Using Outlook Rules to Organize Mail

Using Outlook Rules to Organize Mail

Previously, I wrote about organizing your Outlook mail by using folders (see link below for article) and though this is a great way to organize your mail it still requires you to manually move the messages to the correct folder. What if there way an easier way?

Good news! There is an easier way!

If you use Outlook then you have the ability to create rules which are a set of actions, conditions or exceptions that are triggered by an action or event to help organize your email. For example, you could create a rule that moves any email from your boss to a folder called Ignore - though that may not be the best career move!

Rules can be used to automatically move email to a folder, delete email from a specified sending, reply to an email - the possibilities are endless depending on what you would like to accomplish. The basic idea behind creating a rule is as follows:

  • Determine the trigger (received email, sent email, etc.)
  • Determine the action (delete email, move email, reply to email, etc,)
  • Determine any exceptions - messages for which the rule will not be applied

To Setup a Rule in MS Outlook:

  1. Select Tools
  2. Click On Rules and Alerts
  3. Click on New Rule

At this point you will be prompted to either create a rule from a template or start with a blank rule. If you are creating a basic rule (such as move to folder) select the template and click Next. If you want to create  rule from scratch select Start from a blank rule and follow the wizard which will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a new rule.

Once the rule is setup it is good to test the rule to make sure it is working properly - (not all rule are easily testable such as an auto-reply rule). If you rule for moving a file to a folder you can test the rule by selecting a message that has the appropriate criteria for the rule and selecting Run this rule now.

As you can see rules can be very helpful in trying to tame your message madness. Take a look at your inbox and take some time to determine what rules you can use to make managing and filing your email quicker, easier and automatic!

You Should Also Read:
Using Folder in Outlook
Using Search Folders to Organize Outlook Mail

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This content was written by Allison Nunn. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Allison Nunn for details.