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A rule is an action that Outlook automatically performs on sent or received email messages, based on conditions you specify, such as moving all messages from a specific person into a folder other than your Inbox.

There are third party developers who write custom action rules add-ins in the forma of dynamic link library (.dll files) that you must install on the computer running Outlook before you can use them. Microsoft doesn’t provide custom action add-ins.

Note: A rule with a custom action runs only on the computer where it is installed and only when Outlook is running.

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. In the right pane, click Manage Rules & Alerts.

  3. In the Rules and Alerts box, on the Email Rules tab, click New Rule.

  4. Under Start from a blank rule, click either Apply rule on messages I receive or Apply rule on messages I send, and then click Next.

  5. Under Step 1: Select condition(s), select the conditions that you want the messages to meet for the rule to apply.

  6. Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click an underlined value for any condition you added, specify the value, and click Next.

  7. Under Step 1: Select action(s), check the perform a custom action box.

  8. Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click a custom action.

  9. In the Select Custom Action box, under Choose an action to be performed, click an action.

    Note: If the add-in doesn’t appear, the add-in isn’t installed correctly for use by Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 for Windows. You must contact the add-in developer for more information.

  10. To change the default action, click Change.

  11. Click OK to return to the Rules Wizard, and click Next.

  12. Under Step 1: Select exceptions, select any exceptions to the rule, and click Next.

  13. Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click an underlined value for any exception that you added, specify the value, and click Next.

  14. Under Step 1: Specify a name for this rule, enter a name.

  15. Under Step 2: Setup rule options, check the boxes for the options you want.

    • To run this rule on messages that are already in the Inbox, check the Run this rule now on messages already in “Inbox" box.

    • The new rule is automatically turned on. To turn off the rule, clear the Turn on this rule check box.

    • To apply this rule to all email accounts set up in Outlook, select the Create this rule on all accounts check box.

  16. Click Finish.

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