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Sometimes you need to dash off a quick e-mail message, but you don't want to load the whole bloated Exchange program. Here's how to open only a Create Message window: Make a shortcut on your Desktop (or wherever you want it) and type in the path to the file EXCHNG32.EXE, followed by a space and /n (the /n should follow the trailing quotes in the space in the dialog box). Give the shortcut a name. (Note that the message won't actually be sent until you launch Exchange.)
Right-click on the column bar of your choice in the Exchange Inbox to get a menu giving you the option to sort one way or the other. For example, if you right-click on the Received column bar, you'll get a menu for sorting in ascending or descending order.
Get a Sneak Peek
If you'd like to take a sneak peek at your messages before you open them, select Columns from the View menu, choose Item Text from the list on the left and click on the Add button and then on OK. (You can try various alternatives in the Columns dialog box for column width and placement.) This will give you as much of the first line of the message as can fit in the space allotted.
Famous Disappearing Columns
Increase the size allocated to the text column by changing the size of the columns in your Exchange window. Move your cursor over the border of the column (in the header field at the top of the window) and drag the border to any position you like.
Right-click functionality is useful for a number of operations in Exchange. For example, here's a quick way to add addresses to your Personal Address Book. When you open any message from a person whose address you'd like to save, right-click on the address in the From: field and select "Add to personal address book."
(Not So) Quick Fix Up
You should run the Inbox Repair Tool once in a while to prevent lockups and problems in the future. The file looks for errors in the document that stores all of your Inbox messages. It's on your Start menu (Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools) or you can find it by launching the Find utility and searching for SCANPST.EXE. Warning: If you've got multiple megabytes of messages, it will take a long time to scan and repair them.
If you access your mail while on the road, use Exchange's Remote features. To activate your Remote Mail client, go to the Tools menu and click on Options. Highlight Microsoft Mail and click on Properties. Then click on the Remote Configuration tab. Check boxes allow you to select whether to use Remote Mail or not, and whether to use a local copy of the address book or not.
Avoid (Not So) Quick Fix Ups
Keep your PST file small. Prune it ruthlessly of messages that you don't need. One fertile field for file removal is the Sent Items folder, which can get huge while you're not watching. If you need to save files but want your PST file smaller, save messages to local storage in a folder called something like Saved Messages, and delete them from your Exchange window. That will save the message as a text file, so you'll lose the fancy formatting that Exchange supports, but you'll have all the information you need.
To Local or Not
Using a local address book can be a lot faster than using a networked address book over a dial-up connection. Click on the local address book option under Remote Configuration, and Exchange will set up a local address book for you. When you connect to your mail server, be sure to check the "Download address lists" box so you'll get a local copy of your addresses.
Local Message Store Woes
While a local address book is probably a good deal, a local PST file is a must. Many people have very large PST files that contain all their saved messages. If you are using a remote PST file at the other end of your Dial-up Networking connection, be prepared to wait many minutes to download your PST file from your mail server. A local PST file saves that time and aggravation. To set one up, select Tools/Options. Click on Add and then on Personal Folders. You'll get an Open File dialog, which you navigate to enter the name of the local PST file you want.
Customize Your Exchange Tools
Like many Windows 95 applications, Exchange lets you customize the toolbars so the functions you use a lot are always available at the touch of a button. Go to Tools/Customize Toolbar. A dialog box pops up with many choices for tool buttons. Highlight a button in the left-hand pane, select a location in the right-hand pane and click on Add.
If you used Exchange remotely without using Remote Mail, you downloaded your mail to the Remote client and erased it from the mail server. If you need those messages that are now found only on your remote machine, copy your PST file on the remote machine to a floppy disk and take it with you to the office. Open the Exchange client at the office, click on Tools/Services and click on Add. Choose Personal Folders and browse to the copy of the remote PST file that you brought to work with you. It's faster if you copy that file to your hard disk somewhere (the Desktop is simplest). When you go back to the Exchange window, you'll see two icons in the left-hand pane for Personal Folders. One will be the original one set up on your office computer, the other will be the copy of the PST file from home. Move messages from one to the other as you choose.
Move Those Messages
You can move messages from your Inbox to another folder two ways. Dragging and dropping is often easiest: Grab the message icon and drop it on the folder you want it in. If you're not into dragging, use the File/Move command, click on the folder to which you want to move the message and click on OK. To save only attachments to a message, select File/Save As. You'll get a dialog box that lets you choose to save the entire message, select attachments to save, and select the location to which you will save the attachments.