Office 365 (Outlook on the web) - Inbox rules

This topic shows you how to use Inbox Rules to automatically perform specific actions on messages as they arrive, based on criteria you select. For example, you can create a rule to automatically move all mail sent to a group you're a member of to a specific folder. When you setup a rule in Outlook Web App, the rule will be applied regardless of the client you are using.

To manage rules, click Settings icon in the top right, settings icon > Your app settings > Mail. Then in the left-hand column Mail > Automatic Processing> Inbox Rules.

Inbox rules screenshot

Note: The Outlook on the web client recently received an update to their options menu which is reflected in the document below. The old options menu encounters an error attempting to create a rule in Chrome when using the 'it was sent to' or 'it was received from' conditions in the rule.

How do I manage Inbox rules?

What you'll see on the Inbox Rules tab

The Inbox Rules tab shows you an overview of all your Inbox rules. From here, you can review what a rule does, turn rules off or on, create new rules, edit existing rules, or delete rules that you no longer need.



new new

Use this to create a new Inbox rule.

edit edit

Highlight a rule, and then click here to view or edit the details of a rule.

discard delete

Highlight a rule, and then click Delete to delete it.

move up move up

Use this to move the selected rule up in the list. Rules are processed from top to bottom.

Move down move down

Use this to move the selected rule down in the list.

refresh refresh

Use this to refresh the list of rules.


Use the check box next to a rule to turn it on (box checked) or off (box not checked).


The name of the rule

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How do I create a new rule?

Note: Please note that rules are NOT case sensitive. For example, if you create a rule that sends an email containing the string of characters 'to' to junk, this will send any email with the string 'TO,' 'To,' 'tO,' and 'to' to the junk folder.

To create a new blank rule using the Inbox Rules tab, choose new new.

The new rule window has three sections:



When the message arrives and:

Use this box to select criteria for your rule. Use the down arrow to view and select the criteria you want to use.

If the criteria have additional options, enter them in the window that appears.

Do the following:

Use this box to select the action you want taken when a message arrives that meets the criteria you selected.

More Options

Use More Options to:

  • Add additional conditions or actions to a rule.

  • Add exceptions to a rule by selecting Add Exception.

  • Turn on or turn off the option to stop processing more rules. By default, the option to stop processing more rules is turned on. With this option on, when a message comes in that meets the criteria for more than one rule, only the first rule will be applied. Without this setting, all rules that the message meets the criteria for are applied.

    For example, without Stop processing more rules selected, if you have a rule to move all messages sent to a public group to a particular folder and another rule to move anything from your manager to another folder, and your manager then sends a message to that group, you'll find a copy of the message in both folders. If you want only the rule that moves messages from your manager to be applied, put that rule higher in the list than the rule that moves messages sent to the group, and then edit the first rule to add the option to stop processing more rules.

  • Create a custom name for a rule.

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How do I edit a rule?

You can edit any rule by selecting it and choosing edit edit to open the rule so that you can change the conditions or actions of the rule.

How do I delete a rule?

If you have a rule that you no longer want, you can select it and then click discard delete to remove it. If you just want to turn the rule off for a while, remove the check mark next to the rule.

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How do I create a rule from a message?

If you receive a email message and want to create a rule for it, perform the following steps:

  1. Right-click the message in the message list pane, then click create rule....
  2. Or while you view the message in the reading pane, select the extended menu extended menu and then choose create rule... from the menu.

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What else do I need to know?

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