If you’ve ever thought that it’d be handy if your email inbox automatically categorised certain emails, generated a specific notification, or dropped them into a designated folder, rules could provide just what you need.
Rules have long been used by email providers to allow users to pre-set conditions that will sort, forward or arrange emails immediately after they arrive or are sent. It automates the menial tasks and ensures they get done – not forgotten about or overlooked.
The Outlook desktop app is no exception, and there are rules for all manner of conditions ready to be applied to your inbox.
To begin, open an email on which you want to apply rules in future (such as any that come in from a certain sender, or with a specific subject line, for example). Then, click the three dots to the top-right hand side of your desktop app, hover over ‘Rules’, then click ‘Create Rule’.
From here you’re able to set a rule, with some of the information automatically generated based on the email you currently have open. At the top is the line: ‘When I get an email with all of the selected conditions’, with three options below (‘From’, ‘Subject contains’ and Sent to’). Tick any, all or a selection of these, based on your requirements, then move onto the section below: ‘Do the following’.
Here is where you choose what to do with any future emails that meet the above conditions: ‘Display in the New Item Alert window’, ‘Play a selected sound’ or ‘Move the item to folder’. Again, you can select any number of these (whilst also choosing the sound to play or the target folder to move the email into).
Once you’re done, simply hit ‘OK’ and the rule will immediately be applied to all future emails.
Of course, these options are somewhat limited. If you want to do anything else, select ‘Advanced Options’ for a host of different conditions that can be combined to provide all the functions you’re ever likely to need.
Later, if you’ve created a rule that you no longer wish to keep, simply click those three dots once more, then select ‘Rules’ and ‘Manage Rules and Alerts’, where they can be changed, copied or deleted.