Use automatic reply rules to manage your inbox. Move messages from specific people or using specific keywords to different folders, forward them to other people, or send them directly to the recycle bin.
In this video, I’ll show you how to use rules to help keep your inbox organized while you’re away.
A rule is an action Outlook takes on incoming messages based on instructions you provide.
You’ll need an Exchange account to work with rules for automatic replies.
Talk to your system administrator if you don’t have one.
To create a rule for an out-of-office message, click File, and then click Automatic Replies.
Click the Rules button and then click Add Rule. Now I’m ready to set up my rule.
My teammate Dave and I have been talking a lot about the materials we’re going to use for our latest project.
I know I’ll want to get quickly caught up on this topic when I return, so I’ll have Outlook put these messages in a separate folder.
I'll take any message from Dave with the words “carbon fiber” in the subject line or the message body, select the Move To checkbox, click Folder, and then pick the folder I created for that project.
Then I click OK to close all the open dialog boxes.
Now when I turn on Automatic Replies, Dave’s emails automatically go into that folder.
Next, let’s build a more complex rule. I’ve been working with Colin on a different project, which will finish up while I’m away.
I want to make sure that my teammate Lisa knows about any last-minute issues that come up.
Back to the dialog box.
For messages from Colin with the word “fabrikam” in the subject line, I click Forward, and add Lisa’s address.
Then I click Copy to, then Folder, and place a copy of each message in my Work folder.
In other words, any messages from Colin about this project will go to Lisa while I’m gone and I’ll have a copy.
Keep in mind that these rules and any rules we set up from the Automatic Replies dialog box *only* work when automatic replies are running.
You can change the rules you’ve created, even while they’re running.
Just go back to the dialog box, click Rules, and you’ll see the options.
If you want to stop using a rule but keep it to use again later, just clear the checkbox for that rule.
If you need to change a rule, click Edit Rule, make the changes, and click OK.
Finally, to get rid of a rule entirely, click Delete Rule.
In the next video, we’ll see how to set up automatic replies even if you don’t have a Microsoft Exchange account.