Managing Your Mailbox

Working With Folders Creating Folders Moving Messages Sorting Messages Deleting Messages Renaming and Deleting Folders

Working With Folders

Looking to keep better tabs on your messages? You’re in luck. Mail folders make it easy to organize those incoming and outgoing messages. Mail stores all your messages for as long as you have your Mail account, no matter what folder they’re in (with the exception of Trash and Spam)—and there’s no limit to the number of messages that you can save.

On first glance you’ll notice that your mailbox has five special-purpose, permanent folders that you can’t remove or rename:

  • Inbox icon  Inbox—Unless you tell us otherwise, all incoming messages automatically go to your Inbox folder (except suspected spam). You can read your mail in the Inbox, then delete it, move it to another folder, or leave it in the Inbox.

  • Drafts folder icon Drafts—The Drafts folder holds messages that you’ve composed but haven’t sent yet. A message saved in your Drafts folder stays there until you either send it or delete it.  Learn more

  • Sent folder icon Sent—You have the option of saving copies of the email messages you’ve sent in your Sent folder. This makes it simple for you to review or resend the message if necessary.  Learn more

  • Trash folder icon Trash—When you delete messages in Mail, they’re moved to the Trash folder. But remember that messages in your Trash folder can be deleted at any time without warning. So don’t put them in the Trash if you want them later. You can also empty the Trash folder yourself. Once messages are emptied from the Trash folder, they are permanently deleted from the Mail server and can’t be recovered.

  • Spam folder icon Spam—The first time you get a message that SpamGuard considers junk mail, it creates an additional permanent folder called Spam, where it stores these messages.  Learn more

With this in mind, you’ll see that it’s easy to view the contents of any folder in your Mail account.


Here’s How

  1. Go to your Mail Inbox. (Remind me how.)

    A list of all your folders appears on the left side of the page, and the messages in your Inbox folder appear on the right.

    List of folders with Inbox selectedEnlarge

    A number next to a folder’s name tells you the number of unread messages in that folder.

    The number of unread messages in your Inbox

  2. Click the name of a folder to see its contents.

    Click the name of the folder to see its contents.

    A list of messages in that folder appears in the summary area on the right.

    Contents of the Sent folderEnlarge

  3. To display a message in the Reading Pane (the area below the list of messages), click the desired message in the list of messages. Learn more

    The content of the message appears in the Reading Pane.

  4. To close a mail folder (that is, to no longer display the messages it contains), click the name of a different folder.


What’s Next

In addition to permanent folders, you can create personal folders for organizing your email messages.

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Words to Know

  • Folder: a container that holds individual elements specific to the context; for example, email messages in Mail or bookmarks in the Bookmarks Sidebar module.
  • Junk mail: unsolicited email on the Internet; also called "spam".
  • Permanent folder: a mail folder that is automatically created in an Mail account and can’t be deleted.
  • Spam: unsolicited email on the Internet; also called "junk mail".


Click here to learn more about the Drafts folder.
Click here to learn more about the Sent folder.
Click here to learn more about the Spam folder.
Click here for more about reading your email messages.