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Use the Rules Wizard to filter email

The Rules Wizard helps you manage your e-mail messages by using rules to automatically perform actions on messages. After you create a rule, Microsoft Outlook applies the rule when messages arrive in your Inbox or when you send a message.

For example, you can automatically:
Have Junk Mail and Spam filtered into a "Junk Mail" folder.
Forward all messages from Judy Lew to your manager when they arrive in your inbox.
Assign the category Sales to all messages that contain "sales" in the Subject box.

You can add exceptions to your rules for special circumstances, such as when a message is flagged for follow-up action or is marked with high importance. A rule is not applied to a message if any one of the exceptions you specify is met.

You can turn on or off the rules you create and change the order in which the rules are applied.

You can also run rules manually. When you run rules manually, you can apply them to messages already in your inbox or in another folder.

You can create a rule in three ways. You can create a new rule and fill in all conditions, or you can copy and modify an existing rule. If you already have a message that matches some of the conditions you want to check for, you can also base a rule on a message, and then fill in the rest of the conditions. For example, you can select a message in a conversation, and then create a rule to ignore the conversation.

Create a new rule - Outlook 2000
  1. Click Inbox.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Rules Wizard.
  3. Click New.
  4. Follow the instructions in the Rules Wizard.
  5. If you want to run a newly created rule on messages already in the Inbox, select the Run this rule now on messages already in Inbox check box in the last page of the Rules Wizard.

Tip: If you want to run a newly created rule on messages in a folder other than the Inbox, click Rules Wizard on the Tools menu, and then click Run Now.

Create a new rule - Outlook Express
  1. On the Tools menu, point to Message Rules, and then click Mail.
  2. If this is the first rule you are creating, proceed to step 3. Otherwise, on the Mail Rules tab, click New and proceed to step 4.
  3. Select the conditions for your rule by selecting the desired check boxes in the Conditions section. (You must select at least one condition.)
    You can specify multiple conditions for a single rule by selecting more than one check box. Click the and hyperlink in the Rule Description section to specify whether all of the rule conditions must be met before the specified action occurs (and), or whether at least one must be met (or).
  4. Specify the actions for your rule by selecting the desired check boxes in the Actions section. (You must select at least one condition.)
  5. Click the underlined hyperlinks in the Rule Description section to specify the conditions or actions for your rule.
    You can click contains people or contains specific words in the Rule Description section to specify the people or words you'd like Outlook Express to look for in messages. If you enter multiple people or multiple words per condition, use the Options button in the Select People or Type Specific Words dialog boxes to further customize the condition.
  6. In the Name of the rule text box, select the default name or type a new name for your rule, and then click OK.


  • You can create a new rule by selecting an existing one on the Message Rules tab and clicking Copy. This is helpful when the new rule you want to create is similar to an existing one.
  • You can create a rule from a message by selecting an e-mail message in the main window and then on the Message menu clicking Create Rule from Message. This helps by automatically filling in the name of the person on the From line; no other information from the message, however, is entered into the rule.

This content sourced from Microsoft Outlook 2000 and Outlook Express Help documentation.