Office 365 (Outlook 2016 for Mac) - Create a rule

NOTE: This document applies to Outlook 2016 for Mac, released in late 2015. For information about how to complete this task using the previous version of Outlook available for Mac, see: Office 365 (Outlook 2011) - Create a rule
A rule is an action that is performed automatically on incoming or outgoing messages, based on conditions that you specify. You can create rules to help you stay organized. For example, you can create rules to automatically file messages into folders or assign messages to categories.

When creating or editing rules, please keep in mind the following:

  • Rules can be synced to the server or created on your computer only. For more information, see Server-based rules versus On My Computer rules.
  • If you create multiple rules, Outlook runs the rules in the order in which they are listed in the Rules window. For information about changing the order, see Edit a rule.
  • Before it runs rules on messages, Outlook first applies the Mailing List Manager rules and then the junk e-mail protection rules. Regular rules are applied last. However, they are applied to messages even if they are in the Junk category.

This document explains how to do the following:


Create a rule based on a message's sender or recipient

A common type of rule directs Outlook to move messages to a folder based on the sender or recipient. For example, you can create a rule that moves all messages from "Toni Poe" to a folder called "Mail from Toni". Outlook has a shortcut to create these types of rules from an existing message.

Tip If you receive messages from a contact group (also known as a distribution list), you can create a rule that automatically moves messages that are sent to the group into a folder.

  1. In the message list, click a message with the sender or recipient that you want to create a rule for.
  2. On the Home tab, click Rules (see image below), and then click Move Messages from (sender's name) or Move Messages to (recipient's name).

    Home tab, group 4

  3. In the folder search box, start typing the name of the folder that you want to move messages to.
  4. When the folder you want appears, click the folder name, click Choose, and then click OK.


Create a custom rule from an existing message

When you create a rule from an existing message, the sender, recipient, and subject are automatically pre-populated in the rules instructions.

  1. In the message list, click the message from which you want to create a rule.
  2. On the Home tab, click Rules (see image below), and then click Create Rule
  3. Home tab, group 4

  4. Under When a new message arrives, edit the criteria to suit your needs.

    To remove one of the criteria, click Remove search criteria button. To add additional criteria, click Add search criteria button.

  5. Under Do the following, specify the actions that you want to be performed.
  6. Click OK.


Create a custom rule

Instead of creating a rule from an existing message, you create a custom rule based on any criteria you want.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Rules.
  2. Select the Office 365 account for which you would like to create the rule on the left hand side. (see image below)
  3. Click "Add" - plus sign.

    Rules screen - add - plus sign

  4. In the Rule name box, type a name for the rule.

    enter the rule name

  5. Under When a new message arrives, on the leftmost pop-up menu, click the type of information that you want to identify.

    For most criteria, you move from left to right to use more pop-up menus or text boxes. For example, to identify all messages sent from coworkers, the criterion could be "From" "Contains" "NetID@wisc.edu".

    For rules saved on the Exchange server, follow this procedure:

    1. In the leftmost pop-up menu of the criteria, select a field that contains text, such as From, Recipients, or Subject.
    2. Moving to the right, in the second pop-up menu, select Contains.
    3. Click Add search terms, and then in the search list, click "Add - plus sign" for each term that you want to add.

    TIP For rules saved on your computer, you can use the pop-up menu above the criteria to select If Any Conditions Are Met or other options.

  6. To remove one of the criteria, click Remove search criteria button. To add additional criteria, click Add search criteria button.
  7. Under Do the following, specify the actions that you want to be performed.
  8. Click OK.

Additional resources

See Also:




Keywords:microsoft office 365 2015 client outlook help mail calendaring overview messages searching rules filters o365 mac apple filtering inbox   Doc ID:45297
Owner:Ara M.Group:Office 365
Created:2014-11-26 09:54 CDTUpdated:2015-11-10 09:04 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Office 365
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