Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and sometimes from email@example.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.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
82 Video lessons · 90301 Viewers
80 Video lessons · 137818 Viewers
59 Video lessons · 56544 Viewers
52 Video lessons · 70168 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.