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

Use inbox rules to automatically perform specific actions on email messages that come into your inbox. For example, you can create rules that will change the importance level of email messages as they come in, automatically move them to specific folders, or even delete them based on certain criteria.

Note: Outlook on the web does not support running new rules on existing emails. To do this, please use Outlook 2013.

How do I create a new rule?

  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options, which opens the Options panel on the left. Under Mail > Automatic processing, select Inbox rules.

    Inbox Rules

  2. Select Add under Inbox rules.

    Add inbox rule

  3. Type a name for the rule in the Name box and then select a condition and action from their respective drop- down lists.

    New Rule dialog

    You can add additional conditions or actions by selecting Add condition or Add action.

  4. Add exceptions to the rule by selecting Add exception and then choosing one from the Add exception menu.

  5. Either leave the Stop processing more rules check box checked or uncheck it. - By default, the option to stop processing more rules is turned on. With this option on, when a message comes in that meets the criteria for more than one rule, only the first rule will be applied. Without selecting this check box, all rules that a message meets the criteria for are applied.

    Stop processing rules

How do I edit a rule?

You can edit any rule by selecting it and choosing Edit edit to open the rule so that you can change the conditions or actions of the rule.

How do I delete a rule?

If you have a rule that you no longer want, you can select it and then select Delete discard to remove it. If you just want to turn the rule off for a while, remove the check mark next to the rule.

Set the order in which rules are applied to incoming messages

Rules are applied to incoming messages based on the order they're in within the Inbox rules list. You can arrange the order in which the rules you create are applied to messages coming into your inbox:

  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options, which opens the Options panel on the left. Under Mail > Automatic processing, select Inbox rules.

    Inbox Rules

  2. Under Inbox rules, select the rule you want to move and then select the up or down arrow Move rule up or down in list to place the rule where you want it applied within the rules list.

Examples of how to use rules

Set up a rule to move mail based on some text in subject line
  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options, which opens the Options panel on the left. Under Mail > Automatic processing, select Inbox rules.

    Inbox Rules

  2. Select Add under Inbox rules.

    Add inbox rule

  3. Type a name for the rule in the Name box.

  4. Under When the message arrives, and, select It includes these words, and then select in the subject.

    When message arrives

  5. Specify a word or phrase that would be in the subject line of the message to move, select Add Add , and then select OK.

    Specify words or phases

  6. Under Do the following, select Move, copy, or delete, and then select Move the message to folder.

    Do the following

  7. Select the folder to move the messages to and select OK.

  8. Select OK at the top of the dialog box.

Set up a rule to change the importance of emails based on sender
  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options, which opens the Options panel on the left. Under Mail > Automatic processing, select Inbox rules.

    Inbox Rules

  2. Select Add under Inbox rules.

    Add inbox rule

  3. Type a name for the rule in the Name box.

  4. Under When the message arrives, and, select It was sent or received, and then select Received from.

  5. Select the contact from the contact list and select Add Add .

  6. Under Do the following, select Mark the message and with importance.

  7. Select the importance level and then select OK.

    Select importance

  8. Select OK at the top of the dialog.

What else do I need to know?

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