Use inbox rules in Outlook.com

Use inbox rules to automatically perform specific actions on email that arrives in your inbox.

For information about how to use Archive, Sweep, or other tools, see Organize your inbox with Archive, Sweep, and other tools in Outlook.com.

Which version of Outlook.com are you using?

The instructions are slightly different depending on whether you're using the Outlook.com beta. Choose which version you're using to see the instructions that apply to you.

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

A screenshot of the top left corner of the Outlook.com beta mailbox

See Instructions for the Outlook.com beta.

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

A screenshot of the top left corner of the classic Outlook.com mailbox

See Instructions for classic Outlook.com.

Instructions for the Outlook.com beta

Rules are applied to incoming messages and can be created from any folder.

  1. To quickly create a rule that moves all email from a specific sender or a set of senders to a folder, right-click a message in your message list that you want to create a rule for, and select Create rule.

  2. Choose the folder where you want all messages from that sender or set of senders to be moved, and then select OK.

  3. Select OK.

If you'd like to do more than just move the message from a specific sender or set of senders to a folder, select More options.

  1. To create a completely new rule, at the top of the page, select Settings Settings > View all Outlook settings > Mail > Rules.

  2. Click Add new rule.

Every rule needs at least three things: A name, a condition, and an action. Rules can also contain exceptions to conditions. You can add multiple conditions, actions, and exceptions at each step by choosing Add a condition, Add an action, and Add an exception.

If you don't want any more rules to run after this one does, select the Stop processing more rules check box. For more information, seeStop processing more rules in Outlook.com.

Press Save to create your rule or Discard to cancel rule creation.

  1. At the top of the page, select Settings Settings > View all Outlook settings.

  2. Select Mail > Rules.

  3. In the rule you want to edit, select edit .

  4. Press Save to save your edited rule.

Note: Some rules created in other versions of Outlook can't be processed by Outlook.com. You won't be able to run or edit the rule in Outlook.com.

  1. At the top of the page, select Settings Settings > View all Outlook settings.

  2. Select Mail > Rules.

  3. In the rule you want to delete, select Delete .

    Tip: If you just want to turn the rule off for a while, select the toggle next to the rule.

Inbox 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. At the top of the page, select Settings Settings > View all Outlook settings.

  2. Select Mail > Rules.

  3. Select a rule, and then use the Up arrow or Down arrow to change the order in which the rule is applied to incoming messages.

Currently, you can't run inbox rules on existing messages in the Outlook.com beta. A new rule is applied only to messages you receive after the rule was created.

However, you can use Archive, Move to, and Sweep to automatically move or delete messages in your inbox. To learn more, see Organize your inbox with Archive, Sweep, and other tools in Outlook.com.

Instructions for classic Outlook.com

Rules only run on your inbox. Rules don't run on other folders.

  1. Right-click a message in your message list that you want to create a rule for, and then select Create rule.

  2. Enter a name for the rule, and then select a condition and action from their respective drop-down lists.

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

  3. Add exceptions to the inbox rule by selecting Add exception.

    Note: By default, the Stop processing more rules option is turned on. When this option is on, when a message arrives in your inbox that meets the criteria for more than one rule, only the first rule will be applied. When this option is off, all inbox rules that a message meets the criteria for are applied.

  1. At the top of the page, select Settings > Options.

  2. Under Mail > Automatic processing, select Inbox and sweep rules.

  3. Select the rule you want to edit and then select edit .

  4. When you've finished making changes, select OK.

  1. At the top of the page, select Settings > Options.

  2. Under Mail > Automatic processing, select Inbox and sweep rules.

  3. Select the rule you want to delete and then select Delete .

  4. Select Save.

    Tip: If you just want to turn the rule off for a while, clear the check box next to the rule.

Inbox 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. At the top of the page, select Settings > Options.

  2. Under Mail > Automatic processing, select Inbox and sweep rules.

  3. Select the rule you want to move and then select the Up arrow Move up or Down arrow Move down to change the order in which it is applied to incoming messages.

Currently, you can't run inbox rules on existing messages. A new rule is applied only to messages you receive after it was created.

However, you can use Archive, Move to, and Sweep to automatically move or delete messages in your inbox. To learn more, see Organize your inbox with Archive, Sweep, and other tools in Outlook.com.

What else do I need to know?

You might have created a rule to forward or redirect messages you receive to another email address. If so, it's important to know the difference between forwarding and redirecting.

  • A forwarded message appears as a message you received and then forwarded to another recipient. When the recipient replies, the reply will go to the address the message was forwarded from.

  • A redirected message keeps the original sender on the From line. When a recipient that a message was redirected to replies, the reply will go to the original sender.

Still need help?

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See Also

Organize your inbox with Archive, Sweep, and other tools in Outlook.com

Help keep spam out of your Inbox in Outlook.com

Sort email messages in Outlook.com

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