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How to Filter Emails in Outlook to Specific Folders

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Posted 3 years ago on June 14th, 2018. Last modified on September 16th, 2019

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You can automate the moving emails to specified folders in Outlook, with rules to create filters. It will help you organize your inbox and folders. One of the most powerful aspects of MS Outlook rules is the ability to set up email filters.

Why should I use Outlook AutoFilter? (Best Practices)

Often, the "unwanted" email messages you receive in Outlook aren't spam and they don’t need to be blocked. Instead, they may be messages you want to deal with at the same time or messages you want to look at later. For these messages, it's a good idea to set up an email autofilter in Outlook. This Outlook filter, created using Rules in Outlook, automatically sends specific messages to Outlook folders.

Here are some common reasons to use an Outlook autofilter:

To keep related emails together. Suppose you're working on a project with coworkers. As part of the project communication, you receive a lot of emails. You want to keep all the project-related emails in a particular folder so that you can find them quickly.

To keep subscription emails together. You've got several email subscriptions related to your business. You don't always have time to read them right away, but you want to keep them to read later. Use an Outlook filter to sort them to a subscription folder.

To keep emails from the same sender in the same place. Let's say you're mentoring an employee. They send you lots of emails with questions and you want to keep track of what you've gone over with them. An email filter can help.

How to Filter Emails in Outlook Using Rules

You can use the Outlook Rules feature to set up a rule that puts all emails from a specific sender (or a group of senders) to a specified folder. This will help you to organize your inbox and also help you to find important emails quickly.

For more details how to use rules, study our tutorial on creating MS Outlook rules:

In the steps below, I’ll show you how to set up an autofilter so that subscription emails from a specific sender automatically go to an Outlook email folder labeled Subscriptions. I'm using an email subscription as an example here, but the steps could be applied to any sender whose emails you want to filter automatically.

Step 1. Open the Rules Wizard

Make sure that you’ve got a folder to filter messages to. In this case, we’ll use the new folder I created labeled Subscriptions:
Subscriptions folder

Make sure you've got a folder to filter your messages into (in this example it's Subscriptions).

Next click the File tab in the upper left corner of the screen to access the Account Information window.

Then click the Manage Rules & Alerts box to open the Rules and Alerts dialog box:

Rules and Alerts dialog box

Step 2. Select the Move Messages From Someone to a Folder Template

There’s a template set up for automatically filtering messages to a folder, so select that option. (It’s the first option under the Stay Organized heading.) Click Next at the bottom of the Rules Wizard.
Rules Wizard first screen
The next screen of the wizard appears:
Rules Wizard second screen

Use the next screen of the Rules Wizard to define the conditions for your new autofilter rule.

Step 3. Choose the Email Address or Addresses To Be Filtered

On the next screen of the Rules Wizard, click the check box next to the first option and click the People or Public Group hyperlink under Step 2 on the wizard (towards the bottom of the dialog box).

A Rule Address dialog opens showing some of your contacts.

Select the email address(es) you want to apply the autofilter rule to.

At the top you’ll see the contact information for an email subscription called Daily. Select both contact entries for Daily and then click the From button at the bottom of the page. You’ll that outlook automatically fills the field next to From with the email addresses of the selected contacts.

Click OK. The Rule Address dialog closes.

Click Next at the bottom of the Rules Wizard. The next screen asks you to select actions for Outlook to take with the messages that meet this condition:

Rules Wizard third screen

In this Rules Wizard screen tell outlook what actions to take.

Step 4. Select the Folder for the Autofilter

Select the move it to the specified folder option. Then click on the specified hyperlink in the Step 2 section of the wizard:

List of Email folder

Select the folder you want to autofilter your messages to. Select the folder where you want the autofiltered messages to be sent (in this example, the Subscriptions folder). Next, click OK. Then, click the Next button at the bottom of the Rules Wizard.

The Rules Wizard asks whether there are any exceptions to the autofilter rule you just set up. If there are, you can enter them now. If not, select the Next button at the bottom of the wizard.

Step 5. Apply the Autofilter Rule

To finish up the rules setup process, you’re prompted to name the rule you just created and turn it on:
Rules Wizard finish screen
Turn on the Autofilter rule you just set up and finish.

You can also choose to run the rule on messages already in your inbox by clicking the checkbox next to that option.

When you’re done, click the Finish button. Next, click Apply and then OK on the Rules and Alerts dialog box to save your changes.

You’ve just created an Autofilter rule to sort email messages from specific senders to a folder in MS Outlook.

When new messages come in from theses senders, they’ll go directly to the folder you chose rather than your inbox. You can review them at your convenience.

Source: Computer Skills, TutsPlus

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