Apply Categories Automatically With Rules in Outlook

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Do you categorize emails almost without fail if they come with certain words in the Subject or recipients in the Cc line?

You do not have to expand that effort for every new message — if you take the effort to set up a rule once that will have apply the desired category automatically.

Have Apply Categories Automatically with Rules

To set up a filter in for having message categories added to (or removed from) incoming messages automatically:

  • Click the settings gear in
  • Select More mail settings from the menu that appears.
  • Now choose Rules for sorting new messages under Customizing Outlook.
  • Click New.
    • To edit an existing rule:
      • Click Edit in the rule's line.
  • Select the desired criteria for applying the filter under "Step 1: Which messages do you want this rule to apply to?"
    • To categorize all messages sent to a mailing list's address, for instance, make the line read To or Cc line contains ""
    • To set up a filter for a sender, you can also use the Categories menu.
  • Make sure Add category is selected under "Step 2: What action do you want to apply?"
    • To have the rule remove a possibly present category instead:
      • Make sure Remove category is selected.
  • Click the existing category's name if you are editing a rule and want to change the category applied or removed.
  • Select the category you want to be applied automatically from the list.
  • Click Save.

How to Remove an Existing Outlook.Com Rule

  • Click the settings gear in your
  • Select More mail settings from the menu.
  • Follow the "Rules for sorting new messages" link under Customizing Outlook.
  • Make sure the filters you want to remove are checked.
  • Click Delete.
  • Click Outlook in the toolbar if you wish to return to your inbox.