Create custom actions rules in Outlook for Windows

A rule is an action that Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 for Windows automatically performs on sent or received email messages, based on conditions that you specify, such as moving all messages from a specific person into a folder other than your Inbox. Some third parties offer custom actions add-ins, such as adding a sender to your Contacts folder. Microsoft doesn’t provide these add-ins. They are written by third-party developers as dynamic-link library (.dll) files that must be installed on the computer that is running Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 for Windows in order for you to use them.

Note:  A rule with a custom action runs only on the computer where it is installed and only when Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 for Windows is running.

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. In the right pane, click Manage Rules & Alerts.

  3. In the Rules and Alerts box, on the Email Rules tab, click New Rule.

  4. Under Start from a blank rule, click either Apply rule on messages I receive or Apply rule on messages I send, and then click Next.

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

  6. Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click an underlined value for any condition you added, specify the value, and click Next.

  7. Under Step 1: Select action(s), check the perform a custom action box.

  8. Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click a custom action.

  9. In the Select Custom Action box, under Choose an action to be performed, click an action.

    Note:  If the add-in doesn’t appear, the add-in isn’t installed correctly for use by Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 for Windows. You must contact the add-in developer for more information.

  10. To change the default action, click Change.

  11. Click OK to return to the Rules Wizard, and click Next.

  12. Under Step 1: Select exception(s), select any exceptions to the rule, and click Next.

  13. Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click an underlined value for any exception that you added, specify the value, and click Next.

  14. Under Step 1: Specify a name for this rule, enter a name.

  15. Under Step 2: Setup rule options, check the boxes for the options you want.

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

    • The new rule is automatically 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 2013 or Outlook 2016 for Windows, select the Create this rule on all accounts check box.

  16. Click Finish.

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