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Another great tool Outlook gives you to help stay organized are Rules. You can use Rules to do things like when messages come in from your boss, automatically set them as high importance. Or automatically flag them for follow- up, or how about take messages with a certain word, like saying meeting in the subject line, and put them in the folder called Meetings. Let's go to the Tools menu to get at the Rules. Choose Rules and Alerts. Here you'll see any Rules you already have, and there's one in here by default. It says "Clear categories on mail". So when you receive mail, if it's had a color category set on it, it'll automatically clear that so that you can set your own.
Let's create a New Rule. And we have two ways we can do this. We can choose one from a template, so we can say, move messages from someone to a folder, or move messages with specific words in the subject to a folder, or you can start from a blank Rule that will either check messages when they arrive, or after they've been sent. In this case, I'm just going to do a blank one so I can show you what some of the options are. Check messages when they arrive, so when I get new messages... Let's click Next... We can first set some conditions.
In this case, I want to check messages that have specific words in the subject. To set what the words are, come down here in Step Two and click on "specific words", and you can type the words you want in the list. Note that you can add multiple words in here in the search list. Note that you can use multiple conditions, so I've set a condition of "Apply this rule after the message arrives with meeting in the subject." I can also say where my name is in the To: box. And notice the "and" here, so we'll build a set of conditions together.
I just want things with meetings in the subject, so let's go Next. And you can do a variety of things, from moving it to a specified folder, which is exactly what we want to do. So, to choose the folder, I'll click on the word "specified" down below, and I wanted to put it in my Meetings folder here under Saved Messages. Notice I can click New to create a folder right at this time if I'd like. You can do lots of things with these messages, copy to a specific folder instead of moving it, forward it automatically to people or a distribution lists, set or clear a flag, print it, play a sound, start an application, mark it as read, run the script, all kinds of things you can do here.
Even perform a custom action. But I just want to move it to the Meetings folder, so that's fine for now, I'll click Next. You can also set exceptions, say don't do this if it's flagged for action, or if my name is in the Cc box. I don't need any exceptions, but there's a great many to choose from here. Now, we'll give it a name.
Try and be very descriptive. Move messages with "meeting" in the subject to the "Meetings" folder. Step two is to run this Rule now, and by default, it's set to turn on the Rule. If it's a rule you want to run all the time, make sure you leave this to turned on. I'm also going to run it now, because I want it to run on messages in my Inbox currently. I'm ready to go, I'm going to choose Finish. Notice that at any time, you can take a look at your list of Rules, and only the ones with a checkmark beside them will be on, or working.
If you only want to run a Rule sometimes, don't check it off here, so don't turn it on. Then just click on Run Rules Now. When you do that, you can choose which ones you'd like to run, and on what folder you'd like to run them. And you could include subfolders or not. You can apply it to all messages, or only certain ones like to read or unread and then choose Run Now. You also have some other Options here. Primarily, you could Export and Import your Rules, and if you've a upgrade your version of Outlook, you can also upgrade your Rules.
The new Rules in 2007 give you many more options and are much more flexible. You can also Enable Rules on RSS Feed if you like, but in most cases, I don't find this applicable. So we created our new Rule and ran it, and now if we check in the Meetings folder, here are two messages that had the word meeting in the subject, and they were both automatically put into the Meetings folder.
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