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I've never liked repeating the same task, so I'm glad Outlook has extensive support for rules to deal with the e-mails I receive. A rule is something that's applied to incoming e-mails, and if they match a certain criteria, a set of actions are carried out. Here I'll give you three examples of rules that I use, and how to create each one. Rule number one: creating a newsletter folder. Here is an e-mail newsletter I subscribe to. I don't want it to clutter up my Inbox, so I'm going to tell Outlook to automatically move these newsletters to their own folder.
I can either pull down the Rules menu here, or right-click on the message and choose Rules here. I'll get the same options either way. Outlook has built-in rules ready to go. I can just choose Always move messages from and the e-mail address that follows to begin creating the new rule. A dialog box appears asking me where to place messages that are from that e-mail address. Since I don't yet have a folder for it, I'm going to create a new one.
I'd like this new folder to exist inside my Inbox. So I'll choose Inbox, hit New, and then create a new one called Newsletters. The folder is now created inside my Inbox, and I'll click OK. Not only was the rule created, but Outlook automatically ran it on my Inbox. This means that now any newsletters that are from that e-mail address, anywhere in my Inbox, are automatically gathered up and moved to my Newsletters folder.
Now, let me show you a second rule. I'm going to create a pop-up alert when I get an e-mail from my boss, Judith. Just like before I'm going to find an e-mail that I already have from her in my Inbox. When I right-click on her e-mail this time and choose Rules, there's no rule that says to create a pop-up alert, so I'm going to create a new one. This dialog box is the simple version of the Create Rule Wizard. I can select the condition--from my boss-- and an action--display the New Item Alert window.
That's all I'm going to have to do here. Notice that there is an Advanced button for more options, and we'll try that out in our third example. For now, I'm going to create the rule and hit OK. Outlook lets me know that the rule will only be effective when Outlook is running; in other words, it won't run on the server. Now, I just sit back and wait for Judith to send me a new e-mail. And there it is: a new message from Judith. There is the subject line of the message, along with the date it was received.
I can open it or close the alert. In my third example, I'm going to show you how to create a rule that automatically assigns a category to an e-mail. Since I'm planning the company picnic, I'd like for every e-mail that contains the word "picnic" to automatically be assigned to the Picnic category. To do this, I'm going to use the Advanced Rule Wizard. I'll pull down the Rules menu and choose Create Rule. Since the simple version doesn't offer the options that I need, I'll click Advanced Options.
Now, I'll specify a condition. My condition is going to be with specific words anywhere in the subject or body. So I'll choose this option here, and specify not new candidate, but rather, picnic. Since some people are calling it the party, I'm going to add that term as well. Together, this forms my condition. I'll hit Next to move on and specify an action. With every e-mail that contains the words "picnic" or "party," I'd like to assign them to the Picnic category.
I can choose this box here to make that happen. Finally, I can move on to the third step which allows me to specify any exceptions. And since there are none, I'll finish things up, and my rule is finished. Now, if I would like to run the rule on those messages already in my Inbox, I can. I'll go to the Folder tab, click Run Rules Now, specify the rule I'd like to run, and click Run Now.
Now, if I scan through my Inbox, I'll see all the messages with the word "picnic" or "party" indicated with the purple category. As you can see, the flexibility and ease of the Rules feature makes it one of Outlook's most powerful and useful features.
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