Create custom actions rules

A rule is an action that Microsoft Outlook 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 add-ins that enable custom actions, such as automatically printing new email messages. Microsoft does not 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.

To find Outlook add-ins on the web, see this article, or use your web browser to search for Outlook custom actions.

The following instructions will help you create a rule that runs a custom action add-in.

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

Create a custom action rule

To create a rule by choosing your own conditions, actions, and exceptions, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Manage Rules & Alerts.

  3. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, on the E-mail Rules tab, click New Rule.

  4. Under Start from a blank rule, click either Check messages when they arrive or Check messages after sending.

  5. Click Next.

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

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

  8. Click Next.

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

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

  11. In the Select Custom Action dialog 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. You must contact the add-in developer for more information.

  12. To change the default action, click Change.

  13. Click OK to return to the Rules Wizard.

  14. Click Next.

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

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

  17. Click Next.

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

  19. 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. You can turn the rule on later.

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

  20. Click Finish.

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