What are the rules in Outlook 2016 for Mac? How to use them to streamline your workflow with it?
Rules in Outlook 2016 for Mac
Rules help create a sense of balance in a chaotic world. Without rules, we would quickly descend into a rat’s nest.
The same concept applies to our emails. And why not? Emails, in spite all of their quick communication benefits, can be chaotic. They can be a real pain in the neck if you receive many emails on a daily basis.
Organizing them can become messy. You can miss an important email from your boss, but keep getting spam emails from unknown sources. This is the sort of world we’ve got ourselves in regarding emails.
Thankfully, there are few things we can do about it.
Today, we are talking the rules that can help Mac Outlook users make sense and create a smooth workflow with emails.
So, what are rules?
They are exactly what you intuitively think they are. When you create a rule, you tell Outlook to behave in a particular way with a particular type of emails. They are a set of commands or actions that Outlook carries out automatically based on the conditions you set.
For example, you can create a rule that says delete all emails that contain the word “Get Rich Quick” (as they are usually spam). Or you can define the rule to keep those emails under “suspicious” folder. And so on.
There is a limit to what you can do. But for most of the users, Outlook 2016 for Mac allows setting up a lot of rules that are possibly all you will need to organize emails better.
Outlook Mac offers quite a lot of freedom to what you can do. They can truly make your Outlook behave exactly as you’d like it to regarding incoming and outgoing emails. It’s an excellent way to personalize Outlook to suit your style.
Let’s take a look at them in details
NOTE – Server and Client rules are different. Mostly, a rule set up with the server will also apply to client, as client downloads the same data. But sometimes, they can mismatch. A rule from server side may be in conflict with the client’s. If an email gets through the client, it will follow the client rules and overide servers’. Therefore, the emails routed to a different folder in Outlook may not necessarily behave the same way in webmail (unless specified in settings). For example, you can create a rule that displays a message on your computer when a particular type of email arrives. However, if you are logged on webmail, you won’t see any message on your computer.
Also note that this article is about Outlook for Mac (2016 and other editions). Rules apply to Windows Outlook as well, in very similarly ways. But there can be few differences.
It won’t be possible to list of all possible combinations of rules that you can create (actions and conditions). So, here’s a list of most common type of rules that you can create that have proven to be very valuable and effective.
- Move Emails from a contact or a contact group to any particular folder you want.
- Move emails that contain specific text in the body/subject/header to a particular folder.
- Mark messages from someone as spam.
- Flag/star messages from someone to mark it as important.
- Play a sound when you get a new message (anytime from anyone, or from a specific contact).
- Delete or move automatic replies.
- Print specific emails.
- Automatic forward specific emails to certain contacts or groups of contacts.
And there are many more that you can choose from, depending on what you’d like.
How to add a new rule or edit an existing rule?
- On the ‘Home’ tab, click Rules –> Click ‘Create Rule’ to create a new rule from scratch, or click ‘Edit Rules’ to modify the existing rules.
- On the ‘Rules’ Window, you will see the options that you can set for your rule:
- Name the rule
- Set the criteria under “when a new message arrives that meets these conditions.” Here is where you will specify the type of emails that you want Outlook to automatically deal with. Click on ‘+’ icon to create a new condition. You can create as many as you’d like. Make sure no two conditions are in conflict with each other or the rule will not work properly.
- Next, set what you want to do with the emails under “Do the following.” Click on ‘+’ icon to choose the action you want to perform on the emails.
- Set the exceptions as well.
There are few more options and control available to you. For example, you can create a rule just for IMAP or POP under “Client rules,” which is on the left pane of ‘Rules’ box. You can also choose ‘Exchange servers’ if that’s where you want the rules to apply.
You can also create a rule directly from an existing email. It’s a form of a shortcut. When you use an email to create a rule, it will automatically take the sender, recipient, and subject as the criteria.
Go and try setting these rules today. You will see an increased productivity and a lot of relief from having to avoid many actions that are now taken care of automatically.