I’m keeping my emails sorted by contacts where each contact has its own dedicated folder so I later can quickly find back any conversation with that person.
Your “Today’s Unread Mail folder” tip helped me a lot to easily find back any new items.
I still like my sorting method but it’s really hard to find back any rules (sometimes my contacts change address) as I really have over a hundred of them now. Also, I feel that Outlook gets slower with each rule that I add. I also tried to mimic my sorting method at work but then I hit the rules limit quite quickly.
Is there any way to overcome these issues without me changing my sorting method?
As rules are the only way to automatically move incoming messages to another folder, it is hard to overcome this issue without having a lot of rules or changing your sorting method.
A-Z Search Folders or filtered views
Instead of using rules, you could also use Search Folders or filtered views to show only mail from a certain contact or from a specific group of contacts. Not only could you group your mail by “from private contacts” and “from <company name>”, you could also consider to group them by alphabet to create an index. So you’d be having a Search Folder or custom view that displays all your contacts that starts with the letter “A” and then another Search Folder or custom view for contacts that starts with the letter “B”. If you set your view to “Arrange By From” and have grouping enabled and all your groups collapsed, you should be having a quick index system.
If you were to have only a very little amount of people starting a specific letter, you could also combine some contacts to create a single group for the letters A to C and another group for D to F.
This method would take care of the rules limitation and the increasing slowness upon arrival due the amount of rules but it does require you to change your sorting method a little bit.
Incoming Mail Organizer
If you really do not want to change the sorting method at all, then there is an add-in called Incoming Mail Organizer (discount code BH93RF24) which can be set to sort all emails into separate folders by contact so you don’t have to create or later update any rules at all and thus also takes care of the increasing slowness and the rules limit that you might hit at work (if you are allowed to install add-ins at work).
If you like to also sort your Sent Items in the same way, there is also a Sent Items Organizer add-in for that. The same discount code applies to that add-in as well.