If you hand-sort your email, you’re living in the past! You should use rules to automate your email management.
Intro to rules in Outlook
A rule is an action that Microsoft Outlook performs automatically upon incoming or outgoing messages, based on conditions that you have specified. You can create a rule from a template, from a message, or using your own conditions.
The Rules Wizard includes templates for the most commonly used rules, which include:
Stay Organized. These rules help you to file and follow up on messages. For example, you can create a rule for messages from a specific sender, such as Bobby Moore, with the word “sales” in the Subject line, to be flagged for follow-up, categorized as Sales, and moved to a folder called Bobby’s Sales.
Stay Up to Date. These rules notify you in some way when you receive a particular message. For example, you can create a rule that automatically sends an alert to your mobile device when you receive a message from a family member.
Start from a blank rule. These are rules that you create without the aid of a rule template and that you can completely customize.
Rules in Outlook 2010
The simplest way to create a rule is to start with a message.
- Right-click the message you want to base a rule on.
- Click Create Rule.
- In the Create Rule dialog box, select the conditions and actions you want to apply.
- To add more conditions, actions, or exceptions to the rule, click Advanced Options, and then follow the rest of the instructions in the Rules Wizard.
You can also create custom rules from scratch, and edit existing rules.
- Click the File tab.
- Click Manage Rules & Alerts.
- In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, on the E-mail Rules tab, click New Rule.
- Click through the wizard, configuring as desired.
For more info, see Microsoft Office Support: Outlook 2010: Rules
Rules in Outlook 2003
Rules work basically the same in Outlook 2003 as Outlook 2010. You can right-click messages to create rules in the same way as Outlook 2010. To create a custom rule from scratch, or edit your existing rules, click the Tools menu, then Rules and Alerts.
For more info, see Microsoft Office Support: Outlook 2003: Managing Messages by Using Rules