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WFH Tips & Tricks | Outlook Rules

By SRAI News posted 10-16-2020 11:43 AM


WFH Tips & Tricks |Outlook Rules

In the current COVID-19 world of Work From Home (WFH), Remotely Working offers tips and trick to make WFH easier. If you have an issue you would like discussed or a favorite trick you’d like to share, let us know and we may feature it in an upcoming column. You can submit an article here.

If you read the column last month, you’ll recall the focus was on creating templates to make sending emails a little easier. This month I’m shifting my focus to how to handle all the emails being received. One handy trick to manage the volume is to utilize the rules feature in Outlook. For this example, I’ll use the email I received from NSF with the subject line “NSF Updates to the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) - Effective October 5.”

In the Outlook header above the email you wish to sort, click on the icon for Rules and select “Create Rule…” A window will pop open with some basic options. In my case I’ve specified that the rule is for any emails from NSF that contains “NSF Updates” as part of the subject. I deleted the rest of the subject line so that the rule applies more broadly and captures any future updates.

The bottom half of the window is for specifying what you want to happen to the email. If you select “Display in the New Item Alert window,” a separate rectangular box will pop open whenever you receive emails that meet the criteria you specified. This, in addition to selecting sound, can be a useful way of bringing the email to your attention. You can also choose for the email to go directly to a selected folder and you can even create a new folder once you click this button. If you choose to send the email directly to a folder, it will still show as unread (unless you specify to “mark it as read” under the advanced options).

Create Rule Window


For many emails, this basic window for creating a rule will be sufficient. However, if you would like something more extensive, you can click the “Advanced Options…” button. This gives you a wider selection of options for conditions, actions, and exceptions.

Once you click into “Advanced Options…,” the Rules Wizard window appears. Any conditions you check in Step 1 will appear under Step 2 and will disappear if you uncheck it. Also, anything selected with a blue hyperlink word will require you to add additional specifications before it will allow you to click to the next window.

In this example, when I select “marked as important” then try to click “Next,” I receive a warning message that I need to click the underlined text in Step 2 to set the rule. I chose to specify the importance as “Normal.”

Rules Wizard – Condition(s)

Warning Message

The next two windows are similar except they pertain to selecting additional actions you would like to take with the message followed by another window for any exceptions you would like to apply. As with the conditions, it may require you to further specify on a selected option before you can proceed.

Rules Wizard – Action(s)

Rules Wizard – Exception(s)

The last window allows you to name the rule, run it on other messages, turn it on, create the rule on other accounts (if applicable) and review the rule description. You can click “Back” to return to the prior windows for edits or click the hyperlinked words to edit directly from this window. Clicking finish (as long as “Turn on this rule” is selected) will apply it.

Rules Wizard – Finish Rule Setup

If you decide later that you would like to delete or edit the rule, you can click “Rules” in your Outlook header then “Manage Rules and Alerts.” This will show a list of your rules with their descriptions along with the “Delete” and “Change Rule” buttons.

That’s it for this month’s guide to adding rules in Outlook. I hope this tip helps you find a way to make rules work for you and your email a little less cumbersome.

Authored by Karen Bone, Proposal & Contract Administrator
Florida Atlantic University
SRAI Southern Section President Elect