SUGGESTION - Need to sort 23k imported emails

I’m new to DTP. been at it about a week. I’ve read quite a bit of the manual and CODT as well.

I have 23k emails that are about half crap; the other half work related. the work related stuff has commonalities within, and among the senders, etc.

before tackling a file this large, I’d auto group things. shift/option/command/G

and I tried that on a few hundred files at a time and it was working. then, It just quit functioning.

QUESTION. what would you guys do? the emails aren’t tagged and it would be a pain to word search, then tag or group by hand.

any suggestion on how to whittle down the mass to workable herds?


If I were doing this I would not bother to sort. At least not initially. I would search for those commonalities you mentioned: everything from or to John Adams. Find those, select them and move them into a new group. Then find everything to or from Aaron Burr. Repeat.

This way I would be chunking down the universe into smaller pieces, and the remainder then would be easier to either search or sort.

If you think 50% of the 23,000 has enough commonalities to find 90 to 95% of the 50%, then you’ll be mainly finished by using the search-and-chunk process I suggested. Then you would need to decide if it matters to find the remaining “work” emails, of just leave everything in the big bucket and use it to do more refined searches in the future if needed.


that’s basically what I’m going. it’s just going to have to be some initial tagging, and then drill down when the need arises. then weed the trash in the process.

thanks for the reply.

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Follow up.

I’ve used searches to group as many as can, then group for tags. I also abuse Sort in various ways, trying to get as many common files as possible in line to group and tag. it’s working.

these processes are isolating crap for group deletes.


With a large amount of material, it’s also helpful to realize that the organization can be “good enough” even if all the junk hasn’t yet been purged. In my experience, management of a large database is never “finished.”

So you’ve got your John Adams group, your Aaron Burr group, and your group that contains the overlap of both. And there may still be some junk in that last group – the same spammer sent junk mail to both, say – but you don’t need to care until you actually start working with the John Adams + Aaron Burr material.

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I agree with this. It’s often best to do maintenance on an as-needed basis instead of trying to do it a large body of documents, especially legacy ones that may rarely (if ever) accessed.

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fully agree on front end work. i’m doing that now and have for quite some time.

but you know how it is. there’s lots of useful things hanging around. I have 30 years of product that was unmanaged for the most part, expect for the file names which was done mostly by staff.

thanks for the input. much appreciated.

i still use a product called Foxtrot as a quick organizer among unmanaged needs. back in the windows days i think it was called enFish.

its the best off the shelf mac search product i know of. people love Alfred but it doesn’t work for my needs.