It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when looking at an email inbox full of unread messages. The good news is that many email providers, like Microsoft, include rules features that help automate your email organization. That way, you can focus on the most important messages.
Here’s a guide on how to create rules in Outlook 365.
Table of contents
To create an Outlook rule from an existing message:
1. Log in to your Outlook account.2. Find the message you want to create a rule for. Right-click and select “Advanced actions,” then “Create rule.”
Alternatively, you can open the email and click on the “...” in the message settings and select “Advanced actions,” then “Create rule.”
3. If you want to move messages from the same sender to a folder, use the dropdown menu to select an existing folder or create a new folder. Select “OK” to save your rule.
4. If you want to create a different rule, select “More options” to open the full “Rules” menu.
5. Next to the “1,” type a name for your rule.
6. Next to the “2,” use the dropdown menu to add a condition. If you want to add more than one condition, select “Add another condition.”
7. Next to the “3,” use the dropdown menus to add an action that you want to apply to all messages that meet your condition(s).
Actions are sorted into the following categories:
Select “Add another action” if you want to add a second or third action.
8. (Optional) If you want to add an exception to your rule, select “Add an exception” and use the dropdown menu to select your exception.
9. (Optional) Check the box that says “Run rule now” if you want Outlook to apply the rule to existing messages in your inbox after you hit “Save.”
10. (Optional) Check the box that says “Stop processing more rules” if you want Outlook to stop processing other rules that may apply to the same message.
For example, let’s say you have two rules:
If your boss sends you an “Automatic reply” vacation responder, the second rule would apply, and Outlook would delete the message.
If you don’t want any of your boss’s emails deleted, then you can select “Stop processing more rules” when you create Rule 1. This means that after Outlook moves your boss’s message to its designated folder, it won’t process any further rules for that message.
11. Hit “Save” to save your rule.
To access the “Rules” tool from your email settings:
1. Log in to your Outlook account.
2. Click the “...” icon on the right side, then select “Rules” and “Manage rules.” This will open the “Rules” menu, where you can manage existing rules and create new rules.
3. Click “+ Add a new rule” to create a new rule.
From there, follow steps 5 through 11 in the previous section (How to create a rule in Outlook from a message) to create and save a new rule.