Message rules to filter automated messages and subscriptions

My word/phrase list:

  • unsubscribe
  • to stop receiving
  • subscription preferences
  • as a web page
  • this message has been sent to
  • like to opt out
  • online privacy policy
  • do not want to receive
  • you no longer wish
  • prefer not to receive
  • to opt out
  • this email was sent to

Advice:

The space allowed for rules is VERY limited. You can have roughly 40 rules active at a time [sometimes far fewer]. It's best to lump all the sorting of one specific type into the same rule, because the search terms do not seem to take up as much space as the rules themselves do.

While you can right-click and "Create Rule..." on every message type you want to filter, you will run out of rules space very quickly. Maybe in minutes.

Step-by-step:

I worked through some rules that helped greatly reduce the amount of newsletters, etc., that show up in my in my main inbox.

I started by creating a new rule [Tools->Rules and Alerts->New Rule...]

I started from a blank rule...

Select a blank rule

Next, I needed to match messages "with specific words in the subject or body". [Really just the message body]

Look for messages with specific words in the subject or body

Click on the "specific words" text to bring up a pop-up where you can specify the words.

Pop-up to specify search text

Type words in an click "add" until you've added all the phrases to search for:

Finished search list

Next, check "move it to the specified folder" and click the word "specified" in the bottom part to tell Outlook where to send the messages.

Move to specified folder

Optionally, you can specify exceptions [such as internal e-mails].

Exceptions step

Be sure to check the rule's checkbox in the "Rules and Alerts" window to enable it.

If you want to run your newly created rule on existing messages, click [Apply] then [Run Rules Now...] and check the rule to run.

Every time you make an Excel spreadsheet this big, a kitten meets its maker

I'm not really that elitist about non-programmers using applications in an advanced way the programmers could find a better way to do. I've never had to port functionality from an Excel spreadsheet that was 2 MB in size prior to data being added--at least not more than once.

However, I am a bit disturbed that Excel is the new Access:

The total number of available columns in Excel
Old Limit: 256 (2^8)
New Limit: 16k (2^14)

The total number of available rows in Excel
Old Limit: 64k (2^16)
New Limit: 1M (2^20)

Number of unique colours allowed a single workbook
Old Limit: 56 (indexed colour)
New Limit: 4.3 billion (32-bit colour)

Therefore, Excel is now Microsoft's new small business data warehouse. (Apologies to DW people.)

You could also store and represent a very large 32-bit color bitmap inside an Excel spreadsheet. Also supported are Base-64 Encoded BLOBs 🙂 :

The total number of characters that can display in a cell
Old Limit: 1k (when the text is formatted)
New Limit: 32k or as many as will fit in the cell (regardless of formatting)

The number of characters per cell that Excel can print
Old Limit: 1k
New Limit: 32k

I'd hate to have to debug a 8k character formula with 64 levels of nesting:

The maximum length of formulas (in characters)
Old Limit: 1k characters
New Limit: 8k characters

The number of levels of nesting that Excel allows in formulas
Old Limit: 7
New Limit: 64

A 255 argument function. The mind shudders. Even if you did not use a computer science major to create the program, such an unwieldly program might benefit from the education and experience of a computer science major. Maybe there is a better way to do this, by applying some mid-level software engineering techniques instead of stream of consciousness coding.

Maximum number of arguments to a function
Old Limit: 30
New Limit: 255

Miscellaneous Excel tricks that I needed today.

How to hide gridlines on an Excel Worksheet.

Select a Worksheet.
Select Tools->Options...
On the [View] tab, un-check Gridlines under the Window Options section.

Row and column headers, scroll bars, and sheet tabs are also hideable through this tab.

How to Split and Freeze Panes

Freeze panes makes very nice title rows (the bottom pane does not scroll into the title row).