Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Rules and Alerts 

This tutorial teaches you how to create and customize rules to help you organize your emails.

NOTE: Rules you create on Outlook 2015 may not replicate on Outlook 2011, Outlook 2010 and/or Office Web App.

What are Rules?

A rule can help you manage incoming emails in your Inbox. A rule is an action that Outlook takes automatically on an arriving or sent message that meets the conditions that you specify in the rule. Using rules can help you stay organized and up-to-date. Rules do not operate on messages that have been read, only on those that are unread.

    Creating a Rule

    1. On the toolbar, click Tools, then click Rules?
    2. If you have more than one email account, select the Inbox of the account you are adding a rule from the menu on the left

      select the account on the left and click plus sign to add a new rule
      • Click the + button to add a new rule
    3. New rule window will open with many different options:  untitled rule: fill in the fields as you wish
      • When a new message arrives that meets all these conditions: apply conditions to filter out the messages you want to address
      • Do the following: select the action that you want the rule to take when the specified conditions are met 
      • Except if: add an exception to the filter (optional)
      • If you want a message that meets these conditions to not get filtered by any other rules, select Do not apply other rules to messages that meet the same conditions
      • Click OK

      NOTE: When a new message arrives in your inbox, Outlook will go through the rules list top to bottom in order to seek a rule to apply to the new message. Therefore, you should prioritize your rules accordingly. But, if you always uncheck the box that says "Do not apply other rules to messages that meet the same conditions," then the order would not matter.

      rules must be prioritized

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    Create a Rule Directly From a Message

    If you would like to make a rule from an email message, you can do so. This can mean making a rule based on the sender, the subject, the account, or anything at all. Creating a rule directly from an email gives you the advantage of having many of the fields automatically filled.

    1. Right click on the message for which you want to create a rule, select Rules, then select Create Rule?
      • The rule window will open, and you can modify or add more rules as you see fit.

      creating a rule from a msg means the fields will be automatically filled in, you can then remove any excess fields you don't need.

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    Running Rules Manually in Your Inbox or Folder

    When you create a new rule, the default setting is that only new messages from that point on will be filtered according to the rule you just created. If you'd like the existing messages in your inbox (or some other folder) to also be filtered, you can manually run them.

    1. Go to the folder for which you would like to run your rules manually (e.g., your Inbox)

      Select inbox or another folder
      • On the ribbon, click on the Rules button

        on the ribbon, select the rules button
        • Mouse over Apply > and click Apply All

          select apply and apply all

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