When and How to let Outlook Rules Control your Inbox

By: standss , May 8th, 2012

Last week we discussed why you should NOT let Outlook rules take control of your Inbox. This week I’d like to show you why it makes perfect sense to use Rules to process your newsletter emails.

Do you subscribe to any email newsletters, mailing lists or groups?

I often find myself going to check my email and 30 minutes later all I have done is read through “interesting” articles instead of doing any real work.

Microsoft’s built-in Rules feature provides a solution.

Normally I don’t use Rules much because…

My Inbox is my To-Do list.

I don’t want anything automatically moved out of it. Even Outlook automatically moving items after they are read is NOT acceptable because I sometimes leave stuff in there to deal with later.

I want to move emails out myself after I have finished with them – I need to stay in control of my Inbox.

I use QuickFile 4Outlook to simplify email filing out of my Inbox (and Sent Items).

But in this situation it makes sense…

I want the newsletter emails moved out of my Inbox and into a folder dedicated to newsletters.

These emails are not part of my daily to-do-list and I prefer to go through them when I take a break from real work.

How to create a Rule

BEFORE creating the Rule, create a folder inside Outlook where you want the newsletter emails to be moved to. Then…

  • Go to your Inbox.
  • In Outlook 2010, click on File > Manage Rules and Alerts
    In Outlook 2007 and 2003, click Tools > click Rules & Alerts
  • Click New Rule to display the Rules Wizard.

Outlook rules wizard

  • Move Messages from someone to a folder” will already be highlighted. (This example assumes that the newsletters come from the same email address – otherwise you can use one of the other predefined Rule Templates)
  • Click “people or distribution list” to display the Rule Address screen.

Rule Address

  • Choose a name from the list or type in the name in the From field and then click OK.
  • Click the hyperlinked word “specified” to bring up the Choose Folder dialog. Select the desired folder from the list and then click OK.

Now that the Rule is created, any emails coming from the list will automatically be moved to the chosen folder.

You can also apply it to any emails that are already in the folder by going back to the Rules and Alerts screen and clicking the “Run Rules Now” button.

Use Rules in this way to move emails that you know are NOT part of your REAL WORK.

This keeps your Inbox clean and focussed on things that need your attention.

OPTIONAL RELATED OUTLOOK ADDIN: I recommend that you don’t use Rules to shift work related emails. Instead use QuickFile for Outlook addin to move emails AFTER you have finished with them.

QuickFile PRO for Outlook also has a special Newsletters feature which moves emails to a dedicated folder AND also reminds you once a day (at time of your choice) to look at newsletters.

Did you find this tip helpful? let us know by leaving a comment below.

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