Managing Rules in Outlook 

Morgan Little - Systems Administrator

by Morgan Little
July 2018

A great feature in Microsoft Outlook is creating Rules to help you manage your email messages. Leveraging rules in Outlook can help reduce the manual and repetitive actions you go through to manage your mailbox. These rules can even be setup to run automatically with actions like filing email messages to folders in your mailbox or notify you when you receive a particular message.  Let’s dive in on a couple ways to work with Outlook Rules.

First, the Rule’s Wizard provides many different ways for your to design and manage rules. The wizard breaks rules down to three categories :

  1. Stay Organized: These rules offer options to file and flag messages based off the details your provide.
  2. Stay Up to Date: These rules offer options to notify you or forward emails differently based off of the details you provide.
  3. Start from a blank rule : This allows you to get creative with the rule you are designing.

We are going to go through the basic options to start but please refer to the reference at the bottom for more details. The first step is to create a rule and here are the step-by-step instructions:


Create a Rule

Step 1: Choose an Outlook rules template

Within Outlook’s Home Tab, Choose Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts from the ribbon or choose the File tab and then choose Manage Rules & Alerts.

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

In the Rules Wizard, under Step 1: Select a template, pick one of the default templates under Stay Organized, Stay Up to Date, or, Start from a blank rule. For this example, choose the Stay Organized option Move messages from someone to a folder.


Step 2: Edit the rule description

When the options require you to make a choice, for example to specify a sender or choose a folder, the option will be underlined.

1. Choose people or public group in the edit description box to display your address book. Either choose a name from your address book or type the person's email address in the From box, then choose OK.

2. Choose specified to display a list of your folders. You can choose an existing folder or choose New to create a new folder. When you've selected the appropriate folder, choose OK.

If you want to explore advanced options for the rule, choose Next and then skip to Advanced Rule Options, below. Otherwise, choose Finish. This returns you to the Rules and Alerts window.

From here, you can create another rule or choose OK to save your changes.

Here is an example of a rule from the Stay Up to Date Template:

Display mail from someone in the New Item Alert Window

1. Choose the people or public folder link.
2. In the Rule Address dialog box, do one of the following:

- In the Search box, type a name.
- In the Address Book list, choose a source.

3. When your selection is displayed in the From box, choose OK.
4. Choose the specific message in the New Item Alert window link.
5. In the Alert Message dialog box, in the Specify an alert message box, type a message, and then choose OK.
6. Choose Next, and then go to Step 3: Set conditions for a rule.

What if you create a rule that you no longer wanted running?
Here are the steps on how to delete a rule:

               Delete a Rule

    1. On the File tab, choose Manage Rules & Alerts.
    2. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, on the E-mail Rules tab, choose the rule you want to delete.
    3. Choose Delete > OK.

Finally, you can setup rules to not run automatically so they would only work when you run them manually. Here are the steps on how to do this:

You can manually run one or more rules.

  1. On the File tab, choose Manage Rules & Alerts, and on the E-mail Rules tab, choose Run Rules Now.
  2. In the Run Rules Now box, under Select rules to run, select the check box for each rule that you want to run.
  3. In the Run in Folder box, to select a different folder, choose Browse, choose the folder, and then choose OK. Select the Include subfolders check box to include all folders under the folder you chose in step 3.
  1. In the Apply rules to list, accept the default setting of all messages, or change to read or unread messages.
  2. Choose Run Now.

In conclusion, we hope you enjoy having the knowledge on how to use this as a great way to organize your Outlook Mailbox.

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