Troubleshoot rules

ShowThe rule I created does not work.

  • If you specified multiple conditions, each condition must be met for the rule (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.) to be applied. For example, if you created a rule that checks for the conditions sent only to me and marked as Private, then the rule is applied only to private messages sent to you.
  • If you are moving or copying the message to a folder, make sure the folder exists and is available. For example, if you have a rule that moves a message to a folder on your computer, then your computer must be available for the rule to work.
  • Check to see if any of the exceptions you specified are preventing the rule from being applied.
  • You might have created the rule in the Organize pane. Rules created in the Organize pane are applied only to the active Inbox. If you are now in a different Inbox, switch to the original Inbox and copy the rule from there.

ShowWhen I work with mail headers, my rules don't work.

ShowMy rule is applying to all my e-mail accounts in this Inbox, but I want it to apply only to one account.

ShowRules to move e-mail messages from distribution lists don't work.

To redirect e-mail messages sent to a distribution group, make sure that the conditions are set to sent to people or distribution list. If the conditions are set to from people or distribution list, e-mail messages won't be moved to the specified folder.

ShowI created a rule, but I don't see it in any of my other Inboxes.

Rules you create are applied only to the Inbox you are currently working in. To use the rule in your other Inboxes, copy the rule.

ShowHow?

ShowThe Create this rule on all accounts check box is unavailable even though I have more than one e-mail account.

The availability of this option depends on the type of accounts you have and whether each account has its own Inbox. This option is available only if you have two or more IMAP (IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): Unlike Internet e-mail protocols such as POP3, IMAP creates folders on a server to store/organize messages for retrieval by other computers. You can read message headers only and select which messages to download.) accounts, or an IMAP account in addition to any Exchange or POP3 (POP3: A common protocol that is used to retrieve e-mail messages from an Internet e-mail server.) accounts.

ShowI can't see the rule I created.

You have upgraded your rules (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.) to Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and you are now using an earlier version of Outlook. The earlier version of Outlook will display only the names of your Office Outlook 2003 rules. The rule descriptions won't be available. In addition, the rules won't run unless they are rules that are run on the server ("server-based" rules).

ShowI receive an error message indicating that some rules have been deactivated because they can't be uploaded to the Exchange server.

The storage limit for your rules is 32 KB. If the total size of your rules exceeds this limit, some rules may be disabled.

To reduce the size of your rules, do one or more of the following:

ShowMy rule name contains the word "changed" or "failed."

If you see the word "changed" in the name of your rule (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.), it means that Outlook modified the exceptions in your rule to fit supported actions and conditions.

If you see the word "failed" in the name of your rule, it means that Outlook was unable to successfully import your entire rule. The most common cause of import failure is that the rule is too complex; for example, it has too many conditions. You should examine and manually modify these rules.

ShowHow?

  1. In the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes panes such as Shortcuts or Mail and the shortcuts or folders within each pane. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.), click Mail.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts.
  3. If you have more than one e-mail account, in the Apply changes to this folder list, click the Inbox you want.
  4. In the list of rules, click the rule (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.) you want to modify.
  5. Do one of the following:

ShowChange a condition, action, or exception.

  1. Click Change Rule, and then click Edit Rule Settings.
  2. Follow the rest of the instructions in the Rules Wizard.

ShowRename a rule.

  1. Click Change Rule, and then click Rename Rule.
  2. In the New name of rule box, type a name.

ShowMy rule name contains the words "client-only."

You have created a rule (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.) with one or more of the following conditions or actions:

Conditions

  • Through the specified account
  • Assigned to category category
  • Uses the form name form
  • With selected properties of documents or forms
  • Sender is in specified Address Book
  • On this machine only

Actions

  • Move it to a folder

 Note   This action constitutes a client-only rule only when the folder you specify is not on the server ( for example, moving the message to a .pst file on your computer).

  • Print it
  • Assign it to the category category
  • Reply using a specific template
  • Flag message for action in a number of days
  • Flag message with a colored flag
  • Play a sound
  • Run a script
  • Start application
  • Mark it as importance
  • Display a specific message in the New Item Alert window
  • Display a Desktop Alert

Additional information on client-only rules is available in Outlook Help.

ShowMy Change Rule button is unavailable.

You have created a rule (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.) with the action Redirect it to people or distribution list. This rule can only be run on Microsoft Exchange Server accounts and then only on the server. To change this rule, switch to your Exchange Server account, and then click Change Rule.

ShowI can't complete the Rules Wizard because it keeps asking me to specify a value.

Many steps in the process to create a rule require you to specify conditions, actions, or exceptions. Some of these require a value. For example, if you want to move a message to a folder, you must specify the name of the folder. To specify a value, click the underlined text in the Edit the rule description box in the Rules Wizard. After you set an initial value, you can change it in later steps of the Rules Wizard.

ShowThe New Item Alerts dialog box does not appear when it should.

You may already have the New Item Alerts dialog box open. Only one instance of the dialog box can be open at a time. To close the dialog box, switch to it, and then click Close.

ShowI receive an error message indicating that my rules are in a bad format.

Your rules have been corrupted. You must delete and recreate all your rules as follows:

  1. Quit Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Search for the Outlook executable file, Outlook.exe, and make a note of the path to Outlook.exe. For example, the path might be C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Outlook.exe.
  3. Click Start, and then click Run.
  4. In the Open box, type the complete path you noted in step 2, including the file name. Press the SPACEBAR once, and then type a forward slash mark (/) followed by Cleanrules.

The command you type in the Open box should look like this:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Outlook.exe" /Cleanrules

 Note   Paths that include spaces between words must be enclosed in quotation marks (") and are case sensitive.

  1. To run the command, click OK.
  2. If necessary, select the user profile that contains the rules.
  3. Start Outlook, and then create your rules again.

ShowI receive a message indicating that some of my rules can't be retrieved intact.

You have an Inbox Assistant rule (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.) with several conditions and exceptions that you are trying to import. The Rules Wizard does not recognize certain complex rules. Recreate the rule, simplifying it by leaving out some of the conditions and exceptions.

ShowI picked the wrong set of rules to import.

If you imported the wrong set of rules (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.), you can either import a backup copy of your rules or manually recreate your rules.

  1. Delete the incorrect rules.
  2. Do one of the following:

ShowImport a backup copy of your rules.

When you import rules (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.), they are added to the end of the list of rules. You can import only one set of rules at a time. When you export rules, they are saved in a file with an .rwz extension.

  1. In the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes panes such as Shortcuts or Mail and the shortcuts or folders within each pane. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.), click Mail.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts.
  3. If you have more than one e-mail account (e-mail account: The server name, user name, password, and e-mail address used by Outlook to connect to an e-mail service. You create the e-mail account in Outlook by using information provided by your administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).), in the Apply changes to this folder list, click the Inbox you want.
  4. Click Options.
  5. Do one of the following:

ShowImport rules.

  1. Click Import Rules.
  2. In the File name box, type the path and file name for the set of rules you want to import.
  3. If you want to import a file that contains rules other than Office Outlook 2003 rules, click the file type in the Files of type list.
  4. Click Open.

ShowExport rules.

  1. Click Export Rules.
  2. In the File name box, type the path and file name for the set of rules you want to export.
  3. If you want to export a file that contains only rules that are compatible with a previous version of Microsoft Outlook, in the Save as type list, select Outlook 2002 Compatible Rules Wizard rules, Outlook 2000 Compatible Rules Wizard rules, or Outlook 98 Compatible Rules Wizard rules.
  4. Click Save.

ShowRecreate your rules.

  1. In the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes panes such as Shortcuts or Mail and the shortcuts or folders within each pane. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.), click Mail.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts.
  3. If you have more than one e-mail account (e-mail account: The server name, user name, password, and e-mail address used by Outlook to connect to an e-mail service. You create the e-mail account in Outlook by using information provided by your administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).), in the Apply changes to this folder list, click the Inbox you want.
  4. Click New Rule.
  5. Do one of the following:
    • Click Start creating a rule from a template.
    • Click Start from a blank rule.

 Note   This option is not available when you create a rule (rule: One or more automatic actions taken on e-mail messages and meeting requests that meet certain conditions, along with any exceptions to those conditions. Rules are also referred to as filters.) for a public folder (public folder: Folder on a public server that people can use to share information, such as work information, discussions, contacts, tasks, and classified ads. Permissions determine who can view and alter the folder and to what extent.).

  1. Click Next.
  2. Follow the rest of the instructions in the Rules Wizard.

If you want to run a new rule on messages already in the Inbox, select the Run this rule now on messages already in Inbox check box on the last page of the Rules Wizard.

To have this rule apply to all your e-mail accounts and Inboxes, select the Create this rule on all accounts check box on the last page of the Rules Wizard.

ShowTip

If you want to run a rule periodically but not all the time, do the following:

  1. On the Rules and Alerts dialog box, turn the rule off by clearing the check box next to the rule.
  2. Click Run Rules Now.
  3. On the Run Rules Now dialog box, under Select rules to run, select the check box next to the rule you want to run.
  4. Select the folder that you want to apply the rule to.
  5. Select the category of messages that you want to apply the rule to.

For example, you can apply the rule only to unread messages in a folder.

  1. Click Run Now.

ShowI receive message "One or more rules contain errors. Delete or modify these rules."

One or more of your rules no longer contains valid criteria.

  1. Click OK in the dialog box, or on the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts, and then click OK.
  2. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, select the rule that has (Error) appended to the end of the rule name.
  3. Under Rule description, click the specified hyperlink or the hyperlink that contains invalid information, and update the information.
  4. To save the changes, click OK.
 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2003