Last reviewed on May 23, 2014   —  9 Comments

This question from C:

Is there a setting/way to tell Outlook to run all client-only rules on inbox whenever the application is opened. This way when I come in Monday morning and open Outlook, everything will be filed/classified correctly.

Outlook will run all rules that are enabled when messages are downloaded, although, some rules can fail if there are a lot of messages to process (which is not uncommon when starting Outlook after a weekend away). You can use Outlook's Run Rules Now command to run the rules at any time, with Outlook 2010 and up adding a Select All button in the Run Rules Now dialog.

Run all rules now

You can add the Run Rules Now command button to the ribbon or QAT for faster access to the dialog.

If you want something more automatic and are using Outlook 2007 and up, you can run rules using a macro. To run the macro automatically, call the macro from the Application Startup macro, or add it to a button on your ribbon to run it on demand.

Use a macro

Start with the macro from, which automates the process of using Run Rules Now, running all rules on the Inbox. As each rule runs, an Outlook dialog box shows you which rule is currently being processed. By adding rl.IsLocalRule = True to the If statement, you can run only the local, or client-side, rules.

The run rules now dialog displays

At the end, a message box displays, letting you know that the macro is finished. This message box can be removed by deleting (or commenting out) each line that references rulelist.

Message box when the macro is finished

If you need help using a macro, information and screenshots are at How to use the VBA Editor

Private Sub Application_Startup()
End Sub

Sub RunAllInboxRules()
    Dim st As Outlook.Store
    Dim myRules As Outlook.Rules
    Dim rl As Outlook.Rule
    Dim count As Integer
    Dim ruleList As String
    'On Error Resume Next
    ' get default store (where rules live)
    Set st = Application.Session.DefaultStore
    ' get rules
    Set myRules = st.GetRules
    ' iterate all the rules
    For Each rl In myRules
        ' determine if it's an Inbox rule
              If rl.RuleType = olRuleReceive And rl.IsLocalRule = True Then
            ' if so, run it
            rl.Execute ShowProgress:=True
            count = count + 1
            ruleList = ruleList & vbCrLf & rl.Name
        End If
    ' tell the user what you did
    ruleList = "These rules were executed against the Inbox: " & vbCrLf & ruleList
    MsgBox ruleList, vbInformation, "Macro: RunAllInboxRules"
    Set rl = Nothing
    Set st = Nothing
    Set myRules = Nothing
End Sub

More Information

IsLocalRule property (MSDN)
OL2007+: Run all rules against inbox (
Description of programming with Outlook rules (MSKB) This was written for older versions of Outlook, however, most of the techniques will work in all versions.
How to create a custom rule using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in Outlook 2002


  1. Gary Ricks says

    Diane -

    We have several large group email boxes at our company.

    Based on your comment below - I think some of our rules are not being completed:

    "Outlook will run all rules that are enabled when messages are downloaded, although, some rules can fail if there are a lot of messages to process (which is not uncommon when starting Outlook after a weekend away). "

    We have all of our rules based on when the email comes into the box - we have 7 rules that process and find certain domains on emails - and move those emails based on the domain name. There could be 20 or 30 domains to check for each rule.

    We receive in excess of 200-300 emails a day in each box -

    Would VBA handle the volume better?


    • Diane Poremsky says

      Using a macro might help, assuming you are moving messages to a folder named for the domain (eg, folder is named, it could be more efficient to use a macro

  2. Asusmin says

    Hey Diane,

    Thanks, it works like a charm. But how could I run the rules for unread items only? That would make things faster ya?


    • Diane Poremsky says

      It might make it a little faster, especially if you have a lot of mail, but the only way to apply rules to unread mail is by setting that in each rule, unfortunately, it is not an option. There is a date condition, but it need reset - you can't use "after last week" to restrict it.

    • George says

      You can use the RuleExecuteOption parameters:

      rl.Execute ShowProgress:=False, RuleExecuteOption:=2

  3. Tony Wagner says

    Diane, how can I trigger an event when an email is selected/displayed in the Reading Pane? I simply want to query the email's Subject Line and take an action if a specific string is found in the Subject Line. Thank you,

    • Diane Poremsky says

      You'd need to use ActiveExplorer.Selection.Item(1) to get the currently selected item.

      Like this:
      Set objItem = objApp.ActiveExplorer.Selection.Item(1)

      But, it might be better to use itemadd or a run a script rule so its processed as it arrives. If you want to process it after the fact you can use a macro (click a button to run it) or a macro that is triggered when you either do something (set a category or flag work good) or just select the message.

      Private WithEvents Items As Outlook.Items

      Private Sub Application_Startup()
      Dim Ns As Outlook.NameSpace

      Set Ns = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI")
      Set Items = Ns.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox).Items
      End Sub

      Private Sub Items_ItemChange(ByVal Item As Object)
      ' do whatever
      end sub

    • Tony Wagner says

      I'm not looking for an action to take place when the email arrives. I'm looking to trigger an action when I select the email to be displayed in the Reading Pane. Is something like that possible? Thanks, Diane!

    • Diane Poremsky says

      you'll use selectionchange for that - this goes in ThisOutlookSession.

      Public WithEvents myOlExp As Outlook.Explorer

      Public Sub Initialize_handler()
      Set myOlExp = Application.ActiveExplorer
      End Sub

      Private Sub myOlExp_SelectionChange()
      MsgBox myOlExp.Selection.Count & " items selected."
      End Sub

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