Managing messages using rules in Outlook

A rule is an action that Microsoft Outlook runs automatically on incoming or outgoing messages, based on conditions that you have specified.

11 March 2015 Discovery  E-mail

What is an Outlook rule?

A rule is an action that Microsoft Outlook runs automatically on incoming or outgoing messages, based on conditions that you have specified.

How rules help you manage email messages[/h2]

Rules help reduce manually filing or reduces repetitive actions when a mail arrives. Typically rules are always on and run automatically. For example, when a message is received from a specified person, it’s automatically moved to the folder that you designate.

The Rules Wizard helps you design rules to manage messages. Rules fall into one of two categories — organization and notification. 

outlook rule

The Rules Wizard includes templates for the most frequently used rules, which include the following:

  • Stay Organized - These rules help you file and follow up on messages. For example, you can create a rule for messages from a specific sender, such as Joe Bloggs, with the word "sales" in the Subject line, to be flagged for follow-up, categorized as Sales, and moved to a folder named Joe’s Sales.
  • Stay Up to Date - These rules notify you in some way when you receive a particular message. For example, you can create a rule that automatically sends a message to a mobile device when you receive a message from a family member
  • Start from a blank rule - These are rules that you create without the aid of a rule template and that you can completely customize.

How to create a Rule[/h2]

Outlook includes rule templates for common scenarios. Use these rule templates, or create design your own custom rules.

  • Click File.
  • Click Manage Rules & Alerts.
  • In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, on the E-mail Rules, click New Rule.
  • Under Step 1: Select a template, select the template that you want from the Stay Organized Stay Up to Date collection of templates.
  • Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click an underlined value. For example, if you click the people or public group link, the Address Book opens.
  • Click Next.
  • Under Step 1: Select condition(s), select the conditions that you want the messages to meet for the rule to apply.
  • Under�@Step 2: Edit the rule description, click an underlined value for any condition that you added, and then specify the value.
  • Click Next.
  • Under Step 1: Select action(s), select the action that you want the rule to take when the specified conditions are met.
  • Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click an underlined value for any action that you added, and then specify the value.
  • Click Next.
  • Under Step 1: Select exception(s), select any exceptions to the rule, and then click Next.
  • Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click an underlined value for any exception that you added, and then specify the value.
  • Click Next.
  • Under Step 1: Specify a name for this rule, enter a name.
  • Under Step 2: Setup rule options, select the check boxes for the options that you want.
  • If you want to run this rule on messages that already are in the Inbox, select the Run this rule now on messages already in "Inbox" check box.
  • By default, the new rule is turned on. To turn off the rule, clear the Turn on this rule check box.
  • To apply this rule to all email accounts set up in Outlook, select the Create this rule on all accounts check box.
  • Click Finish.

Corrections or suggestions