In Document Management, Tips & Tricks

One great way to manage emails is through “Rules” in Microsoft Outlook. A “rule” helps you manage emails that you receive from particular people or regarding particular subjects. You have the ability to:

  • Flag messages from a specific person
  • Move messages from certain people to a particular folder
  • Direct messages to a particular person or folder based on the subject
  • Display alert messages when certain messages arrive

Perhaps you are a members of the Ohio State Bar Association, and as a result, you get a weekly email with the OSBA Report Online. While this is something you want to read on a weekly basis, you would like the email to go to a subfolder you have created in your Inbox titled “OSBA” so that your Outlook inbox doesn’t get cluttered with the weekly messages.

  1. Go to the “Tools” menu, and select “Rules and Alerts.”
  2. You will be presented with the Rules and Alerts screen, which will provide you with a Wizard to create your new email rule. Simply click on the “New Rule” icon at the top of the window.
  3. When the Wizard appears, you will see a variety of rule options in Step 1 (templates) to get you started.
  4. In our OSBA example, the “Subject” field always contains “OSBA Report Online.”  So, we will use the second option in the list, “Move messages from someone to a folder.”
  5. Once you have highlighted the template you want to work from, go to Step 2 on the bottom half of the Rules Wizard screen. The items that are highlighted in BLUE need your attention. Click on the first one “with specific words in the subject” to enter the criteria for the rule.
  6.  Type the words that appear in the subject, and click “Add.”
  7. You will notice that in Step 2, the highlighted words “with specific words in the subject” change to your actual search criteria:
  8. Next, tell the Wizard where you want the email moved by clicking on the highlighted word “specified.”  You will be presented with a view to your already existing Outlook folders. If you have not yet created the folder in which you want to store the OSBA Report Online emails, you can create it from here.
  9. Once Step 2 has been completed, click on the “Next” button.
  10. Then, you can name the Rule, and, you can ask Outlook to run the rule on messages that already exist in your inbox. This is a VERY handy way to begin the clean-up process.
  11. Click on “Finish.” You will see a progress bar indicating that the rule is being applied to the existing messages in your Inbox. Once the rule finishes being applied to the existing emails, you can close out of the Rules and Alerts screen. The rule will now be applied to all new messages.
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