MS Outlook Tip: How to Automatically Organize Incoming Emails

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MS Outlook Tip: How to Automatically Organize Incoming Emails

The Model T assembly line is often hailed as a paradigm-shifting example of productivity. Outlook rules will never have that honor, but they are a terrific productivity tool when correctly tuned. The rules in Outlook may genuinely function as an assembly line for all of your incoming email management chores.

Consider rules to be traffic police who guide, move (email), and streamline traffic flow. Rules are particular sets of instructions that are applied to messages when certain criteria are met. Rules are applied to both messages and RSS feeds.

All Outlook rules fall into two categories: those that deal with arranging your emails by shifting them around and those that alert you when something happens.

The nice thing about rules is that they may be implemented selectively, in combination, automatically, or manually. Consider this: in the absence of rules, we would have had to spend substantial time manually filtering through the emails one at a time.

One of the most common use for rules is when you wish to organize emails in Outlook and automatically transfer emails to folders as they arrive in the inbox. The apparent advantage of automatically shunting emails is cleanliness and order. The rule works well for emails that come regularly, such as newsletters, email updates, or feeds. Such emails are often saved in “storage” for later viewing.

Creating personal folders for such emails is the first step, followed by developing a system to automatically organize those emails into these folders.

  1. Create a folder or folders to save the emails in (e.g. Job, Family, Pals, and Newsletters etc).
  2. A rule may be created immediately from a message. Right-click on the email you wish to automatically transfer to the special folder and choose Move to Special Folder. Select Create Rule.
  3. By ticking the boxes in the Create Rule window that appears, you may pick one or more criteria and the follow through actions. You may filter the email by sender address (or distribution list), topic, and/or recipient, as indicated. For incoming mail, you may also configure a sound alarm or a desktop New Item Alert. Checkmark the box to transfer the email to a certain folder. Place the item in the folder. Click the Pick folder option to select an existing folder or New to create a new one.
  4. To confirm the new rule, click OK. From now on, any emails that meet the new criterion will be automatically placed to the folder. Check the box Run this rule now on messages already in the current folder if you want to run the rule right away.
  5. If you like, you may fine-tune the rule even further by selecting Advanced Options. The advanced option wizard allows you to pick additional criteria, a set of actions to execute on them, and any exceptions to the rules. The rules configuration process culminates with the final screen, where you may give the rule a descriptive name, enable it, and review it for any adjustments. So, have you considered any fascinating rule-bending maneuvers? Let’s see… you can transfer emails with attachments to another folder, but only if they are under a certain size range. Another useful feature is the ability to specify a priority level to incoming mail, allowing you to deal with the most critical messages first and leave the remainder for later.
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Alternatively, instead of starting a new rule with a single message, you may use the wizard to construct a rule from scratch by launching it from Tools – Rules and Alerts – New Rule.

Step 1: Choose a template. Select Move communications from someone to a folder from the Stay organized entries.

Step 2: Edit the rule description – to select the From address filter, click on the highlighted link for persons or distribution list. Then, to specify the destination folder, click on the chosen folder link.

The next stages are the same as in the Advanced Options wizard.

With a mix of multiple rules, you may conduct a variety of fascinating automated actions on your emails. Remember that rules are executed in the order listed in the Rules and Alerts box. Rules may be altered and their order changed at any time.

Instant tips?

Combine some of your rules with common actions and arrange the sequence in which they should be invoked for faster processing. You may specify the Stop Processing action after a certain rule has executed in rare instances.

Rules are a quicker approach to better organize your emails and automate certain elements of your inbox. Outlook 2007 rules are a versatile approach to automate many email management tasks. Do you utilize rules to increase productivity? What are some of the unusual instances you’ve used them on?

Learn more by watching the Microsoft How-to video here.

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