Organising your Email

Outlook and to a lesser extent Outlook Web App offer a number of different tools that will help your organize your mailbox.


Rules can help you organize your email by performing automated actions on messages that match a specific set of conditions.  Actions typically fall in to two categories: organization and notification.

Some rules require Outlook to be running, whereas some can be run by the Exchange server (server-side rule), so will occur regardless of whether you have your mail client open.  Outlook will define whether a rule is "client-only" during creation.

Examples of rule conditions and actions can be seen below:

Exceptions can also be applied to rules to allow more granular control.  Generally rules are run automatically, but you can also run them manually if you want to perform actions to messages that are already in your mailbox.

Search Folders

To help group email together across the entire mailbox, search folders can be created from within Outlook.  They offer a permanent search view, rather than having to regularly performing the same search. Examples of useful search folders are:

  • All unread email
  • All mail larger than a certain size
  • All mail containing key words

Outlook holds a number of default Search Folder examples, however you can customize your own Search Folders based upon most message characteristics.

You can create a new Search Folder by right-clicking on Search Folders from within your mailbox.  A wizard will open guiding you through creation.


Categories allow you to colour code messages help visibly identify messages quickly.  Custom categories can be added.  It is important to note that categories are best avoided with shared mailboxes as a lot of the functionality is reliant on the email client.

View Filters

Filters can be applied on folders to only show certain types of messages, without performing an action on them. Showing all messages that are unread for example.  Remember to remove the filter once you are done with it.

Quick Steps

If you perform the same tasks regularly on certain types of email messages, you can create a Quick Step to speed up your workflow process.  Quick Steps are available from Outlook's menu.

Leave Feedback