This article is about how you can use rules and alerts to effectively manage your Outlook inbox. Want to learn more about helpful features in Outlook? Read the following articles:

Set your own rules

It’s often difficult to remember the precise details of a rule that has been imposed by another, but setting our own rules seems to ensure that you remember and follow them or at least expect others to.

In these technological times, we have programs and apps such as Outlook that can not only remember our rules but apply them without even so much as an afterthought from us.

With Outlook, you can create numerous rules and set-up alerts for anything you want, and the program will remember all the details and automate the process for you.

Rules and Alerts

There are three ways to create rules and alerts in Outlook: on the Ribbon, by right-clicking on the message, and through custom rules and alerts.

  • On the Ribbon, you can apply the new rule or alerts to the e-mail you are viewing as well as future incoming e-mails. To do so, select Create Rule from the Rules drop-down menu from the Move group in the Home tab of the Ribbon. In the Create Rule dialog box that appears, you can select all the applicable conditions.
  • Right-click on the e-mail you want to create a rule or alert for, from the menu select Rule and click on Create Rule. Then, select the parameters you’d like the rule to follow.
  • Custom Rules and Alerts can be applied to all messages (incoming and outgoing). Navigate to the File tab and select Manage Rules & Alerts. Click New Rule on the E-mail Rules tab in the Rules and Alerts dialog box, and then adjust the options as you wish.

Rules Wizard

In the Create Rules dialog box, you can click on Advanced Options to get to the Rules Wizard. This is a list of commands that allow you to further customize the rule you are creating.

Despite all the advanced rules options to make a rule or alert specific, there are actually only three different styles of rules you can create:

  • Organizational rules that filter, file (relocate), and follow-up with e-mails
  • Notification rules (alerts) that help you to stay up to date on e-mails that fit your specific criteria
  • Customized rules that are rules you create without a template are nearly infinite in their construction.

Increase your efficiency

Now that you know how to apply and create Rules and Alerts, automate the organization of your e-mails and stop getting annoyed having to manually move e-mails around.

Instead, keep Outlook as a reliable communications source rather than a sore point in your daily routine by signing up at 5miles and starting one of the three Outlook learning tracks during your first two-week free trial.