Instead of using email rules to move message, you can leave the messages in your Inbox and use Conditional Formatting rules in a custom view to highlight messages (or use filters to hide messages).
This tutorial shows you how to highlight and show only messages from specific senders but you can use any criteria in the filter dialog.
In this example, I'm highlighting messages from a sender in Red then creating a copy of the view so I can show only the messages from that sender.
Create a Conditional formatting rule.
- Open the Customize view dialog. In Outlook 2010 and newer, look for the View Settings button on the View tab. In all versions, right click on the row of field name (or Arrange By) at the top of the message list and choose Customize (or View Settings).
- Click Conditional Formatting button (it's called Automatic Formatting in older versions of Outlook.)
- Click Add and enter a name for the formatting rule; choose your Font.
- Click Condition
- Select your conditions. If you want to filter by email address, not display name, type the address or part of the address in the From field on the Messages tab. Do not use the From field on the Advanced tab. In this example, I'm going to highlight all messages from slipstick.com.
- Close the dialogs and apply the view when finished.
Because Conditional formatting is part of a view, it may only be applied to the current folder (or to folders using the current view). To apply it to other folders, use Change View > Apply Current View to Other Mail Folders to set the view on other folders.
You can make a copy of the view; thus is recommended if you customized a default view as it's very easy to accidently reset the view. If the original view gets messed up, use the copy and apply it to the folders.
To make a copy of the view, choose Save Current view as a New View from the Change View menu.
Video tutorial: Outlook 2010 and newer
Video tutorial: Outlook 2007 and earlier
Click on Arrange By to expand the menu and select Custom... then Automatic Formatting button.
Remove or Reset Custom views
If you decide you don't like the custom views, you can delete or reset them several ways. Or to restore all of Outlook's views to the default settings, use the /cleanviews switch.
The Automatic Formatting filter dialog uses the same filter dialog as Search folders, Advanced find and Views.
When you are applying filters to domains, use the From field on the first tab for the address or partial address. The From field on the Advanced tab is used for display names.