Organize your email

Organize your Inbox with rules

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Create rules based on senders or recipients of messages, use rule templates, and delete a rule to help organize your email.

Create a rule based on senders or recipients of a message

  1. Select the message for which you want to create a rule.

  2. Select Home > Rules.

    Suggested rules appear, based on the message senders and recipients.

  3. Select an option:

    • Select one of the suggested rules, select a destination folder, and then select OK.

    • For more rules options based on the sender, recipients, or subject of the message, select Create Rule.

  4. If you select Create Rule in step 3, then the Create Rule box appears.

  5. In When I get e-mail with all of the selected conditions, check the boxes for the conditions you want.

  6. In Do the following, check the boxes for the actions you want the rule to take when the specified conditions are met.

  7. Check the Move the item to folder box.

  8. Choose Select Folder, and then pick an existing folder or select New to create a folder to store the messages.

  9. Select Advanced Options to add more conditions, actions, or exceptions to the rule.

  10. Follow the remaining instructions in the Rules Wizard, and then select OK.

Use Outlook rule templates

  1. Select Home > Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts.

  2. In the Rules and Alerts box, select E-mail Rules, and then select New Rule.

  3. In Step 1: Select a template, select a template from the list of templates in Stay Organized or Stay Up to Date.

  4. In Step 2: Edit the rule description, select an underlined value. For example, if you select the people or public group link, then the Address Book opens.

  5. Select Next.

  6. In Step 1: Select condition(s), select the conditions that you want the messages to meet for the rule to apply.

  7. In Step 2: Edit the rule description, select an underlined value for any condition that you added, and then specify the value.

  8. Select Next.

  9. In Step 1: Select action(s), select the action that you want the rule to take when the specified conditions are met.

  10. In Step 2: Edit the rule description, select an underlined value for any action that you added, and then specify the value.

  11. Select Next.

  12. In Step 1: Select exception(s), choose any exceptions to the rule, and then select Next.

  13. In Step 2: Edit the rule description, select an underlined value for any exception that you added, and then specify the value.

  14. Select Next.

  15. In Step 1: Specify a name for this rule, type a name for the rule.

  16. In Step 2: Setup rule options, select the checkboxes for the options you want.

    • To run this rule on the messages that are already in Inbox, select the Run this rule now on messages already in “Inbox" checkbox.

    • The new rule is now automatically turned on. To turn off the rule, clear the Turn on this rule checkbox.

    • To apply this rule to all the email accounts set up in Outlook, select the Create this rule on all accounts checkbox.

  17. Select Finish.

Delete a rule

  1. Select an email message.

  2. Select Home > Rules > Manage Rules and Alerts.

  3. Select any existing rule in Rules and Alerts, and then select Delete.

  4. Select Yes to confirm.

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Manage email messages by using rules

Organize email by using inbox rules in or Outlook on the web

Mail rules are a set of filters that act on your incoming e-mail automatically based on a set of rules that you've specified.

Let's create a simple mail rule to move this newsletter into a folder called Newsletters that I've already created.

From the Home ribbon tab select Rules, choose Create Rule.

Because I have the e-mail selected Outlook is going to guess what it thinks I want to do with it.

For example, I can choose who the e-mail's From or what the Subject contains.

In this case I'm going to choose who the message is From.

Then I need to decide the action.

I'm going to select Move the item to folder.

A dialog box comes up in which I can Select a folder.

I'll choose a Newsletters folder that I've already created.

If I didn't have an e-mail already created I could click New and create a new folder.

With the folder selected click OK, and then OK again.

The rule has been created.

I can place a checkbox next to Run this rule now on messages already in the current folder.

This is a great feature, because I could have an Inbox full of these newsletters and move them all at once.

I'll click OK and my newsletter's been moved.

Another great thing is that it saves the unread count, so I can always know when there's a new newsletter in here that I need to read.

Let's create something more complex with a mail rule.

I'm going to create a new rule to assign anything that comes in about 128 Main to the 128 Main category.

This way I don't have to do it manually.

From the Home ribbon tab I'll choose Rules again, and this time I'll choose Manage Rules and Alerts.

I can see the rule that I already have here.

If I remove it any time I can highlight it and choose Delete, or I can simply uncheck the rule to stop applying it.

In this case however I'll click New Rule. This time we can start with a template or a blank rule.

Templates contain built-in tasks, such as moving messages.

However, I'm going to start from a blank rule.

I'll apply the rule on messages that I receive.

I'm going to apply the rule after the message arrives.

I'll click Next to set the message criteria.

I'm going to check for specific words in the subject or body.

I have a lot of criteria that I can choose from.

Take some time and go through this list, because you may not even realize that you need a rule until you realize that you can create one surrounding specific categories.

In this case I'll choose specific words in the subject or body.

I'll click on the phrase specific words, and here's where I can type my words.

In this case, 128 Main. I'll click Add, click OK, and then I'll click Next.

Now that we've set the conditions it's time to choose the action.

Again, go through this list.

I can do a lot of actions on this e-mail.

However, I want to assign it to a specific category.

I'll click on the word category, and I'll select My 128 Main category.

I'll click OK, I'll click Next again, and here's where I can set any exemptions.

If a message comes in with 128 Main in the Subject or body, but it also meets this other criterion I can have an exception in which the rule won't run.

However, in this case I'll click Next, I'll leave the name as 128 main, and I'll choose to Run this rule now on messages already in the Inbox. I'll click Finish.

And I'm prompted that this rule is only going to run when I check my mail in Outlook.

I'll click OK, click OK again, and instantly all my 128 Main e-mails are categorized into the 128 Main category.

Mail rules are very powerful, as there's so many options you can automate.

For example, if you keep getting product inquiries for a discontinued product you can send out an auto-response, letting your customers know the product no longer exists, or a similar situation in your industry.

I definitely encourage you to poke around with all the choices that you have with mail rules.

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