Everyone is different when is comes to prioritizing email. The nice thing about Outlook is that email rules are customizable so you can edit them to your liking. It’s just a matter of knowing the conditions and the actions Outlook should take.
Before writing this rule, it’s best to have a category in mind to attach to emails from people you know. I would suggest creating one that just represents people in your contact folder. You may want to refer to our earlier article on how to create and organize Outlook categories. For this tutorial, I created a category called “Known”.
Creating the Outlook Email Rule for Contacts
The steps below are for Outlook 2007. The steps are similar for Outlook 2003. Although there are many steps, you can create this rule in under two minutes.
1. From the Tools menu, select Rules and Alerts…
2 In the Rules and Alerts dialog, click New Rule…
3. In the Rules Wizard, scroll down to the Start from a blank rule.
4. Click Check messages when they arrive.
5. Click Next >.
6. Scroll down the conditions list and select Sender is in a specified Address book.
7. In the lower part of the dialog, click the hyperlink specified.
8. In the Add Address List, highlight your Contacts folder.
9. Click the Add button.
10. Click Next >.
11. Select assign it to the category category.
12. In the lower section, click the category hyperlink.
13. Check the category you would like to use.
14. Click OK.
15. Click Next >.
16. Add any exceptions and click Next >.
17. Provide a name for your new email rule.
18. Optionally, you can check Run this rule now on messages already in “Inbox”.
19. Click Finish.
20. Click OK.
Note: If you have a rule labeled "clear categories on mail", you may want to uncheck it. It will remove the categories your new rule just assigned. Otherwise, you need to manually run the rule.
What Does the Email Rule Do
As email arrives in your Inbox, Outlook will check to see if the sender’s email address is in the Contacts folder you specified. If it is, Outlook will add the right category. With Outlook 2007, it will also add the color icon.
Once Outlook categories your email, it becomes easy to sort the list. For example, by clicking the Categories column, I can quickly sort my email so people I know are at the top of my list. You could also create a filtered view of these people as well.
While Outlook can’t tell you which email to read or answer first, it does provide a nice way to categorize and sort emails. The rule we created is broad, but using the same technique, you could highlights other types of email such as those from a specific domain or user.
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Last Updated (Saturday, 19 June 2010 11:24)