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Rules (Filters) in Outlook on the Web

Rules allow you to have incoming (or outgoing) messages sorted, filed, marked, or otherwise handled automatically.

This article applies to: Outlook on the Web


Microsoft frequently updates the design of Outlook on the Web, so your version may not match exactly the description given here.

Create rules to have incoming (or outgoing) messages sorted, filed, marked, or otherwise handled automatically. You define what to look for and what should happen when a message meets the conditions you've set. For example:

  • move messages from a particular address into a specified folder
  • assign a category or flag to messages with a particular word in the subject

The rules you create in Outlook on the Web are applied when messages arrive in your Exchange account mailbox. It does not matter whether Outlook on the Web (or Outlook) is running.

The details of creating a rule vary depending on your criteria, but the general steps are very similar. In this example, we'll create a rule to move all messages with the word "limnology" in the subject to a particular folder.

  1. In Outlook Web App, on the red, Cornell-themed toolbar, click the gear icon, then, under Your app settings, click Mail.
  2. In the left column of the Options screen, under Mail and Automatic processing, click Inbox and sweep rules.
  3. Click the plus sign.
  4. Give your rule a descriptive Name.
  5. Under When the message arrives, and, select the desired criteria.
    If your criterion is based on a person, a people window will open, where you can find and select the desired person.
    If your criterion is based on looking for specific words, a specify words or phrases dialog box will open. You must type the word or phrase, click the plus sign, then click ok.
    You'll see the value(s) you specified to the right of the criterion you specified
  6. Under Do the following, select the action you want the rule to take. A window or dialog box will open where you can select the folder, category, or person associated with the action you selected.
  7. When finished, click OK at the top of the new rule panel.

Some rules are more complicated; you may want to specify more than one criteria, take more than one action, and/or specify exceptions. Use the Add condition, Add action, and Add exception controls as needed.
The rule window will expand to allow you to add criteria, actions, and/or exceptions as needed. This also gives you additional choices for criteria and actions.

To return to your mailbox, click Outlook in the red, Cornell-themed toolbar.

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