Outlook Rules Frequently Asked Questions

Last reviewed on December 18, 2012   —  No comments yet

Q: In what order do the rules run?

A: The rules in Outlook run in the order listed – top to bottom. Use the arrow button to rearrange the order if necessary.

Q:Messages are being duplicated by rules. How do I stop it?

A: Add Stop processing to the first rule that processes the message. When a message meets the condition of two rules, both rules will process the message, unless you add Stop Processing to the uppermost of the two rules. Use the arrow buttons to reorder the rules, if necessary, so the correct rule is listed first.

Q: Will Stop processing stop all rules?

A: Only on the current message. Rules will run on any other messages being downloaded. Stop processing stops the rules engine from checking additional rules against the current message.

Q: Should I add Stop processing to all of my rules?

A: If you want to insure that no other rule will process the message, yes. Exchange server users should use this with caution, as it can use up some of the space set aside for rules.

Q: How many rules can I have?

A: As long as you don’t use Exchange server, as many as you want (and can manage). Exchange users are limited to as little as 32KB of rules (approx. 10). This limit can be increased by the administrator on Exchange 2007 and 2010.

Q: Is there a better rules editor, one that will let me sort my rules alphabetically?

A: Rules Wizard is the only rules editor Microsoft supplies. Sorting rules alphabetically could have unintended consequences since messages are checked against each rule.

There is one third party rules editor for Outlook 2007 and up: Power Rule Manager by Sperry Software.

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.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

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