Organising your email messages using Outlook Rules

How to set up an Email Rule in Outlook

You should never use these steps to automatically reply to your messages when you are out of the office – please follow our guide to Out of Office autoreplies in the email section of the IT Help website instead.

Sometimes it is helpful to have the email system manage some of your messages for you automatically.

Some reasons to do this might be

  • You want to delete messages from a mailing list that you no longer want but are unable to unsubscribe from
  • You want to keep all messages from a particular source or with a particular subject in a separate folder
  • You simply want to set some messages aside to read later.

You can use Outlook rules to do all of this.

Example 1
Moving a message from a sender

In this example, we will create a rule to move messages from StaffMail into a folder.

  • First create the folder to move the messages to (if it doesn’t already exist). Right click on the Inbox folder and choose ‘New Folder’.

  • Give your folder a name and click OK.
  • Right click on one of the messages you want the rule for and choose Rules>Create Rule

You are then presented with a number of options as shown above.

Set the check-boxes as shown below.

Please note
To delete the items, just leave the ‘Move Items to Folder’ as the default ‘Deleted Items’.

We want to send the messages to the StaffMail folder we created in the first step, so we need to click Select Folder.

(once you’re familiar with the rules you can explore the Advanced Options – more information about what they contain at the end of the document. For now, let’s keep it simple).

Choose the folder and click OK. Outlook will then set up your rule….

Click the box to move any messages currently in your Inbox that match the conditions now.  Then click OK.

Outlook will display a message saying that it is moving messages. 
To check what has happened, we can now go to the folder and see the message we clicked on before has been moved….

Example 2
Deleting messages sent TO an address list

Right click on one of the messages you want to manage and choose Rules>Create Rule

Click the Advanced Settings button to open the Rules Wizard.

The ‘sent to’ option (highlighted in the above image) will have your own name displayed.  In the box at the bottom of the dialogue, labelled ‘Step 2’ you can click on the displayed name to change it.

For messages to an LJMU address list, such as scs-all-faculty-staff shown above, you may need to change the address book settings (highlighted) - especially if you normally display ‘All Staff’:

Select the list name, and click the ‘To’ button to put it into the address box.

Very important
Delete your own name from this box or this rule will delete all messages sent to you!

  • Click OK
  • Click Next to move to the next step of the Rule Wizard.  Click the delete it option.   (You can alternatively choose to move the messages to a folder if you prefer).
  • Then just click Next to move through the screens.
  • You can change the name of your rule if you want.
  • Then click Finish.
  • Wait while outlook updates your rule settings. That’s all you need to do.

    More information