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E-mail’s little helpers: 5 tools to help manage your in-box

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Drowning in information overflow? Try managing your Outlook in-box with these handy assistants:

1. Bring order to your in-box chaos. ClearContext sorts your e-mail, colorcoding it according to subject matter and the frequency with which you correspond with a particular sender. For example, messages from the boss may appear in red, while spam is gray. It also nudges you to follow up on important messages. Go to www.clearcontext.com. Cost: Free for personal version; $89.95 for pro version.

2. Create a slew of templated messages for quick replies to frequently asked questions with E-mail Templates. A pull-down menu lists your prepared replies. Choose one, and the software personalizes the message for the recipient. Go to www.emailtemplates.com. Cost: Free for “lite” version; $79 for pro version.

3. Avoid accidentally hitting “reply to all” with Reply-to-All Monitor. Oops, did I just send that snarky remark to everyone? Worry no more. With this add-on, when you hit “Reply to All,” an alert box pops up to ask whether you’re sure you want to send to the whole group. It also warns you before you reply to a message you were bcc’d on. Go to www.sperrysoftware.com. Cost: $14.95.

4. Instantly turn your voice mail into e-mail. How? GotVoice (www.gotvoice.com) converts voice mail messages from your mobile, home or work phone into e-mail messages that you can read as text or listen to as MP3 audio. That allows you to save voice messages as long as you need them. Cost: Free for 14 days; $10 per month.

5. Delete some “auto-complete” names that appear in the “To” field of your e-mails. Every time you type an e-mail to “Bob Smith,” Outlook shows in the “To” field a list of all the Bobs you’ve ever sent messages to. It’s helpful, unless you don’t plan on writing to those other Bobs ever again. In that case, cross those names off the list for good. First, highlight the unwanted name by moving the up or down arrow. Once you’ve landed on the name you want to remove, hit the “Delete” key.

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