Office 365 (Outlook on the web) - Filtering email with inbox and sweep rules

This topic shows you how to use Inbox and sweep Rules to automatically perform specific actions on messages as they arrive, based on criteria you select. For example, you can create a rule to automatically move all mail sent to a group you're a member of to a specific folder. When you setup a rule in Outlook Web App, the rule will be applied regardless of the client you are using.

In addition to Inbox Rules, please review additional information on junk email and phishing options.

To manage rules, click Settings icon settings icon > Options > Mail in the left-hand column > Automatic Processing> Inbox and sweep Rules.

Note: The Outlook on the web client recently received an update to their options menu which is refelected in the document below. The old options menu encounters an error attempting to create a rule in Chrome when using the 'it was sent to' or 'it was received from' conditions in the rule.

How do I manage Inbox rules?

How to view existing inbox rules

To view your existing Inbox and sweep rules, please follow these steps:

  1. Click the gear icon located in the top right corner of your screen.
  2. At the bottom of the "Settings" panel that is presented, click Mail under "My App Settings."
  3. Under the "Mail" category, click Inbox and sweep rules.
  4. You are now viewing your current inbox and sweep rules.

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What you'll see on the Inbox and sweep Rules tab

The Inbox and sweep rules tab shows you an overview of all your Inbox rules. From here, you can review what a rule does, turn rules off or on, create new rules, edit existing rules, or delete rules that you no longer need.



add rulenew

Use this to create a new Inbox rule.

edit edit

Highlight a rule, and then click here to view or edit the details of a rule.

discard delete

Highlight a rule, and then click Delete to delete it.

move up move up

Use this to move the selected rule up in the list. Rules are processed from top to bottom.

Move down move down

Use this to move the selected rule down in the list.

refresh refresh

Use this to refresh the list of rules.


Use the check box next to a rule to turn it on (box checked) or off (box not checked).


The name of the rule

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How do I create a new rule?

Note: Please note that rules are NOT case sensitive. For example, if you create a rule that sends an email containing the string of characters 'to' to junk, this will send any email with the string 'TO,' 'To,' 'tO,' and 'to' to the junk folder.

Note: Please note that when you create a new inbox rule, it will not automatically be applied to your preexisting folders and items, but will instead be applied to future emails meeting the criteria of the rule you created.

To create a new blank rule using the Inbox Rules tab, choose Add rule add new rule.

The new rule window has three sections:



When the message arrives, and it matches all of these conditions

Use this box to select criteria for your rule. Use the down arrow to view and select the criteria you want to use.

If the criteria have additional options, enter them in the window that appears.

Do the following:

Use this box to select the action you want taken when a message arrives that meets the criteria you selected.

Except if it matches any of these conditions

Use this box to add any exceptions to the conditions above. 

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How do I edit a rule?

You can edit any rule by selecting it and choosing edit edit to open the rule so that you can change the conditions or actions of the rule.

How do I delete a rule?

If you have a rule that you no longer want, you can select it and then click discard delete to remove it. If you just want to turn the rule off for a while, remove the check mark next to the rule.

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How do I create a rule from a message?

Note: Please note, that when you create a rule from an email message, it will not be applied to that current email, but will be applied to future emails meeting the same criteria you have selected.

If you receive a email message and want to create a rule for it, perform the following steps:

  1. Right-click the message in the message list pane, then click create rule....
  2. Or while you view the message in the reading pane, select the extended menu extended menu and then choose create rule... from the menu.

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What else do I need to know?

  • When you create a new rule in Outlook on the web, you may receive a warning that some rules that were created in Outlook and are currently disabled will be deleted. Before you delete those rules, you may want to sign in to your account using Outlook and check the rules to see if you want to keep them. Enable any rules you want to keep.
  • Rules are run from top to bottom in the order in which they appear in the Rules window. To change the order of rules, click the rule you want to move, and then click the move up up or Move down down arrow to move the rule to the position you want in the list.
  • Some types of messages won't trigger Inbox rules, including:
    • Delivery status notifications, which include non-delivery reports and system messages.
    • Read receipts and delivery receipts that are generated by an e-mail client.
    • Some automatic-reply (Out of Office) messages.
  • Each rule you create will take up space in a hidden section of your mailbox. This section is limited to 64 KB. The actual amount of space a rule uses depends on several factors, such as how long the name is and how many conditions you've applied. When you reach the 64 KB limit, you'll be warned that you can't create any more rules. If that happens, you'll have to delete or simplify some of your existing rules before you can create more. Some ways you can reduce the space used by rules are:
    • Delete rules you no longer need.
    • Shorten the names of your rules.
    • Combine one or more rules that do the same thing.
    • Remove criteria from rules.
  • When you create a forwarding rule, you can add more than one address to forward to. The number of addresses you can forward to is limited to 10 addresses. If you add more addresses than are allowed, your forwarding rule won't work. If you create a forwarding rule with more than one address, test it to be sure it works. A workaround for users who need to forward to more than 10 addresses is to create and use a list - WiscList or Google Group.
  • Forwarded messages appear as messages that are forwarded by you (i.e. from your own email address), while redirected messages appear as though they came from the original sender. Learn more.

    Note: A copy is saved in the original recipient's Inbox regardless of forward or redirection.

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See Also:

Keywords:microsoft office 365 web client outlook app mail overview messages searching rules filters owa o365 junk phishing spam whitelisting block senders safe filtering block list blocking junkmail filtered create creating delete deleting edit editing new from a message inbox   Doc ID:32586
Owner:Ara M.Group:Office 365
Created:2013-08-07 12:53 CDTUpdated:2017-01-25 11:59 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Office 365, UW Platteville, Wisc Account Admin
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