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NEO Pro: Free Microsoft Outlook message store organizer

NEO Pro is a free tool for Microsoft Outlook that takes the hassle out of message store searches by providing virtual views of e-mail based on customizable search criteria.

Even with an advanced search engine at your disposal, constructing search term criteria for effective results can be tedious. You often waste as much time figuring out what to ask for as you would hunting for something manually.

Nelson E-mail Organizer (NEO) is a tool for Microsoft Outlook designed to circumvent a lot of this hassle.

Instead of providing you with a search system for your e-mail -- the way a product like Lookout for Outlook does -- it creates searches that are more like virtual views of your e-mail.

Each view filters your mail by certain preprogrammed criteria, which can work like search terms but are more flexible. The same e-mail can appear in multiple views if it needs to, without having redundant copies of the e-mail stored in different folders.

When installed, NEO adds a row of tabs to Microsoft Outlook's interface, each of which consists of a preprogrammed view that can be customized as needed. The existing message store gets pre-categorized, and future messages are categorized as they come in.

The underlying folder organization and behavior, including existing Microsoft Outlook folder rules, does not change -- you can always remove NEO's views and see your folders as they actually are.

NEO also performs per-word indexing of e-mails, so they can be found through traditional keyword searches, or with keywords plus other criteria.

The tool comes in two flavors: a free version for personal use and a pro edition ($69.95 per seat; volume discounts available). The pro edition contains a number of additional features, such as the ability to tear off a view window and dock it elsewhere onscreen, and the ability to create custom search views. The free version only lets you use the pre-created views, but it's still quite useful.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter

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