The Hassle: I hang on to valuable messages, sometimes for years. The problem is, I find that the subject lines are often meaningless to me. That makes it difficult to remember what the message was about.

This article appears in the December 06 issue of PC Advisor. Available now in all good newsagents.

The Fix: I’m a fan of stashing emails ‘just in case’, as well. To ensure you can find the important ones again in future, edit the subject field and add descriptive words, then save the message for easier sorting and searching. This approach is good for clarifying a cryptic subject before forwarding a message.

In most email programs, it’s easy. Outlook and Outlook Express let you edit the subject line in place and save the message. Ditto for Eudora. It’s trickier to do with web-based services. In Hotmail, for example, you have to open the message, click Forward (or Reply), change the subject, click Save as Draft, then move the message to another folder.

Editing the subject is handy, but some email applications let you edit the message body, too, which is useful for proving to your boss that he did authorise your hefty expenses claim. In Outlook, with the message open, choose Edit, Edit Message, then type away. As with subject line changes, Outlook will prompt you to save any changes before you close the window. In Eudora, click the pencil icon on the toolbar.