Learning Tech in Short Bursts: Creating Outlook Rules

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An excellent way to learn technology is in short bursts. Today, let’s take a few minutes to learn how to create rules in Outlook (…and why you’d want to). It’s the latest from the WSBA’s Practice Education Center.

Creating Rules in Outlook
Outlook and other products permit you to implement rules that will filter unwanted emails, route list serve emails to a specific folder, highlight a particular client’s email in a certain color or category, send you an alert or make it searchable when it comes from a specific person, and many other options. Use tools like this to help manage your email and make it more digestible.

If you find yourself thinking, “It would be so great if my email could do this….” then take a look at the Rules section and see if you can customize it to do just that. Access rules in Outlook 2010 by clicking the Rules button in the Mail ribbon at the top and selecting Create a Rule from the drop-down menu.

Next, we’ll set up a simple example so you can see how Outlook rules work.

Practice Example: Postpone Transmission of Outgoing Email
If you have ever had the horrifying experience of sending an email and immediately realizing you either forgot an attachment or sent it to the wrong person, this may be of interest. You can create a rule to give you time to fix an email before it is gone forever. It postpones all or selected email from transmitting instantaneously.

Example 1Go to Rule → Manage Rules and Alerts → and select New Rule. The Rules Wizard box appears. Select “Apply rule on messages I send” and click Next. At the next screen, if you do not select any conditions in Step 1, all emails sent by you will be delayed. If you want to delay only specific emails, complete the conditions in Step 1, then click Next.

In the next screen under Step 1, click in the box Next to defer delivery by a number of minutes. In the box under Step 2, click on a number of and the Deferred Delivery box pops up. You can delay outgoing emails for up to 120 minutes. Select something like two to five minutes and click OK, then click Next. At the following screen, select exceptions under Step 1 and then click Next to name the new rule. Then click Finish and Apply on the last screen.
Now, your outgoing emails will be delayed according to the parameters set. During this time, you can delete or open and modify email in your Outbox. Outlook must be running for this to work, so send your last email five minutes before you turn off your computer.

Example 2