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Delete- Email filtering with Inbox Rules


Inbox Rules consist of one or more conditions to be applied to incoming email, and one or more actions to be taken on the email if the conditions are satisfied.   You can create as many rules as you like, to test for different things.  Rules can be applied together or be made exclusive.

The conditions all apply to features of an email, such as who it's from or to, words or phrases it contains, how big it is, whether it contains attachments, and so on. 

The actions are things that are to be done with the email, such as moving it to a folder, or discarding it.  As standard, only one action can be chosen per rule, but in more advanced mode you can specify more than one action.

Rules can also contain exceptions, such that the specified actions will not be taken if any of the exceptions apply to the email, even if the other conditions are satisfied.

When to use filtering

Note that if you're considering using Inbox Rules to handle spam and other unwanted email, it's only worth doing if the unwanted emails are persistent.  It may be better to wait a while and just delete such emails by hand for a few days to see if they do stop arriving, and only consider setting up a filter if they turn out to more persistent.

One worthwhile use of Inbox Rules is when you want to move regularly-received legitimate emails (such as emails from a forum or other discussion group, or newsletters etc) in a specially-created folder of their own, but if you do this, remember to review the contents of the folder from time to time so as to delete any emails that don't need to be kept.

Set up and manage filters

To set up or manage your rules follow the relevant Microsoft guidance linked to below:

If you'd like to learn how to improve your Focused and Other inbox on Outlook, or how to turn it off, please see this guide.

created on 2013-04-05 by Andy Clews
last updated on 2023-09-06 by Lucy Pearson