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M365 Outlook (How To) Create Inbox Rules

Microsoft Outlook allows users to set up Mail Rules which can perform automated actions such as forwarding, moving or deleting messages as they arrive.


1. With Outlook open, select the Home tab in the Ribbon.

2. Select Rules.

3. Select Manage Rules & Alerts.

4. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, select New Rule...

The Rules Wizard includes templates for the most frequently used rules, which include the following:

  • Stay organized: These rules help you file and follow up on messages. For example, you can create a rule for messages from a specific sender, such as Anne, with the word sales in the Subject line, to be flagged for follow-up, categorized as Sales, and moved to a folder named Anne's Sales.
  • Stay up to date: These rules notify you in some way when you receive a particular message. For example, you can create a rule that automatically sends a message to a mobile device when you receive a message from a family member.
  • Start from a blank rule: These are rules that you create without the aid of a rule template and that you can completely customize.

5. In the first screen of the "Rules Wizard", select a template or start from a blank rule.

6. Specify the appropriate description criteria in the Edit the rule description area. Selecting any blue underlined text will open a dialog box in which you will be able to select the specific criteria.

7. Select Next >.

8. Depending on the type of template chosen, the next screen will allow you to add or remove evaluation conditions in the "Select condition(s)" area.

9. If you added or removed conditions, you will have to define the specific criteria in the "Edit the rule description" area, just as you did on the previous screen.

10. Select Next >.

11. Select any exceptions to the rule in the "Select exception(s)" area.

12. If exceptions were added, you will have to define the specific criteria in the "Edit the rule description" area.

13. Select Next >.

14. Enter a name for the new rule in the "Specify a name for this rule" text box.

15. Check or uncheck any appropriate options in the "Setup rule options" area.

16. Make any final changes to the rule in the "Review the rule description" area.

17. Select Finish.

Some rules are applied in any user and some will only run in the user in which they are configured. If the rule you have configured will only work in the current user, you will receive the message below when the rule is being saved.


KeywordsO365, Office 365, OotW, Outlook, Outlook user, Outlook 2016, inbox rules, inbox filtering, mail rules, mailbox rules, mailbox filters, filters, rules,   Doc ID42148
OwnerHelp Desk K.GroupUW-Milwaukee Help Desk
Created2014-07-22 16:13:40Updated2023-07-13 15:38:56
SitesUW-Milwaukee Help Desk
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