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How to Use Rules to Filter and Sort Emails in Outlook

2 minute read

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Filtering and sorting emails manually in Outlook can be a very time-consuming task. Luckily, to save time, you can set up rules, which are policies that perform specific actions when certain criteria are met. Here’s how to do it.

To set up a new rule, we’ll use some of the rules templates that Outlook makes available to us. To do this:

  • Click on File > Manage Rules & Alerts.
  • Head over to the Rules tab and then select New Rule.
  • Next, you’re going to want to select a template. You have a lot of different options here, but for this example, we’re going to select Move messages from someone to a folder. This means that every time we receive a message from our chosen sender, that message will automatically be routed to the folder we specify.
  • So click Next, and then make sure the “from people or public group” box is checked at the top.
  • You’ll notice that the “people or public group” text in the lower window is a clickable link. Click on that and select the person you want to apply the rule to and then click OK.
  • Then click on the “specified” folder link and choose where you want that email to be routed. For this example, we picked a Video Production folder.
  • In the next step, just leave “Stop processing more rules” and “Move it to the specified folder” checked and hit Next. (You can also apply exceptions to the rule which can be handy in more complex cases, but we don’t need to worry about setting up exceptions today.)
  • Name your rule, and then you have the option of running the rule on messages already in your inbox or populating the rule across accounts, and then you can hit Finish to put it into action. Any messages sent from that account will now go directly to our Video Production folder.

To create a rule without using the wizard:

  • Click on the Rules button at the top of your screen. For instance, you can create a rule to always move messages from this email address, or those addressed TO your address to a specified box. You can also create a rule from scratch.
  • Clicking “Create Rule” will auto-populate your new rule based on some of the information in the email you had selected when you hit the button, but you can edit this, or click on advanced options to return to the more in-depth rule menu you saw earlier.

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

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