Using Rules in Outlook 2010

At SanJac, faculty and staff can sift through a great deal of email in a single day. As a result, being able to sort and organize email has become a bit of a necessity for most of us. Luckily, Microsoft Outlook provides a way to easily manage emails by creating “rules” that handle messages based on provided conditions.

Outlook Rules allow you to perform a number of tasks with your email; such as automatically moving certain emails to a specified folder, automatically forwarding emails to another individual, or immediately flagging certain emails for follow-up. In addition, you have a variety of options available to better set up your rules; such as only handing incoming emails marked as important or only those that contain certain words in the subject or body of the email.

Setting up one or multiple rules in Outlook is fairly simple. For this tutorial, let’s say you want to set Outlook to automatically move emails sent to all SJC employees to a special folder. To begin, create a folder in the location of your choice:

  • In Outlook, under the Folder tab, click on New Folder.
  • In the dialog box that appears, enter a name for the folder in the Name field and then choose a location where you would like for the folder to appear.
  • Click on OK.


You’ll notice in Outlook that the folder you created is available for use. Now, we can set up a rule that will filter emails meeting a certain criteria to this folder.

  • In Outlook, under the Home tab, click on Rules.
  • In the drop-down menu that appears, select Manage Rules & Alerts.
  • In the dialog box that appears, click on New Rule.
  • The Rules Wizard will appear and provides you with pre-made templates you can customize or gives the option to start from a blank rule. For the purposes of this tutorial, we can use a pre-made template. In the section Step 1: Select a Template, click on Move messages sent to a public group to a folder to highlight it.
  • In the section Step 2: Edit the rule description, you’ll notice that some of the values are linked. By clicking on these links, you are able to customize exactly how the rule operates. To do this:
    • Click on the link People or Public Group.
    • Search for DL – All SJC Employees, click once to highlight it, click on the To button to add it, and then click on OK.
    • Click on the link Specified.
    • Choose the folder you created earlier in the tutorial and click on OK.
  • Check to ensure all settings are correct in the section Step 2: Edit the rule description. When satisfied with the rule settings, click on Finish. Note: If you want to further customize the rule by selecting additional conditions, click on Next and select the conditions that apply.
  • If you receive a popup that states This rule is a client-only rule, and will process only when Outlook is running, simply click on OK.
  • Click on OK to close Rules and Alerts.


And there you have it; a rule in Outlook that will automatically forward all emails sent to the All Employees distribution list to a specified folder. Remember, you can find more information and how-to’s on this and a variety of other topics at Tech Support Online.


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