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Microsoft Outlook 2003

Using Rules to Organize Your Email

Using Rules can help you organize your email in Outlook. Rules allow you to set actions that will be performed automatically after receiving a message that meets criteria you set.  For example, Outlook can redirect messages with a certain subject line or messages containing a certain word or phrase. Or, messages from a colleague can be automatically forwarded or placed in a special folder. Outlook rules are flexible and allow you to tailor them to your needs.

return to topTypes of Rules

Outlook allows you to create many different types of rules to help automate and organize your email. Once set, these rules enable Outlook to automatically perform such actions as the following:

return to topCreating Rules with the Rules Wizard

The Rules Wizard allows you to quickly and easily set rules in Outlook.

  1. If necessary, open your Inbox

  2. From the Tools menu, select Rules and Alerts...
    The Rules and Alerts dialog box appears.

  3. Select the E-mail Rules tab

  4. Click NEW RULE...New Rule button
    The Rules Wizard dialog box appears.
    Rules Wizard dialog box

  5. Select Start creating a rule from a template

  6. In the Select a template section, select the appropriate rule template

  7. In the Edit the rule description section, edit the conditions as necessary by clicking the underlined portion
    NOTE: Conditions that are not underlined do not need editing.
    EXAMPLE: Click SPECIFIC WORDS to set which word(s) Outlook will look for
    A dialog box appears.

  8. Complete the dialog box as appropriate and click OK
    EXAMPLE: To set words to search for, in the Search Text dialog box that appears, type the word you want Outlook to search for
    NOTE: This dialog box will differ depending on which type of rule you selected.
    You are returned to the Rules Wizard Type of Rule dialog box.

  9. Click NEXT

  10. From the Select condition(s) scroll box, select the appropriate condition(s)
    NOTE: If you select a condition with underlined text, in the Rule description text box, click the underlined portion to enter a value.

  11. In the Edit the rule description section, edit the conditions as necessary by clicking the underlined portion
    NOTE: Conditions that are not underlined do not need editing.

  12. Complete the dialog box as appropriate and click OK
    HINT: To set words to search for, in the Search Text dialog box that appears, type the word you want Outlook to search for.
    NOTE: This dialog box will differ depending on which type of rule you selected.

  13. Click NEXT

  14. In the Select action(s) scroll box, select the appropriate action(s)
    NOTE: You may select more than one action.

  15. In the Edit the rule description section, edit the conditions as necessary by clicking the underlined portion
    NOTE: Conditions that are not underlined do not need editing.

  16. Click NEXT

  17. In the Select exemption(s) scroll box, select the appropriate exemption(s)
    NOTE: You may select more than one action.

  18. In the Edit the rule description section, edit the conditions as necessary by clicking the underlined portion
    NOTE: Conditions that are not underlined do not need editing.

  19. Click NEXT

  20. In the Specify a name for this rule text box, type a name for the new rule

  21. If it is not already selected, select Turn on this rule.

  22. OPTIONAL: Select Run this rule now on messages already in "Inbox" to have the rule applied to messages you already have

  23. Click FINISH
    The Rules Wizard main dialog box appears.
    HINT: You can review the rule and revise it as needed in the Rule description text box.

  24. Click OK
    The new rule is applied.

return to topDeleting Rules

When a rule is no longer needed, it can be deleted.

  1. If necessary, open your Inbox

  2. From the Tools menu, select Rules and Alerts...
    The Rules and Alerts dialog box appears.

  3. Select the E-mail Rules tab

  4. From the Rule (applied in order shown) scroll box, select the rule that you want to delete

  5. Click DELETEDelete button
    OR
    Press [Delete]
    A confirmation dialog box appears.

  6. To delete the rule, click YES
    To keep the rule, click NO

  7. Click OK

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