My aggregator of choice is Newsgator,
as it pulls my RSS feeds into Outlook which is where I’m already spending most of
my day. If I didn’t have Newsgator and has to use another program, I probably wouldn’t
read my feeds nearly as frequently as I do.
over the weekend that he tracks hundreds of feeds using Newsgator. When I
read this over the weekend I made a note to myself to add a tip to my blog on how
to use search folders in Outlook to make this even easier, but Greg Reinacker beat
me to it (by several months :-). So I figured I’d “do my
part” by providing the step-by-step details on how to do what Greg mentioned.
Search folders are a new feature in Outlook 2003*.
A search folder is a special folder that contains a ‘view’ of items in other folders.
That view is the result of a search request. Outlook ships with several search folders
by default that do things like:
Display all large mail in your mailbox store (mail
- Display all unread items in your mailbox store
Display all items flagged for follow up in your mailbox
You can customize the search criteria used in these
default folders (say for example if 100kb seems tiny to you, and you want the large
mail folder to only contain items over 1mb) by right clicking on the folder in the
folder list, choose “Customize this search folder” and click “Criteria”.
You can also create your own search folders that search
on your criteria and search only in the specific folders you want to search. With
the way Newsgator works (creating a “News” folder and putting all feeds beneath that
folder by default), this makes it really easy to create a search folder that shows
you all of the unread items from your RSS feeds in a single location:
1. File | New | Search Folder
2. Scroll to the bottom and choose “Create a custom search folder”
3. Click choose
4. Name the search folder (mine is ‘Unread RSS’)
5. Click criteria
6. On the more choices tab, click “only items that are unread”
7. OK changes
8. Click choose
9. Uncheck the root of your mailbox store, and check your ‘news’ folder’
10. Click OK a bunch of times to save your changes
Note: In step 9, you can choose any
number of folders, so if you only wanted to create this search folder for a few select
RSS feeds, you could select the folders for each of those feeds.
Now you’ll have a folder in your folder list that when
you click on it, shows you all of the unread items in your News folder as well as
any subfolders. As newsgator polls for new items from those feeds, the unread ones
will automatically show up in this custom search folder. To state that in another
way, the search isn’t performed when you click on it; as items are delivered to your
mailbox store, if they match the search criteria, they show up in the search
folder on delivery. That way there’s no performance hit or need to wait if you click
on the search folder multiple times.
the thing that’s new in Outlook 2003 is that they’re exposed with a friendly user
interface. Search folders have been a part of the Exchange/Outlook diet for years
and are used for underlying functionality such as reminders and advanced find. I’ll
describe that in more detail sometime in another blog entry.