Reset the Importance Status of MS Outlook Emails

Make an MS Outlook rule for "important" emails

Multiple important signs.
Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Changing the priority of a message in Microsoft Outlook is a simple way for people to show you that their message is really important and should be looked at ASAP. If some of your contacts use the high priority flag more than they should, make a rule in Microsoft Outlook that automatically lowers the importance of their emails if they send them with High Importance.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; and Outlook for Office 365.

How to Automatically Lower an Email's Importance Status

When you lower the importance status of a sender's emails, this does not delete the email or make any other changes. It only lowers the importance from high down to normal so that the message has the same status as regular messages.

  1. Select File > Info > Manage Rules & Alerts.

    Viewing the Info settings within Outlook.
  2. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, go to Email Rules and select New Rule.

    Creating a new rule in Outlook.
  3. In the Rules Wizard, go to the Start from a blank rule section and choose Apply rule on messages I receive.

    The Rules Wizard is open with apply rule on messages I receive highlighted.
  4. Select Next.

  5. Select the from people or public group check box and select the marked as important check box.

    Adding conditions to the new rule within Outlook's Rules Wizard.
  6. In the Step 2 section, select people or public group.

  7. In the Rule Address dialog box, choose a contact that this rule should apply to and select From. Add as many contacts as you want.

    Choose contacts from your address book or type their email addresses manually. If you type them manually, separate each email address with a semicolon (;).

    Searching for a contact to add to the new rule.
  8. Select OK.

  9. In the Rules Wizard, go to the Step 2 section and select importance.

  10. Select the Importance dropdown arrow and choose High. This is the type of email the rule will watch for.

    Adding the importance rule into the Rules Wizard in Outlook.
  11. Select OK to save and exit the Importance window.

  12. Select Next.

    Viewing the partially created rule for importance.
  13. To tell Outlook what to do with the messages that are marked as high importance, select the mark it as important check box.

    Selecting the new importance level to set emails to.
  14. In the Step 2 section, select importance.

  15. Select the Importance dropdown arrow, choose Normal, then select OK. This reverts all high importance emails from the selected contacts to normal.

    Selecting Normal importance in Outlook Rules Wizard.
  16. Select Next.

  17. In the Are there any exceptions screen of the Rules Wizard, select Next.

  18. Enter a descriptive name for the rule.

    Naming the new rule in Rules Wizard in Outlook.
  19. Select Finish to save the rule and exit the Rules Wizard.

  20. In the warning dialog box, select OK.

  21. Your new rule is listed in the Email Rules.

    Viewing the newly created importance rule within Rules and Alerts in Outlook.
  22. Select OK to close the Rules and Alerts dialog box.