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Office 365

E-mail Rules

Screen shot: Outlook 2010.

E-mail Rules in Outlook 2010

You can use e-mail rules to automatically organise your mail. For example, you can move mail from specific people, or move mail with specific words in the Subject line, into a folder. Don't forget that these rules can apply either to mail that you receive or to mail that you send - for example, mail you send to someone can be put in a specific folder.

Example: Forwarding Mail


Create a New Rule

Click the File tab, and under Info select Manage Rules & Alerts. Click New Rule. Click Apply rule on messages I receive.


Select Conditions

There is a large number of conditions which you can apply here, and as you can select any combination of them, that gives you an enormous number of possibilities. If you want to forward all of your mail you can leave everything unselected and just click Next. In this case you will be asked to confirm that we want this rule to apply to all messages.


Select Redirect Action

Under Step 1 select redirect it to people or public group. (You would use one of the forward options if you wanted to retain a copy of the mail in your Mailbox). Under Step 2 it reads "redirect it to people or public group". Click on the link "people or public group" and then select an e-mail address in the same way as if you were sending an e-mail. Click Next.


Optionally specify exceptions

You could now specify any exceptions if there were any (e.g. Except where it is marked as sensitivity). Click Next.


Name and complete

Specify a name for the rule, set up any rule options, and double-check the rule description before you click Finish.

If a member of staff is on long-term leave IT Services can not set this up on their behalf without sufficient authority. The manager of the member of staff must e-mail the Service Desk requesting that their e-mail is forwarded to one or more other members of staff. IT Services can not do this without an explicit written request from the relevant manager.

Quick Rules

There is a quick way of creating a rule: Select an e-mail message and on the Home tab, in the Move group, click on Move. You will be presented by a rule option depending on the e-mail: Always Move Messages From sender. If the e-mail was also sent to someone else you will also be given the option of Always Move Messages To recipient. These rules will be maintainable by the same mechanism as setting up a rule using the detailed method.

Creating Simple Rules

In the Home tab, in the Move group, click on Rules and select Create Rule. The dialogue box will allow you to create a simple rule.

Screen image: Create Rule.

You can choose (by selecting the appropriate check boxes) for the rule to be when From the sender of the e-mail and / or where the Subject contains (anything you choose) and / or to whom the e-mail is Sent to (the options here other than me only will make sense when the e-mail was sent to an e-mail list or a list of people).

You can then choose (by selecting the appropriate check boxes) to Display and / or Play an alert when this happens, and / or Move the item to a folder (use the Select Folder button to choose the folder).

You can click Advanced Options to set up more complex rules.

Complex Rules

You can also get to set up complex rules by clicking the File tab, and under Info selectingManage Rules & Alerts. Click New Rule. This will take you step-by-step through the Rules Wizard.

The Rules Wizard screen is divided into two "steps". At the top section of the window you select one or more options (e.g. Move to a folder). Then in the lower section of the window there is a rule description, and you select in turn each of the underlined words or phrases to give them a particular value. For example, if you had selected Move to a folder then the rule description would contain:

move it to the specified folder

You will click on "specified" and be given the opportunity to select the required folder.

This process may be repeated up to three times until the entire rule is built up.

The initial screen gives you the option of quickly selecting some useful templates, in particular:

  • Move messages from someone to a folder
  • Move messages with specific words in the subject to a folder
  • Move messages sent to a public group to a folder

Use these options if they are suitable. Otherwise the options under Start from a Blank Rulewill give you the greatest flexibility (and require the most work in setting up). The following example will help clarify the situation.

Managing Rules

You can manage rules by clicking the File tab, and under Info selecting Manage Rules & Alerts. Alternatively with E-mail selected in the Navigation pane, from the Home tab, in the Move group, select Rules and then Manage Rules & Alerts.

Screen image: Rules and Alerts.

You can now Change a rule (either Edit Rule Settings or Rename it), Copy a rule (great for creating one rule on another tried and tested one), and / or Delete a Rule. You can also change the order in which the rules are applied using the arrow buttons.

Note that the order the rules are applied is important. If you have one rule saying move all e-mail about something to a particular folder and another rule saying delete all e-mail from someone, then if you receive an e-mail about that something from that someone, what will happen will depend on the order of the rules.