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Creating message rules

From: Outlook for Mac 2011 Essential Training

Video: Creating message rules

Outlook's most powerful Email tool is called Rules. Rules allow you to take actions on your email based on a variety of criteria. You can use rules to move messages into folders, send auto replies, or add senders to your Contacts list. We will look at all the available options, as well as make suggestions on how to use rules creatively and effectively. For our first rule, we will set up Outlook, so that all our emails about photography automatically go into our Photography subfolder instead of in the inbox. Start by clicking on a message to use as the basis for your rule.

Creating message rules

Outlook's most powerful Email tool is called Rules. Rules allow you to take actions on your email based on a variety of criteria. You can use rules to move messages into folders, send auto replies, or add senders to your Contacts list. We will look at all the available options, as well as make suggestions on how to use rules creatively and effectively. For our first rule, we will set up Outlook, so that all our emails about photography automatically go into our Photography subfolder instead of in the inbox. Start by clicking on a message to use as the basis for your rule.

You don't have to do this but if you identify inapplicable message first, some of your criteria will auto fill and make the process easier. So I'll start by on the email that I want, go to the Home Ribbon, and select the Rules button. Click on Edit Rules. That command took me to Outlook's Preferences. The same command is if I went to the Outlook menu and choose Preferences. If I clicked this Show All button, you can see the Main Preferences window and the Rules button is right here.

On the left side of the Rules pane, you will see four types of rules, for the three types of email accounts and also Outgoing. If you need a review, we discussed these three types email accounts in the videos about setting up Outlook. Briefly, Exchange are Email accounts that are set up in your workplace, IMAP are email accounts that are also accessible on websites or your cell phone, and POP are accounts when you're only checked your email from this one computer. Click on the right category for the email account you have. For our first rule, I'll select an IMAP account since I'm also checking this email address at gmail.com.

Click the plus sign at the bottom center to open up the rule builder. First, name your rule something descriptive so that you'll know what it is later when you save it on the list. I'll enter Photography. There are two parts to this window. The top is where you set the identifying criteria, how Outlook knows to apply this rule, and the bottom part are the actions that you can take on the message. To start, click on this Folder drop-down. You have a long list of possible options. Now of all these, which ones do we need? We want to move all of our messages about photography into our Photography folder, so let's start with Subject, Contains, and I'll erase the subject line that auto filled and just leave photographs.

Let's add a second criteria. Add Criteria and I want all the messages From, I'll change this Contains to Is, and kyle.werner.designer I'll now add a third criteria. Here is a tip. I'll frequently just put in the domain name of a company so that messages that come from anyone at that website will come through. That way if I sometimes hear from newsletter@lynda.com and sometimes from info@lynda.com, both will automatically be moved into this folder.

Before this rule can work though, look up at this Execute drop-down. If you look at the four criteria we created, it's unlikely that all three will be met at the same time but we want the rule to get triggered if any one of them are met. We will change this drop-down menu to say if any criteria are met. Now if a message matches any of these three, that email will get routed to my Photography folder. Now that we've set the possible matches for our email rule, let's explore the actions that we can take on the message.

Because the purpose for this rule is to move our photography messages, let's select Move message and then we will choose the folder that we want it to go to. I'll choose the folder. I'll go to CaliforniaNapolitano. I'll drop-down the arrow next to the INBOX to choose Photography and I'll select the Choose button. I can also take this opportunity to assign a category to my message. In the video about creating categories, we set one up called Photography so that we could group any similar items together.

So I'll come over to this Set category and change None to Photography. If you ever have a criteria or an action that you don't want, you can click the Remove Criterion button or the Remove Action button. Now sometimes you have the option of unclicking this choice here, Do not apply other rules to your message. If you do want several possible actions to apply, you would uncheck this box. You can also enable and disable this rule, if it's one, for example, that you only need at certain times of the year.

The next time new mail arrives, it will be sorted according to this rule. Click OK. Once you have several rules for different actions, you can also specify the order that will be applied by dragging them higher or lower on the list. For example, if you had a rule that deleted messages and another rule that adds the email sender to a contacts group, you'd certainly want to run the rule that adds the sender to the Address Book first, or else that message will be deleted without any other the rules being applied. Now I would like to demonstrate another one of my favorite rules.

Auto sending a reply back anytime someone sends me a message through the contact form on my website. This time click on POP. Anyone who sends a message to my POP email address has a question that they want me to answer and a case, I can't respond immediately, it would be nice for them to know that I at least received the message. So I'll click on the POP account, click the plus sign down at the bottom, and I'll name this Autoreply. I'll change All messages to Any recipient, make sure this says Contains, and then I'll put my email address in the blank.

In the Then section, set the first criteria to Reply, click the Reply Text button, and I'll type Thanks for your email! At Californianapolitano, we take your feedback and questions seriously. Please allow 24 hours for your reply. Sincerely, Olivia. I'll click OK here, click in the space between the set category in the criteria to highlight it, and choose Remove Action. And I'm going to uncheck this Do not apply other rules box, because I might want other rules to also be applied, and then I'll click OK.

Now, let's close our Preference pane and see how these rules work. After creating a rule, in our case several, I may want to apply that rule to my already existing messages. In that case, I would go back to my Inbox, click on a message, and press Command+A on my keyboard to select all the messages. Or you can go up to the Edit menu and choose Select All. I'll click on my Rules button in the Home Ribbon and select Apply All. Our new rules will be applied to our existing messages and many of them will disappear from this list as they are moved to their folders.

And there are all the messages. Now, when your new email comes in, keep an eye on the numbers in these unread ovals, so that you know when new messages arrive, they may never hit your inbox at all now, and you want to be sure that you see them and reply in a timely fashion. So as you can see, implementing rules will help your organization and save you time from repetitious actions you take on your messages on a daily basis.

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This video is part of

Image for Outlook for Mac 2011 Essential Training
Outlook for Mac 2011 Essential Training

68 video lessons · 10922 viewers

Alicia Katz Pollock
Author

 
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  1. 54s
    1. Welcome
      54s
  2. 26m 12s
    1. Introducing Outlook 2011
      2m 1s
    2. Setting up Exchange accounts
      3m 8s
    3. Setting up IMAP accounts
      2m 19s
    4. Setting up POP accounts manually
      3m 31s
    5. Importing email from other applications
      2m 49s
    6. Importing and exporting contacts
      3m 47s
    7. Exploring the user interface
      2m 30s
    8. Customizing the view
      3m 7s
    9. Creating categories
      3m 0s
  3. 13m 29s
    1. Exploring the Inbox
      1m 51s
    2. Checking for new mail
      3m 42s
    3. Reading email
      3m 0s
    4. Deleting email
      1m 15s
    5. Previewing and saving attachments
      1m 46s
    6. Printing emails
      1m 55s
  4. 27m 31s
    1. Creating a new message
      4m 10s
    2. Formatting messages
      5m 18s
    3. Adding attachments
      1m 43s
    4. Adding pictures with the Media Browser
      2m 22s
    5. Information Rights Management
      3m 15s
    6. Replying and forwarding
      3m 5s
    7. Working with signatures
      4m 11s
    8. Working with priorities
      1m 9s
    9. Setting up Out of Office auto-replies
      2m 18s
  5. 20m 46s
    1. Arranging your Inbox
      3m 40s
    2. Using the Conversation view
      2m 47s
    3. Organizing messages with folders
      3m 48s
    4. Creating message rules
      7m 23s
    5. The Mailing List Manager
      2m 12s
    6. Filtering messages
      56s
  6. 9m 1s
    1. Setting junk mail protection levels
      3m 41s
    2. Managing your Junk folder
      3m 17s
    3. Recognizing spam
      2m 3s
  7. 19m 9s
    1. Viewing contacts
      2m 42s
    2. Creating contacts
      6m 14s
    3. Creating contact groups
      2m 40s
    4. Sending email to your contacts
      1m 0s
    5. Printing your contact list
      1m 50s
    6. Syncing contacts
      1m 58s
    7. Working with vCards and exporting
      2m 45s
  8. 25m 42s
    1. Viewing the Calendar
      5m 25s
    2. Creating appointments
      7m 12s
    3. Creating recurring appointments
      3m 34s
    4. Creating meetings and inviting attendees
      5m 29s
    5. Adding holidays
      2m 23s
    6. Printing your calendar
      1m 39s
  9. 7m 8s
    1. Creating new tasks and completing them
      2m 28s
    2. Managing your tasks
      4m 40s
  10. 9m 28s
    1. Creating new notes
      4m 50s
    2. Managing your notes
      3m 44s
    3. Printing notes
      54s
  11. 20m 8s
    1. Using categories
      6m 14s
    2. Flagging items
      4m 15s
    3. Searching and smart folders
      4m 49s
    4. Using folders
      1m 36s
    5. Right-clicking
      3m 14s
  12. 37m 57s
    1. Delegating and sharing public folders
      5m 12s
    2. Syncing Exchange and IMAP
      1m 9s
    3. Setting preferences
      7m 1s
    4. Using AutoCorrect
      2m 9s
    5. Using My Day
      5m 16s
    6. Using the Scrapbook
      5m 38s
    7. Using the reference tools
      2m 58s
    8. Getting help
      2m 34s
    9. Backing up
      3m 6s
    10. Using the Database Utility
      2m 54s
  13. 32s
    1. Final thoughts
      32s

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