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Microsoft Outlook 2007

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 from a Message

If you know that you will be getting a number of messages similar to one in your Inbox, you can create a rule from that message to react in a particular way to all the similar messages. This process is similar to creating Rules with the Rules Wizard, but uses assumptions based on the selected message.

HINT: If you do not like the options provided with Outlook's assumptions, you can further customize the rule by working with the Rules Wizard at any time by clicking ADVANCED OPTIONS.

  1. Right click the message you want to base the rule on » select Create Rule...
    The Create Rule dialog box appears, with some information filled in.
    Create Rule dialog box

  2. In the When I get e-mail with all of the selected conditions section, select the conditions that you would like to trigger the action

  3. In the Do the following section, select the action you would like to happen when the message fits the selected conditions

  4. To save the rule, click OK
    To close the Create Rule dialog box without creating the rule, click CANCEL

return to topCreating Rules with the Rules Wizard

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

  1. From the Navigation pane, click MAILMail button

  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. To start from a template or from a blank rule,
    1. In the Select a template section, select the appropriate rule template
    2. 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 PEOPLE OR DISTRIBUTION LIST to set which email addresses Outlook will look for before moving the message to the desired folder.
      A dialog box appears.
    3. Complete the dialog box as appropriate and click OK
      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.
    4. OPTIONAL: If more than one underlined condition appears, to adjust the parameters for additional condition, repeat steps b-c

  6. Click NEXT

  7. To add any additional condition(s),
    1. From the Select condition(s) scroll box, select the additional condition(s)
      NOTE: You may select more than one condition.
      If the selected condition(s) allow additional parameters to be set, the text in the Edit the rule description text box will appear underlined.
    2. 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.
    3. Complete the dialog box as appropriate and click OK
      NOTE: This dialog box will differ depending on which type of rule you selected.

  8. Click NEXT

  9. To add any additional action(s),
    1. From the Select action(s) scroll box, select the appropriate action(s)
      NOTE: You may select more than one action.
    2. 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.
    3. Complete the dialog box as appropriate and click OK
      NOTE: This dialog box will differ depending on which type of rule you selected.

  10. Click NEXT

  11. To specify times when this rule should not be applied,
    1. From the Select exception(s) (if necessary) scroll box, select conditions that will indicate the rule should not be applied
      NOTE: You may select more than one action.
    2. 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.
    3. Complete the dialog box as appropriate and click OK
      NOTE: This dialog box will differ depending on which type of rule you selected.

  12. Click NEXT

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

  14. If it is not already selected, select Turn on this rule
    HINT: The option is selected if a check mark appears.

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

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

  17. Click OK
    The new rule is applied.

return to topDeleting Rules

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

  1. From the Navigation pane, click MAILMail button

  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
    NOTE: The rule is selected when it appears highlighted.

  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
    The Rules and Alerts dialog box closes.

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