Reset the Importance Status of MS Outlook Emails

Make an MS Outlook rule for "important" emails

Changing the priority of a message in Microsoft Outlook is a simple way for people to show you that their email is critical 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 for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, and Outlook 2010.

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 reduces 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, then 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 to whom this rule should apply and select From. Add as many contacts as you wish.

    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 drop-down arrow and choose High to set the rule to watch for this type of email.

  11. Select OK to save and exit the Importance window.

  12. Select Next.

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

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

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

  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.