Setting Inbox Rules for Email Filing

Last week we wrote about some techniques to organize email using Microsoft Outlook features. This post covered some great ways that you can use to organize your messages. And while these tips showed some great ways to file and find email, this week we’ll show you how to automatically get Outlook to do some of the work for you.

This post will cover how to setup Outlook to help organize and file your email using rules.

Rules Wizard

  1. Choose HOME, or MESSAGE, then RULES .
  2. Select a suggested rule. Or, select CREATE RULE, then select the CONDITIONS you want to enforce.
  3. [Click] OK. If desired, check RUN THIS RULE NOW, then [Click] OK.

To change, or delete rules, choose HOME, or MESSAGE, RULES , then select MANAGE RULES & ALERTS.

Advanced Rules

  1. Choose HOME, or MESSAGE, RULES . Select CREATE RULE, then [Click] ADVANCED OPTIONS.
  2. Check the conditions you would like to apply. To provide additional details for a condition, [Click] the underlined text in the bottom area until all conditions have been given their required criteria, then [Click] NEXT.
  3. Check the actions you would like to take. To provide details for an action, [Click] the underlined text in the bottom area until all actions have been given their directives, then [Click] NEXT.
  4. Check exceptions, if any. [Click] the underlined text to provide details, then [Click] NEXT.
  5. Type a name for the rule. To apply the rule to message already in the inbox, check RUN THIS RULE NOW ON MESSAGE ALREADY IN “INBOX”. [Click] FINISH.

You can create rules based on various criteria and assign actions accordingly. For instance, you can assign a category or follow-up flag for all email that comes from a specific person, or automatically move all messages with certain words in the subject to a folder. You can also automatically forward all emails that arrive through a particular email account to a group of people.

Have you ever used rules? In the comments let us know which ones!

Be careful not to go overboard by creating so many folders that you lose track of the messages within them. It’s often wise to file email into just a few folders, and make sure the criteria used streamlines your email rather than taking up more time.

If used smartly and sparingly, however, the rules you create can help make sense of your incoming email and really make a difference when it comes to sorting things out.

Interested in more ways to deal with your Outlook Inbox? Check out our Microsoft Outlook Quick Reference Cards for easy-to-follow tips on using Outlook to be more organized and productive.