Setting up Rules in Outlook Desktop

Getting flooded with messages that you don’t want and all have a common theme (from the same person, the same subject, etc.)? Outlook enables you to set up a rule to clean it all up in one fell swoop.

  • Right-click one of the messages.
  • Select Rules and then Create Rules.
  • Click Advanced Options in the dialog box that pops up. The advanced options will give you more control with your rule than just the few options first presented.
  • Choose a condition, such as the subject containing certain text. (Since you right-clicked a specific message, the sender and subject should appear in the options from which you’ll choose.)
  • Click the Next button.
  • Choose what you want to do with the message, such as delete it. (If you just want to file the messages away and read them at a later time, choose to move the message into a folder.) Click the Next button to continue.
  • Add any exceptions (although this is rare).
  • Specify a name for the rule. This takes the theory that you may have several rules as time goes by and naming a rule with something obvious means you won’t need to go into the rule details to determine why you created it in the first place.
  • Click the Run this rule now on messages already in the inbox checkbox. This is crucial for cleanup when you have been plagued by a lot of messages for which you are writing a rule.

Changing Outlook 365’s Reply Default Setting

With the recent (Fall 2015) changes to Outlook 365, the Reply button defaults to Reply to All, frustrating many and generally promoting bad netiquette. Here’s how to change the default:

  • Log into Outlook 365.
  • Note the default reply option on your O365 toolbar.

    Reply Drop Down Arrow
    (Note, if you wanted to keep things as they are but just choose alternatives based on the e-mail message, simply click the drop-down arrow).

  • Find and click the Settings icon in the upper right-hand corner.

    Settings Cog 

  • Select Options.
  • Choose Reply Settings.
  • Change the default setting from Reply All to Reply instead and save.

    Reply Setting

Marking a Message as Not Clutter

If you would like to keep a message from being marked as clutter in Outlook, either right click on the message and choose Mark as not clutter or just drag it to the Inbox. If Office 365 is missing messages you want marked as clutter, right click and choose Mark as clutter or drag it to the Clutter folder.

If you are using Outlook 2007, 2010 or 2013 (Desktop), simply drag a message to the Clutter folder to mark it as clutter or drag it to the Inbox to mark it not clutter.

By dragging messages to the Clutter folder you will train the tool to spot similar e-mail in the future. The tool gets smarter over time, learning from your prior actions with similar messages.

Setting up Rules in Outlook 365

  • Log into Outlook and find a message for which you would like to create a rule.
  • Right-click the message in your inbox and select Create Rule from the pop-up list.

    Create Rule


  • Note the pop-up dialog box with basic options and choose More Options.

    Create Rule dialog box









  • Fill in your options for the boxes.

    Outlook Rule Options













  • Step 1: Name your rule. As you may create more rules over time, it is good to name this rule as something obvious to you so that you know what it does when you see it later.
  • Step 2: Add a condition. For the COVID e-mail reply-all mess that occurred on 03/26/2020, I recommend choosing Subject Includes from the drop-down list and then adding the words Working from home under COVID, as that was the subject used in most of the messages.
  • Step 3: Add an Action: Choose Delete. Feel free to add exceptions if you would like.
  • Click the Save button.

    Note: Since there are a considerable number of combinations as to what you might want to do with rules, this TechTip will not offer specifics beyond this point. If you need more assistance after you have experimented with creating your own rule(s), please contact Jeff Feiertag, IT Training Coordinator.

    Also: In the web version of Outlook, this will not delete existing messages. In the desktop version of Outlook, though, you will see a checkbox option to run the rule against the inbox, which would effectively delete the entire thread at once.

Sending an Attachment Using Outlook

To Send an Attachment Using Outlook in Your Email:

  • Compose a new email message including recipient’s email address, subject of the email, and the email message.
  • Choose the Message tab on the Ribbon.
  • Choose Attach File on the Ribbon under the Message tab.  An Insert File dialog box will be displayed.  Choose the file you would like to attach to your email message from the Insert File dialog box.  The file attachment and file size will be displayed below the subject box of the email.
  • Choose send to send the email with the attachment to the recipient.

Creating New Tasks Using Outlook

To Create a New Task Using Outlook:

  • Choose Tasks in the Navigation Bar on the bottom of your screen.
  • Choose the New Task option.  A window will display for you to input the New Task information.
  • Input the information for the task including the subject, date, priority, etc. If the task occurs on a regular basis, choose the Recurrence option on the Ribbon.  A Task Recurrence dialog will be displayed.  Choose the Recurrence Pattern and click OK.
  • Choose the Save & Close option on the Ribbon to save the task.

Creating a New Contact

To Create a New Contact in Outlook:

  • Choose People in the Navigation Bar on the bottom of your screen.
  • Choose the New Contact option.  A window will display for you to input the New Contact information.
  • Type in the contact information including name, email address, phone numbers, etc.
  • Choose the Save & Close option on the Ribbon to save the contact information.

Using Outlook Calendar to Schedule an Appointment

To Schedule an Appointment Using the Outlook Calendar:

  • Choose Calendar on the Navigation Bar on the bottom of the screen .
  • Choose the date for your appointment.
  • Choose the New Appointment option on the Ribbon to display an Appointment Window.
  • Fill in details in the Appointment Window including name, start time, end time, reminder setting, notes, etc.
  • Choose the Recurrence button on the Ribbon if your appointment will occur regularly
  • Choose the Save & Close on the Ribbon.

Outlook will show the appointment on the calendar.  If you would like to view the details of the appointment, use the mouse to double click on the appointment.