Keep Your Inbox Clean and Organized with Outlook Rules

Even if your spam filter does a great job of separating the wheat from the chaff, chances are the volume of legitimate emails you receive sometimes overwhelms your inbox. Fortunately, Outlook has a powerful “rules” filter to help keep your emails organized. To create a rule, launch Outlook. You must be viewing mail to configure rules.

Outlook 2003 & 2007
1. From the menu, select Tools, and then select Rules and Alerts.


2. Click on the New Rule button.


3. The Rules Wizard will appear on the screen. The rule can either be created from a generic template or from a blank rule.


Outlook 2010 & 2013
1. From the File tab, click Manage Rules & Alerts.


2. Click New Rule.


3. The Rules Wizard will appear on the screen. The rule can either be created from a generic template or from a blank rule.


CC Crisis—Sometimes a coworker’s admirable attempt to keep you “in the loop” by Cc-ing you on every communiqué results in a barrage of emails that you don’t need to spend a lot of time on. Outlook’s filter can file messages where your address appears only in the Cc: or Bcc: field into a folder marked as such. If something requires your urgent attention, the sender will most likely put your name in the To: field.

Newsletter Neurosis—If you’ve opted-in for daily, weekly, or monthly newsletters, chances are you don’t have the time to sit down and read them every time one arrives. Create a rule to file such messages in a “Newsletter” folder.

Report Rage—Similarly, setting up a rule to file periodic reports into a separate folder gives you a convenient place to keep them until you’re ready to view them.

Vacation Vitriol—Create a rule to filter Out-of-Office/Vacation auto-replies. This is particularly useful if you’re sending emails to a large number of recipients and don’t need to know that a handful of them are at the doctor’s office for the afternoon or in Hawaii for the week. Just be sure to check that folder if you send an email that needs immediate attention.

Social Media Malaise—Tired of your inbox chirping every time someone comments on your Facebook status? Create rules to file messages from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. to a separate folder.

For best results, use Outlook’s rules as an organizing tool—not as a detection method of unsolicited emails. That’s what your spam filter is for.

For more tips on how you can fully optimize your Microsoft Outlook click the link below and you will be able to download the CMIT Solutions Guide to Outlook Tips & Optimization.

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