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SpeedFiler Professional 2.0

By Kim Plonsky

September/October 2008 Table of Contents 


In my quest to find the perfect solution to managing the daily onslaught of e-mail, wanted and unwanted, I must have tried every program out there. Notwithstanding any bells and whistles that might have captured my fancy for a brief while, none of these programs increased my productivity or even remotely eased the burden of the beast that e-mail has become, while all pretty much employ the same schema as Outlook (with its hierarchal file folder structure that requires sorting, filing and managing messages in order to be effective). That being the case, I finally settled on Outlook, despite its inadequacies, so that I could at least be assured of the best potential for compatibility with other software programs. Thankfully, I stumbled upon SpeedFiler, a small yet powerful Outlook add-on application. SpeedFiler picks up where Outlook leaves off, tweaking it to new levels of efficiency, having been conceived and created by Itzy Sabo, founder of Claritude Software and an expert in GTD (Getting Things Done).

Before SpeedFiler, in an attempt to make Outlook behave, I set up hundreds of e-mail file folders, as well as sophisticated rules, in an effort to streamline my e-mail and increase my productivity. This worked great for a while, but to my great chagrin and consternation, I quickly learned that the e-mail rules feature in Outlook is woefully inadequate, and rather crude, despite the hundreds of options available.

For example, once rules are created in Outlook, if there are more than about ten, organizing them becomes a nightmare. This is because Outlook lists rules in the order they were created, rather than alphabetically, but doesn’t offer the option to sort them in any fashion (and the small Rules and Alerts dialog box is a fixed size that can’t be maximized). This is incongruous with the fact that rules in Outlook are executed in the same order they appear in the rules list, and means that it’s sometimes necessary to manually rank hundreds of e-mail rules. What is more, when a contact has more than one e-mail address, it’s easy to inadvertently create additional rules in Outlook for the same contact (e.g., “John Doe (1)” and “John Doe (2)”), which leads to further mayhem in trying to organize and manage e-mail. With Outlook being, in my opinion, among the best e-mail applications currently available, it’s easy to see why e-mail and its management has become a huge drain on productivity and the bane of a virtual existence.

To my relief, SpeedFiler is available to help with e-mail organization. It’s remarkably simple to use, installs in about two minutes, and unlike some other Outlook add-ons that I have used, works flawlessly. Without requiring you to change the way you work, SpeedFiler makes filing incoming and outgoing e-mail a breeze. By analyzing message content, SpeedFiler suggests the most likely place you will want to file e-mail messages.

For example, from the content of an outgoing e-mail to my mom, SpeedFiler instantly knew that I would want the message filed in the “Mom and Dad” folder. When replying to an e-mail from someone with whom I had never before corresponded, SpeedFiler automatically determined that there was no folder for that person and that I would want to file the message in Outlook’s general “Sent Items” folder.

SpeedFiler adds a new toolbar to Outlook to assist in filing messages. When creating a new e-mail message, users either can accept the storage folder suggested by SpeedFiler, or choose another Outlook folder. Handily, in addition to suggesting the folder that SpeedFiler thinks you will want to use, the outgoing e-mail toolbar lists recently used folders, and includes the option to delete the message after sending. Similarly, upon opening an e-mail message, the toolbar displays a button that identifies the suggested folder by name, a “File in Folder” button that lists other suggested and recently used folders, and the option to search for another folder.

The full SpeedFiler toolbar offers just the right amount of other options, including the choice of action to perform when sending a message, and whether to show or display folder suggestions. Significantly, unlike Outlook, SpeedFiler includes the option to change the default folder for outgoing messages, allowing Microsoft Exchange users to store messages in their local “Sent Items” folders, rather than on Exchange servers.

Another important timesaver offered by SpeedFiler, and unavailable in Outlook, is its lightning-fast, patent-pending folder selection dialog, which makes “drilling down” through file folder trees in Outlook obsolete. To instantly locate a folder, just click “Go To Folder” from the toolbar (or Ctrl + Y), type the beginning of a folder name and a list of matches appears. The dialog also displays tabs to quickly jump to recent or all folders, and gives the option to create a new folder.

In my experience, using Windows Vista Home Premium and Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, SpeedFiler’s performance has been rock-solid, with no crashes (in either SpeedFiler or Outlook) and an amazing 96 percent accuracy of e-mail message filing suggestions. There is a minimal learning curve — users can download, install and begin using SpeedFiler within mere minutes. For just $39.95, SpeedFiler Professional has the ability to transform e-mail management nightmares into sweet dreams. And when you are GTD productively and efficiently, you can indeed rest easy.  



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