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(NOTE: This post, which was first published in July 2010, is very popular. Obviously, a lot of you want help managing your overflowing inboxes and are turning to the Rules feature in Outlook to help you do that.)
If you are a heavy email user like me, chances are good that you subscribe to a lot of mailing lists. Unsolicited spam is one issue we battle in our inboxes, but perhaps more perplexing is the amount of email messages that we call “graymail.”
Graymail consists of all those newsletters, coupons, and notifications that can sometimes be useful, but aren’t the things that you want to appear at the top of your Inbox. For example, some of the graymail I regularly receive includes notifications from Netflix, sale flyers from a local outdoors retailer, and email from a food and wine discussion group.
I like to see what movie Netflix has shipped to me, or what is on sale at my favorite stores, but since these messages aren’t time-sensitive and I don’t need to reply, I don’t want them to appear in my Inbox. I would rather move the messages to a folder where I can browse them later.
Outlook 2010 makes it easy for me to sort emails that need attention from graymail. For example, when I received a shipping notification from Netflix, on the ribbon I went to the Home tab and then clicked Rules. Then I clicked Always Move Messages from: Netflix. The sender was suggested based on the message sender and recipients (if it was sent to people other than you).
For a destination folder, I selected my Notifications and Alerts folder so that all of my current and future messages from Netflix would go to that folder. I did the same thing for other companies that regularly send me messages about sales and events that I am interested in.
Now, I’ll never see another Netflix notification in my Inbox, but they are always available in my Notification and Alerts folder that I review at my convenience every day or two.
When I sign up for a new mailing list such as the Food and Wine list I am on I use this “Always Move” command to quickly create a rule that moves messages sent to that mailing list to a new folder I make specifically for those emails.
I hope this simple way to create rules helps you take control of your Inbox by moving graymail messages into their own folders and keeping only the most important messages in your Inbox.
Outlook Program Manager
More info on rules:
Outlook Best Practices: RulesOutlook 2010 can save your hide: Creating custom rules (Crabby's Daily Tip)Make the New Year great with a better organized Inbox Import or export a set of rules
Hello, Tanks for the advice and it is a good implementation. However, I have to complain a little bit about rules, as the managment is oooold. I use lists in my contact folder for various reasons. It makes often sense to directly apply a rule to these lists. However, there is only a work around availible to do so and if I add a new member to a list I also have to add the member manually to the rule. It would be nice, if a rule would be linked to a list (and/or category). The way you describe above works, but please see that I cannot stand the mess of x-hundret rules without real options to sort and filter them in the manage box. What if I want to delete or change it? Finding this particular rule is anything but easy. Thanks and keep up the good work!
i have very high expectation with outlook 2010. and i am very disappointed. i tried this out and it took more than 2 hours for outlook to update my emails with the categories i have set via the rules. i tried to do this manually -meaning i set the category of an email by selecting the Quick Click Category. it took ages for the outlook to make the update. in gmail, you can do this in a jiffy. dont tell me that my system is underpowered. im using an Acer 4820TG with 4GB ram. my OS is win 7-64bit. our office email is an imap based system.
Outlook 2010 looks great.
I'm a fan of the quickparts and the rules. Only it seems that there's a limitation on the number of rules. Is my interpretation correct and if so can you suggest a work around? Thank you, RafC
My beef with Rules is that each rule applies to only one inbox. In this era of multiple email addresses arriving in Outlook 2010, the rules should be able to apply globally to all, as well as an option to select from among the accounts. I was very dissappointed to see in the Beta version Rules are still arcane and clumsy
hi all, I can create rule for only one contact. Could anyone guide me how to create rule for more than one contact ?
Hi Sujay, To create a rule for mail from multiple contacts in Outlook 2010, on the ribbon go to "Rules," then click "Manage Rules and Alerts" and create a new rule there. This gives you access to all of the advanced rule options. Josh Meisels
I am actually still using '03 so forgive me if this has already been addressed, but it doesn't look like it from these comments. I don't understand EJ Travis' comment as I have numerous accounts and rules apply to all. It is Search Folers like Unread Mail that won't apply to different PST files.
What I see as an obvious blunder in rules is two-fold dealing with sorting and spam:
1) Spam filters will never work. Not Possible. I use Outlook's filter set to safelist only. There are however legitimate newsletters which use a dynamic Return Path which keeps getting hung in Outlook's filter. This ties to rules (or would be nullified by):
2) Why is the Junk Mail Filter even applied if your rule is met? I use complex rules based entirely on header contents. As you know I can choose to bail when a rule is met or continue processing. This functionality would work great with the filter. If an email meets the criteria specified it IS NOT SPAM. If this is not true then you simply need to make better rules. So why not apply the filter after all rules have failed? It could even be optional much like the "stop processing more rules" checkbox?
Hello there, I am trying to create a rule for mail lists. I use distro or majordomo type lists that my clients send to normally the FROM is the client sending to say "Support@domain.com" the request gets distributed and all is well. I just moved to Outlook 2010 today and when the email comes in Outlook believes it is from the email@example.com instead the client's email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Is there a setting to turn this off? The rules don't work since they don't see the originating email address. Frankly the Outlook Express rule creation was much simpler and more flexible but outside of that I really like the integration of all of the Outlook components into the mail view. Dashbord like views are great! Thanks!
How to manage these quick rule graymail
Its very useful to me and thanks for the clear instruction and i really appreciate it
Outlook send and receive messages often used before, since out of office 2010, I have chosen the Microsoft Outlook 2010. But the time had an accident some time ago – hard drive damage, and this led to my account on Outlook 2010, contacts, personal signatures and other information are lost. E-mail the contents of PST files backed up by previous restore a part of
I love Office, but...it is counter intuitive that you eliminated the old ease of formatting colour by sender in favour of the complicated condition formatting. Apple likes to say 'it just works' and that is what you must bring to Office... the old means of changing, and a new overall management screen for multiple documents that allows you to work off of a topsites/foxtabs sort of open document interface.
I wanted to share a rule I use to move Bulk Mail to a separate folder. I created a folder called Bulk Items. Then I set a rule to move items there when the body of the message contains the work "unsubscribe". Nearly all bulk mail will have instructions on how to unsubscribe within the email body. Now mail from mailing lists is separated from my normal inbox!
I would like to create a rule that moves an email based on what is in the subject. But I would like to use an "and" condition and it seems Outlook only has the option of an "or" condition. (The subjects of the emails have multiple sections and I need to put in the rule 2 of the pieces ie if the subject has "The Times" and "Daily" in it. There may be other words in the subject that the rule can ignore. Is this at all possible?
Hi, How can I select all rules? for example, if i want to go home and de-select all rules, should I need to go one by one? I have 176 rules, which is very hard to go through. I know that in the command "run rules now" you can select all, but how can i do it with the rules itself? Thanks