August 8

Organize Your Outlook Inbox

Categories: Tips,


You get tons of email everyday.  Wading through it can be time consuming.  By establishing a few Rules for Outlook, you can greatly streamline that process.

Outlook will sort your incoming email into folders based on rules that you create.  For example, you may want a Friends/Family folder or a Vendors folder.  Within those you might want to create subfolders to further organize them.  It is really very easy to create a Rule. Let's say you just received an email for which you want to create a Rule, here's what to do:

  • Be sure the email you want to create the Rule for is highlighted.
  • From the Home tab, click on Rules.
  • If you simply want to always move messages from the sender of the currently highlighted message to a particular folder, choose "Always Move messages from..." from the dropdown box.  You will be prompted to choose a folder to place the email in or create a new folder for that purpose.
  • You may find it more useful to create a more complex Rule, say one in which a certain string of characters is in the sender's address.  Any new email that you receive with that character string will be placed in that folder.  For example, you may want any email sent to you by someone with a City of Wichita email address to be placed in a "City of Wichita" folder.  Here is how you would set that up:


  • Choose "Advanced Options" from the Create Rule box.
  • The Rules Wizard will start, select the checkbox "with specific words in the sender's address".
  • Then enter those specific words, "", select OK then Next.
  • Now you are asked what to do with the email, select the checkbox "move to the specified folder", you will notice that the text in the "Step 2" box now includes the "move to the specified folder".  Click the word "specified" in that box.
  • A window will open showing all of the folders currently in your Inbox.  If you need to, create a new folder "City of Wichita", then select it as the destination folder for this rule.  Click Next.
  • An "Exceptions" window opens, if you have no exceptions to this rule, simply click Next.
  • The "Finish Rule Setup"window opens, here you can name your rule and choose to have it run on messages previously received in your inbox, this will organize all the old emails as well as new ones.
  • Select Finish, and you are done.


The process described here is based on Outlook 2010, other versions of Outlook may vary.  


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