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How to create, edit, or delete a rule in Outlook

Email inbox automation made easy.
By
February 17, 2023

Automation of actions is becoming more and more common these days. However, before all of that came the ability to program your email inbox to perform automatic actions based on incoming messages. In Outlook, these are called rules. Let’s review how to create a rule in Outlook.

Read more: How to empty the trash in Gmail

QUICK ANSWER

To create a rule in Outlook, go to Settings > View all Outlook settings > Rules > Add new rule. Specify your rule's namecondition, and action, then click Save.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

What are rules in Outlook?

Rules allow you to automate actions, such as automatic response emails and automatic folder placement, when things take place on your account. Say, for example, that you want all emails from your friend Geoffrey to go straight to the “Geoffrey’s Emails” folder. To make this happen, you would need to create a rule that does that.

Now, rule creation works differently on the two primary Outlook platforms: the website and the desktop app. Let’s review how to create, edit, and delete rules on all Outlook versions.

How to create rules in Outlook (Website)

Go to outlook.live.com in a browser and log into your account. After that, click the gear-shaped Settings icon in the top right.

click settings gear outlook website
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From the side panel, click View all Outlook settings.

view all outlook settings website
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In the Settings menu, go to the Rules tab within Mail.

go to rules outlook website
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Click + Add new rule.

add new rule outlook website
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Give your rule a name in the first field.

name your rule outlook website
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Specify the conditions for your rule to apply in the second field. For example, if you want all messages from a particular address to go directly to a specific folder, you would select People > From, then that person’s email.

add conditions outlook website
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In the third field, specify the action for your rule. This is what your rule will actually do when it comes into contact with an email with the conditions specified in the previous field.

add an action outlook website
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When finished, select Run rule now if you wish to activate your rule immediately, then Save.

run rule and save outlook website
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How to create rules in Outlook (Desktop app)

The desktop app further complicated the rule creation process as there are two different methods. You can create a rule from your inbox or you can create it from templates.

From your inbox

Right-click an email in your inbox. Hover your cursor over Rules, then, from the extended menu, select Create Rule….

go to create rule from your inbox in outlook desktop app
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Customize your rule, then click OK.

customize rule then click OK
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From templates

To create your rule from a template, go to the File tab in the outlook desktop app.

go to file in outlook
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Click Manage Rules & Alerts.

manage rules and alerts outlook
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In Rules and Alerts, click New Rule….

new rule outlook
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  • Select a template. Edit the rule description. Click Next.
  • Select the conditions. Edit the rule description. Click Next.
  • Select the actions. Edit the rule description. Click Next.
  • Select any exceptions. Edit the rule description. Click Next.
  • Finish setting up the rule, then click Finish.

How to edit a rule in Outlook

Website

Go to outlook.live.com in a browser and log into your account. After that, click the gear-shaped Settings icon in the top right.

click settings gear outlook website
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From the side panel, click View all Outlook settings.

view all outlook settings website
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In the Settings menu, go to the Rules tab within Mail.

go to rules outlook website
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Hover your cursor over the rule you wish to edit; options will appear on the right. Click the Edit button that looks like a pencil.

edit that rule outlook website
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Desktop app

To edit a rule, click the File tab in the Outlook desktop app.

go to file in outlook
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Click Manage Rules & Alerts.

manage rules and alerts outlook
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  • Click on the checkbox next to your rule.
  • Click Change Rule.
  • Select Edit Rule Settings….

How to delete a rule in Outlook

Website

Go to outlook.live.com in a browser and log into your account. After that, click the gear-shaped Settings icon in the top right.

click settings gear outlook website
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From the side panel, click View all Outlook settings.

view all outlook settings website
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In the Settings menu, go to the Rules tab within Mail.

go to rules outlook website
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Hover your cursor over the rule you wish to edit; options will appear on the right. Click the Delete button that looks like a garbage can.

delete that rule outlook website
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Desktop app

To delete a rule, go to the File tab in the Outlook desktop app.

go to file in outlook
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Click Manage Rules & Alerts.

manage rules and alerts outlook
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  • Click on the checkbox next to your rule.
  • Click Delete.
select and delete rule outlook desktop app
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