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Organize Your Inbox by Setting Up Rules in Outlook

Setting up rules in Outlook - Microsoft Outlook Logo

Last week, we talked about how important it is to write an effective email.

As a follow on, today’s post is going to answer the question, "How can I keep my inbox organized?" with a 10 step tutorial on how to set up rules in Microsoft Outlook. Setting up rules in Outlook is a great way to help organize your inbox if you’re receiving a large quantity of emails, and can be used to isolate specific types of emails into a series of easy to browse folders. While this quick tutorial is specifically for Outlook 2013, the steps to set up rules will be nearly identical in most other versions of Outlook.

Outlook has a handful of simple templates available to start from, and you can customize a blank rule for more intricacy. Here is one example of a rule that can help keep your inbox organized.

Networking Event Organization
If you attend a lot of networking events, you can set up a rule to move all of the notification emails about these events into a specific folder.

Step 1: Open Outlook and choose the blue FILE tab at the top of the program window.

Setting up rules in Outlook, Step 1, Kendall Press

Step 2: Bring up the Rules and Alerts Wizard by selecting "Manage Rules & Alerts."

Setting up rules in Outlook, Step 2, Kendall Press

Step 3: Choose "New Rule."

Setting up rules in Outlook, Step 3, Kendall Press

Step 4: Start a blank rule to be applied on messages received.

Setting up rules in Outlook, Step 4, Kendall Press

Step 5: In "Select condition(s)," check the box labeled "with specific words in the sender’s address."

Setting up rules in Outlook, Step 5, Kendall Press

Step 6: Beneath that, in "Edit the rule description (click an underlined value)," select the blue text "specific words" and enter the information you want to isolate.
For this example, we'll isolate emails we receive associated with Eventbrite events by adding 'eventbrite' and 'eventbrite.com.' Note that each text string should be entered separately.

Setting up rules in Outlook, Step 6, Kendall Press

Step 7: In "Select action(s)," check the box labeled "move it to the specified folder"
Step 8: Beneath that, in "Edit the rule description (click an underlined value)," select the blue text "specified" and choose the folder you want these emails to be stored.
In this case, we'll create a new folder titled "Events" and store it in the inbox.

Setting up rules in Outlook, Step 7, Step 8, Kendall Press

Step 9: Choose any exceptions, such as if an email should NOT be moved if it's received in a specific date range.

Setting up rules in Outlook, Step 9, Kendall Press

Step 10: Name the rule, and turn it on by selecting finish

Setting up rules in Outlook, Step 10, Kendall Press

And that's it! Now, any email that comes in from an Eventbrite event account will automatically be moved into the Events folder you've created so it isn't cluttering your main inbox. You can adjust the text string to meet your own needs, and add additional criteria based on the various types of email you receive most. Ultimately, you can create any number of rules for your inbox, as complex or as simple as you need. The goal is to keep your inbox organized and easy to manage, which will improve your efficiency and effectiveness.

Leave a comment below if you have any rules or tips that have helped you organize your own inbox. Or, if you're looking to explore new tools and methods to improve your company's effectiveness and communications, reach out to us today. We can help.

Jason, for the team at Kendall Press

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Filed Under: business communications, FAQ, How to, Organization, Outlook 2013, Rules, Tutorial, Walkthrough
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