I know that Outlook has the ability to automatically move email to specific folders as it arrives. I spend too much time sorting mail in the inbox therefore and would like to have a folder called "Read Mail". As I open a mail I will decide to keep or delete – mail I want to keep will go to the "Read Mail" folder and the rest to Deleted Items. After I move the mail to the Read folder, I want Outlook to automatically move the mail to other folders, like how the rules move the mail as it arrives. How do I make the rules run on a different folder?
Since the very first Outlook, it has been used like a file cabinet – with the pretty manila folder icons, it seems logical to file mail like you would file papers, one folder for each sender, but it’s not necessarily the most productive method. It takes a lot of time to create folders and file the mail. If you file a message in the wrong folder, it’s harder to find it.
Many people file messages to specific folders because they think it’s easier to find the messages, and with the old Outlook search, this was true. With the introduction of Instant Search, you can find messages in seconds when you need them. (Yes, I know, the same reasoning works for filing messages in many folders too.) If you are frequently searching for a specific search term, create a search folder for that term.
My recommendation is to stop using Outlook like it's a file cabinet and stop using rules to move all of the messages as they arrive. Leave almost everything in the Inbox and create a Quick Step to file mail you are finished with into a single folder (mine is named "Completed"). You can use rules to move some mail that you will review later, such as from mailing lists or automated messages you monitor but don’t need to review frequently.
Use the Quick Step and the Del key as you read mail. While you could use several Quick Steps to move mail to different folders, I think it's easier if you limit the number of folders you file to. (I file to Completed and Mailing Lists.)
If you want to file mail in folders, you have a few options using native Outlook features, including the manual method of using the Move to Folder command or drag and drop the message to the folder in the folder list. There are third-party utilities that can make it easier to file your email as you read it or will file it automatically after some time has passed. These utilities are listed in the Tools section.
While the Rules Wizard can’t run rules on other folders automatically, you can run them manually on any folder using the Run Rules Now command.
You can use rules to file mail as it arrives then use an Unread Mail Search folder to read your new messages. Hit Del key to delete messages you don’t need to keep and the remaining mail is already filed in folders. Add the Unread search folder to the Favorites list and it’s easy to access.
If you want to file by date, or sender’s name or email address, I have macros that can do this.
"Macro to file Outlook email by sender's display name"
"Macro to Move Aged Email Messages"
Move to Folder Command
To use the Move to Folder command you can either right-click on a selected message and choose Move to Folder command from the context menu or use the move command on the Home ribbon. The last 10 folders that you moved Outlook items to will be listed in the Most Recently Used (MRU) list. Choose from one of these folders or browse to select a different folder.
However, it’s often easier to just drag the message to the folder in the folder list. When you drag a message to a folder, that folder will be added to the MRU list on the Move to Folder command.
Quick Steps make it easy to move messages, especially if you also want to make them read or apply a category.
To create a new quick step
- Click on Create New in the Quick Step gallery in the Home ribbon.
- Enter a name for your Quick Step.
- Choose an Action from the list. For this Quick Step we will choose Move to Folder.
- Choose the folder you want to move the message to.
- If you want to make any other changes such as marking the message read, click Add Action and select action that you want to apply.
- When you’re finished click the Finish button to create the Quick Step.
To use your Quick Step, select a message then click on the Quick Step in the gallery or use the shortcut key, if one was assigned.
Run Rules Now
To use Run Rules Now:
- Open the folder of that you want to run the rules on
- Go to the Home ribbon, expand Rules, choose Manage Rules & Alerts to open the Rules Wizard
- Click the Run Rules Now button and select the rules you want to run
- Verify the correct folder is selected before clicking Run Now.
This will apply the rules to the folder that you have selected.
Unread Mail Search Folder
To use the Unread mail search folder
- Right click on Search Folders at the bottom of the message list
- Choose New Search Folder.
- Choose Unread mail. his adds a new search folder under Search Folders in your folder list.
Drag to the Favorites pane for easier access. (You can right-click on the folder and choose Show in Favorites)
Tools in the Spotlight
File 90% of your emails at the click of a button. Manage your Inbox and Sent Items folders. Move emails out of the Inbox to the correct folder at the click of a button. QuickFile remembers the folders used for each person and presents a short customized list each time. Use the same list to Send&File in one step instead of having to go back to your Sent Items folder. Plus many more email management features such as one-click creation of task/appointments from emails, newsletter processing, deferred non-urgent emails and much more.
Timed Email Organizer is a brand new add-in which can replace or augment your Outlook rules. Unlike Outlook, this add-in will act on emails based on how old they are, supports ANDs, ORs, NOTs and wildcards in the conditions, and has a test mode so that you can see what the effect of a given rule would be if it were run. It will even import your current Outlook rules and automatically disable them for you.
Auto-Mate is an Outlook utility that allows you use define rules to move mail from your Inbox (or other folders) based on several criteria, including the age of the message. While Outlook rules only run as messages are downloaded or when you click Run Rules now, Auto-Mate rules run on a schedule, enabling you to apply rules to messages that have been in your Inbox for a given number of hours, days or weeks. Available in Standard or Pro Version. Supports Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013. Now supports Windows 10 and Outlook 2016 / Office 365. Version 10.