Should you let Outlook Rules Control your Inbox?

By: standss , May 4th, 2012

Rules are a handy feature in Outlook that can automatically move emails out of your Inbox to any other chosen folder but… I personally almost never use Outlook Rules (I’ll write about exceptions next week) to move emails.

So why don’t I use Outlook Rules?

You might be aware of this phrase “Out of Sight, Out of Mind“, this is exactly what could happen if you let rules control your inbox. You might receive an important email from a client but even before you sight it, the email would be moved to a different folder leaving you unaware (and you most likely won’t take the required action).

I like to see ALL emails that I have not read or I have read but not taken action yet in one place… my Inbox… in fact the Inbox shows me the emails that I still need to work on.

I don’t use Rules because emails would be moved out of the Inbox before I’ve had a chance to even read them.

I move the emails out of the Inbox AFTER I have finished with it.

You can move the emails manually (by dragging and dropping) or…

You can use an Outlook addin like QuickFile for Outlook which speeds up the process. QuickFile lets you file up to 90% of emails at the click of one button by displaying an additional button inside Outlook for you. The button displays and links to the folder you are most likely to file the currently selected/open email.

This gives you more control over your Inbox and how emails are to be handled.

Next week I’ll have a post on when it makes sense to use Rules.

What are your views on the use of Outlook Rules? let us know by leaving a comment below.

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4 Replies to “Should you let Outlook Rules Control your Inbox?”

  1. I have not found this a problem because I use the rules to separate emails from selected clients and also different categories of emails (e.g. Newsletters)and I make sure that these folders are included in my “Favorite Folders” so that I can quickly see in the left hand panel that there are unread emails there.

  2. Using Rules for your inbox is actually a HUGE help not a hinderance as long as you do it properly (like everything Microsoft).
    First, keep the Search folder Unread Mail in your favorites and you will have ALL there at a quick glance.
    Second, make sure you have rules set to move / file your emails, but don’t mark them as read.
    Last, keep your rules specific and set to Stop Processing More Rules when one is activated. This ensures you don’t end up with multiple copies of the same email in many folders because it came from John.Smith@gmail.com AND it also read Golf in the subject line.

  3. Using Rules for your inbox is actually a HUGE help not a hianerndce as long as you do it properly (like everything Microsoft).First, keep the Search folder Unread Mail in your favorites and you will have ALL there at a quick glance.Second, make sure you have rules set to move / file your emails, but don’t mark them as read.Last, keep your rules specific and set to Stop Processing More Rules when one is activated. This ensures you don’t end up with multiple copies of the same email in many folders because it came from AND it also read Golf in the subject line.

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