Organize and name your files
Put your files where you can easily access them. This can help prevent accidental file deletion and help you find things much more efficiently. You can organize by creating new folders (in the Finder, press Shift-Command-N) and arranging them however you wish for your files at hand, or you can move your files into existing folders. If you lose track of a file or folder, you can use Spotlight to quickly find it.
Tip: Go through any generically-named files and folders and give them more descriptive names so you can find what you need fast. This can help you get organized and makes it easier for Spotlight to search and find what you're looking for, especially one file among your digital photo collection with names like "DSC_0431.jpg".
Note: If you use iPhoto to manage your photos, don't use the Finder to rename the photo files.
Note: This advice does not apply to applications in the Applications folder, such as Mail, iTunes, Safari, and so forth. You should leave applications in the Applications folder, and not rename them, to avoid issues. You can drag an application to the Dock if you want a quick and easy way to open it from the Dock.
See this for a basic tutorial: http://www.apple.com/support/macbasics/
You would be better off untangling your 3000 documents from Microsoft. There are many alternatives to Office today and some of them are free.
Sorry I was unclear and misled you. I already own the version of Office from Apple with Outlook; will stay with Word and Excel for those docs and will keep Outlook for my old emails, of which there are 1000s. But I want to do new emails on Apple, not Outlook, just to freeze my old Outlook for reference; want to sort new emails in Apple Mail. Their filing capability seems less robust that it should.
Ideally, I want to have a single system on my MacBookPro that integrates ALL that's on my MacBook PRO with ALL that's on my Office, I'd likely buy it or come up with another technique to skin that cat. Net net, what I want to do is get efficient. When I ask Apple about the sorting I want to do, they tell me they don't know where to send me to learn how to integrate MS software with theirs. They blow me off in their perky, Apple way -- Apple sells Microsoft software for Apple, which is where I bought it, they say, but they can't support it. They suggest I go to Microsoft. But, again, I'm not looking for Microsoft support, but support on efficient integration of both types of software. I suspect I'm not the only one with this issue.
I can't ask you to sort this out -- but have been hugely responsive and I really appreciate it. Again, thanks.
I understand your concern but I am afraid I may not be able to offer much more than the Apple people you describe. It has been my experience that trying to fit anything Microsoft into Apple's universe is swimming against the tide. It's not as if I have not tried, but I don't like beating my head against a wall.
Microsoft's Office applications are very good in their own right, but the two company's philosophies have done nothing but diverge for many years now. That is the reason for recommending you do not attempt to marry their two organizational hierarchies. There are Microsoft people who cannot tolerate OS X, just as there are Apple people who cannot tolerate Windows. In case it's not abundantly clear, I'm in the latter camp. OS X just fits well with what I do, while Windows irritates me. It gets in my face and interferes with my work.
(There are also many people equally adept at using both systems, but I think even they would not seek to make a Mac work like Windows, or the other way around.)
Mail's appearance is deceptively simple but its customization is robust. You can create any number of folders and create simple rules for organizing your emails. You can label emails with colors or flags, and searching is easy. You can even search for deleted emails with Time Machine. I don't like keeping emails around so my needs are modest, but Mrs. Galt has fifteen thousand emails and somehow she copes with them just fine.
Outlook also has a calendar function (so I hear) but OS X's Calendar does everything I need. You can set up reminders, email lists, and automatic notifications. All the Mac apps are designed to integrate with one another, and with your iOS devices if you have them.
What I'm trying to say is that you will not become a Mac expert until you go cold turkey and abandon the Windows way of doing things - whatever that is. Using the aforementioned programs to cope with Office documents, I have been completely Microsoft-free for nearly two years, and life is better.
If you are fortunate enough to live near an Apple Store you should avail yourself of their periodic Workshops. They are completely free and you can pick their brains about what you want to do:
I have learned a lot about the Mac by attending these.