customize” and click the “New” button. Give the Message View a name then choose what part of the email you want to specify: Subject, Sender, Body (particular word in the email), CC. In the third field type in the address, name, or word that you want the filter to display. By clicking the “More” button you can specify more than one thing for the view to look for.


Hit OK. Now when you go to View/Messages you’ll see your custom view as an option.

With Yahoo Mail look for the word “View”. It is probably set to “All Messages”. Click the arrow and a drop down menu appears giving you several options: Messages from My Contacts (Address Book), Messages from unknown senders, Unread MEssages, Flagged Messages, and Messages with Attachments. Just select one to change your view.

AOL has a button just above your mail window next to “Show me mail from:”. Click the button and you can choose Everyone, People I Know, Bulk Senders, and Unknown Senders. Choosing any one of these will exclude the others although the messages will still be there. Click on a message and select “All Related Mail” and you can find messages from the same sender, with the same header, or same date.

And there you have it. Different views to help you read through mail the way you want. Just remember to put your settings back to “All” when you’re done.

~ David

David Samuel Thomas