Create a rule

A rule is an action that is performed automatically on incoming or outgoing messages, based on conditions that you specify. You can create rules to help you stay organized. For example, you can create rules to automatically file messages into folders or assign messages to categories.

Do any of the following:

ShowQuickly create a rule based upon a message's sender or recipient

A common type of rule directs Outlook to move messages to a folder based on the sender or recipient. For example, you can create a rule that moves all messages from "Toni Poe" to a folder called "Mail from Toni". Outlook has a shortcut to create these types of rules from an existing message.

 Tip   If you receive messages from a contact group (also known as a distribution list), you can create a rule that automatically moves messages that are sent to the group into a folder.

  1. In the message list, click a message with the sender or recipient that you want to create a rule for.
  2. On the Home tab, click Rules, and then click Move Messages from (sender's name) or Move Messages to (recipient's name).

Home tab, group 4

  1. In the folder search box, start typing the name of the folder that you want to move messages to.
  2. When the folder you want appears, click the folder name, click Choose, and then click OK.

 Note   

ShowCreate a rule based on an existing message

When you create a rule from an existing message, the sender, recipient, and subject are automatically pre-populated in the rules instructions.

  1. In the message list, click the message from which you want to create a rule.
  2. On the Home tab, click Rules, and then click Create Rule.

Home tab, group 4

  1. Under When a new message arrives, edit the criteria to suit your needs.

To remove one of the criteria, click Remove search criteria button. To add additional criteria, click Add search criteria button.

  1. Under Do the following, specify the actions that you want to be performed.
  2. Click OK.

 Note   

ShowCreate a custom rule

Instead of creating a rule from an existing message, you create a custom rule based on any criteria you want. Creating a custom rule is necessary if you have an account managed by Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 or later and you want to save the rule on your computer. (If you create the rule based on an existing message, rules for an account managed by Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 or later are saved on the Exchange server, not on your computer.)

  1. On the Tools menu, click Rules.
  2. In the left pane of the Rules dialog box, do one of the following:
To Do this
Create a rule that runs on your computer while Outlook is open Under ON MY COMPUTER, click the account type.
Create a rule that runs on the Exchange server (this option is only available for accounts managed by Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 or later) Under EXCHANGE SERVERS, click the account name.

ShowIf you don't know what type of account you have

  1. In the Rules dialog box, click Show All, and then under Personal Settings, click Accounts.
  2. In the left pane of the Accounts dialog box, click the account.The account type appears under the account description. In this example, the account is a POP account.Account type indicator
  3. To return to the Rules dialog box, click Show All, and then under E-mail, click Rules.
  1. Click Add Add.
  2. In the Rule name box, type a name for the rule.
  3. Under When a new message arrives, on the leftmost pop-up menu, click the type of information that you want to identify.

For most criteria, you move from left to right to use more pop-up menus or text boxes. For example, to identify all messages sent from coworkers, the criterion could be "From" "Contains" "@alpineskihouse.com".

ShowIf you want to have multiple criteria separated by "or"

For rules saved on the Exchange server, follow this procedure:

  1. In the leftmost pop-up menu of the criteria, select a field that contains text, such as From, Recipients, or Subject.
  2. Moving to the right, in the second pop-up menu, select Contains.
  3. Click Add search terms, and then in the search list, click Add Add for each term that you want to add.

 Note   For rules saved on your computer, you can use the pop-up menu above the criteria to select If Any Criteria Are Met or other options.

  1. To remove one of the criteria, click Remove search criteria button. To add additional criteria, click Add search criteria button.
  2. Under Do the following, specify the actions that you want to be performed.
  3. Click OK.


 Notes 

See also

Turn on or off Out of Office replies

Edit a rule

Create additional folders in the navigation pane

The rule I created does not work

Server-based rules versus On My Computer rules

 
 
Applies to:
Outlook for Mac 2011