Get control of your mailbox 4: Use Rules to organise emails

These days we get bombarded with emails. According to research, in 2010, we are each receiving an average of 74 emails per day, 61 of which are legitimate emails, and we are sending an average of 34 emails per day. That’s 756 emails per week or 39,312 per year !!

So, we need to get organised…!

This article is the fourth in a series of 10 articles that will give you tips for helping you keep your mailbox under control when using Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010.

Use rules to file emails

Setting up ‘Rules’ in Outlook will automatically perform set functions on your emails. Rules are more commonly used to automatically file emails into folders, but Rules can be used in many different ways to help keep you organised!

Types of rules

Incoming

This is the most common type of Rule. We use these rules to automatically put any emails that are received into existing folders. These rules can be set by who sent the email, or text that is contained in the email / subject, and many other ways.

Outgoing

The Sent Items are often forgotten: left to accumulate and rarely organised. Rules can also be set to automatically organise your emails as they are sent out.

Set rules as emails arrive

As mentioned above, there are many different types of rules, but the most common is to move an email to a particular folder as it is received. If you use rules to organise your emails as they arrive, you should no longer be checking your Inbox for new messages, but your Unread Mail folder. This folder will display any unread emails regardless of which folder they are in.

To set this type of rule:
    1. Go to Home tab > Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts (Pre 2010 users: Tools > Rules & Alerts)
    2. Click on New Rule
    3. Under ‘Start from a blank rule’ select ‘Apply rule on messages I receive’ then Next >
    4. Check the box ‘from people or public group’
    5. In the editing box, click on the ‘people or public group’ link
    6. Select the person from whom the email rule is to be set then Next >
    7. Check the box ‘move it to the specified folder’
    8. In the editing box, clink on the ‘specified’ link
    9. Choose the folder to move the email to, then OK, then Finish
In the future, any emails received from that person will now go into the specified folder.

An alternative, quicker way of setting a basic rule is to right click on an email received from that person and select Create Rule. Here you will see the basic Rule options.

Learn more about Microsoft Outlook >>

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