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Using “Rules” in Outlook

August 30th, 2004 · No Comments

Howdy and welcome back to another fun and fact filled edition of The Weekly Geek. In the last article we went over how to create Rules in Outlook to filter messages. In this edition I want to finish going over Outlook’s Rules and how to run them on folders you have already created in Outlook.

From the Rules Wizard, you can specify whether the Rule runs automatically or manually. For the most part, you’ll want to run your Rules automatically so you won’t even have to think about them. But the advantage of running Rules manually is that you can apply them to messages already delivered to your Inbox or to another folder.

To run Rules manually:

  1. Click the Inbox icon in the folder list or the Outlook bar.
  2. Click the Tools menu and choose Rules Wizard.
  3. Click the Run Now button. A new window will appear.
  4. Select each Rule you wish to run now by clicking the check box next to it.
  5. Click the Browse button to change the folder you’re running the Rules on.
  6. Select the folder you wish to run the Rule on by clicking on it one time. You can only select one folder.
  7. Select OK. You will be taken back to the Run Rules Now window.
  8. Check the Include Subfolders box if you want to include folders within your selected folder.
  9. Click the Apply Rules To drop down list, and select All, Unread, or Read to indicate the type of messages on which you want to run the Rules.
  10. Click the Run Now button. This Rule should quickly run, you might not even notice.
  11. Click the Close button and then the OK button on the next window.


It’s easy to change an existing Rule.

Simply access the Rules Wizard from the Tools menu or the Rules Wizard button on the Advanced toolbar, click one time on the Rule you want to change, and click Modify. From that point, you can follow the Wizard as you did when you created the Rule, changing any part you wish.

It’s just as easy to delete a Rule.

Simply open the Rules Wizard, select the Rule you wish to delete, and click the Delete button.
If you don’t want to delete a Rule, but you want to turn it off for a while, simply clear the check box next to the Rule in the Rules Wizard dialog box. It will remain inactive until you replace the check mark.

For better performance users should:

  • Remove any unnecessary or no longer needed Rules.
  • Use Rules to move unimportant messages from the Inbox to another folder to minimize the amount of Inbox data which is synchronized.
  • Use the “stop processing more Rules” action when you create a Rule.
  • Think of the necessity of the junk mail Rule – this is a Rule that slows down synchronization between Outlook and the e-mail server (where you get your e-mail from). I would suggest using Spam filtering software instead of the junk mail Rule.

As I mentioned in the last article, when creating Rules, users should always add the “stop processing more Rules” action, at the end of the list of actions for that Rule. If not, every Rule you have will run on that message, even if the action that you specified has already been completed. If a user has five Rules and does not use that option, all five Rules must be processed on every single message that enters the Inbox, which can really hurt performance regardless of the internet connection speed.

Well that is it. I hope this greatly helps organize and keep your inbox clean. Until we meet again have a Rule filled and Worm free week.

Tags: E-Mail Issues · Optimizing · Software