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In Outlook 2010: Effective Email Management, author Gini Courter demonstrates techniques to streamline the Outlook mailbox workflow. The course covers strategies for customizing views, adding filters, utilizing flags, and creating and organizing folders. The course also shows how to automate tasks as well as make effective use of QuickSteps to process email, and more.
If you simply want to create a rule that moves a message, then the easiest way to do it is to select a message and choose Rules and either choose to move a message from a particular person or to a particular person. However, if you want to do anything else automatically, then you need to actually create a rule. You can choose any message you wish or no message at all, and under Rules, choose Create Rule or right-click and choose Rules > Create Rule. I'd like to create two different kinds of rules that will run in the background automatically in order to handle my incoming items for OilFest and OilFest Vendors.
You may recall that we created a message earlier to send to vendors, and we asked them to include the words "OilFest Vendor" in the subject line of any requests that they sent us for information. What we'd like to do now is rather than use a search folder to find those, we want to automatically move all of the incoming e-mails with OilFest Vendor in the subject line and move those to a folder called Vendor Info Requests. We already have a Quick Step that we can use to move those items to the Vendor Info Sent folder after we send the info.
So this completes our system to be able to manage these vendor requests proactively. With any message selected, it doesn't really matter which one, because I don't have one that I want to use yet, I'm going to choose Rules > Create Rule. I'm going to click directly on the Advanced Options and say, when the message comes in and here's the subject, I'm looking for in the subject, so I'm going to say when it comes with some information in the subject, click the hyperlink. It will always have some information from the message I've selected.
If I had one that said OilFest Vendors, I would be in Heaven right now, but I don't. I have to create my own. So I asked folks to put Oilfest Vendor in their subject. That's one possibility. Another possibility is that they would simply type it this way, that somebody would say, hey! How do I address that request? And I say Oh! Don't forget to put OilFest Vendor in the subject, and having heard this, they think it was three words, or they might spell vendor wrong. I don't want to deal with all the possible typos that a person could put in here, but there are plenty of people who don't know how to spell vendor.
So there are my choices. If any of these appear in the subject, then I'm going to assume this is a vendor request and route it to the Vendor Request folder. So I'm going to say OK. There is my conditions. Now I'm going to click Next and move it to the specified folder. By specified folder, I mean the folder that's called Vendor Info Request. So I've selected it here in the Rules and Alerts dialog box, and I'm going to click OK. Next, I'm allowed to list any exceptions. There really are no exceptions to this rule for me. That's what I'd actually like to have happen each and every time. Hmm I want to go back a step though, because I just realized I'd like to have something else happen.
I'm moving these automatically, but I'd like to get on them pretty quick when they arrive. So just go back a step. Let's go ahead and say also would you play a sound when these come in? I'm going to click a sound, and I get to choose a sound. There are lots of them listed here. I have got this Windows Notify sound. We can right-click and play it. That's what it sounds like. It's not really intrusive, but it will let us know that something's happened. So I'm going to go ahead and choose that Windows Notify sound and go ahead and click Open. Now I could also show an alert.
If you take a look, there are a whole lot of actions that I can provide, but I'm going to just play a sound, so if I'm sitting in Excel, for example, I'll hear that sound and go, ah! Something just happened. Click Next. As I noted earlier, I have no exceptions that I want to make to this rule. So finally, I simply need to give it a name. It will have the name of all of those choices I typed, which is an awful name, so I'm just going to name this Move Vendor Info Requests. That's my rule. In case I already have some items that would be vendor info requests that would meet these criteria that I applied, I'm going to go ahead and run the rule now on messages in the Inbox and click Finish.
It says that this rule is client-only and will only run when Microsoft Outlook is running, and the reason for that is I am having it play a sound. If I don't have Outlook running, there is nothing to ask Windows to play that notify sound. That's fine with me. I'm going to say OK. My rules now have been created, and if I have any messages in my Inbox that have OilFest Vendor in any of those four ways I told Outlook to look for it, they would have been moved to the Vendor Info Requests folder. I don't have any because I haven't sent that e-mail out yet.
Now I've dealt with the info request. I've previously dealt with moving some of the items that are coming in about administration. Now what I want to do is I want to move anything that says OilFest at all in its subject or OilFest 2010 in the body, over to my OilFest 2010 folder. So, I'm not looking for messages to or from a particular person. I need to create a verbose rule. So I can choose any message I want to start with. I'm going to ignore most of the input, and I'm going to go to Create Rule and open the Create Rule dialog box.
Now the choices are, is it from a particular person, what does the subject contain, who was it sent to, and then I can display an alert, play a sound or move it to a folder. If I knew that all of the messages I wanted to move had the same information in the subject, and it was spelled correctly, of course I could use this, but we're back to Advanced Options again. I'm going to say that the subject does not contain catering party, but actually contains simply Oil Fest or oilfest, all as one word.
I can also look for information in the subject or the body. So this looks for OilFest in the subject. If I prefer, I can say I'm actually looking for it in the body or the subject. Now the problem with doing this is that when my friends write to me and say, hey! How is Oil Fest going? It will move those as well. That's a problem. I need to decide if I'm willing actually to look in the body or not, but if I am, I can simply add those here. When a message comes in, Outlook will turn it over and say, is it in the subject? Is it in the body? So if it's in the subject or the body, then what I want to do is I want to move it to a specified folder.
In this case, I'm going to move it to the OilFest 2010 folder. I could also, if I wish, at the same time, assign it to a category. I have an OilFest category. I'm going to go ahead and grab it as well. So I'm categorizing this message and moving it to a folder. If I wish, I could also play a sound. We know some of the other options that we can do while we're here. Let's go ahead and click Next. Here's where we would note any exceptions. It could be that I would want to make an exception that if it comes from a member of my workgroup, my team, that I noted earlier, that I wouldn't want those to move, but we'll just leave this as it is for now.
I'm going to name this rule OilFest 2010. I'll run this rule on any messages now in the Inbox, just so it's consistent. Because I'm playing a sound or doing something local, it says, please note, you have to have Outlook running for this rule to take effect. So I've now quickly created two different kinds of rules using the Rules Generator here in Microsoft Outlook 2010. Don't be afraid to create rules that will allow you to automate how your e-mail is processed.
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