To back up Outlook Rules Wizard rules

Last reviewed on August 22, 2011

Rules are stored in .rwz files with the name of your profile. However, just copying the .rwz file to another machine doesn’t always work. Instead, export the rules:

  1. Choose Tools | Rules Wizard, and then click Options.
  2. In the Options dialog box, click Export Rules, and choose a file location.

Reverse the process to import your saved rules if you need to transfer Outlook to another machine. Always check all the imported rules to make sure they’re still active. Sometimes they’re deactivated — especially move or copy to folder rules — because Outlook can’t be sure that the destination folder is the same as in your original rule.

Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

In Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010, rules are stored as hidden files within the pst or mailbox. When you copy the pst file to a new computer (or use it with a new Outlook profile) the rules will be available when you use the existing pst file as your default delivery location (no need to use import a rwz file), although rules that move messages to folders may need to be re-pointed to the folders.  You can (and should) create a backup of your rules using the Export function but won’t need it when moving pst files to new computers or creating new profiles.

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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