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I have two rules set up to sort incoming bug reports. The first is specific to a single device:

Apply this rule after the message arrives
sent to SMS Distribution
    and with <source_device_number>: in the body
move it to the BugReports\<source_device_number> folder

..and the second is a catch-all for everything else:

Apply this rule after the message arrives
sent to SMS Distribution
move it to the BugReports folder

For some reason though, the first rule never seems to act even though it's higher in the list. So for some reason an email like the following doesn't seem to get caught by the first rule:

From: <SourceDeviceUID>
To: SMS Distributor
Subject: Message from <SourceDeviceUID>
Message: <source_device_number>: Device encountered a problem. Details below...

...where <source_device_number> is an integer.

The second rule works fine. But for some high-priority devices, I want them automatically sorted.

Why might that first rule fail?

[Edit] ..also, is there any way to check if a string only exists at the beginning of the body of an email?

share|improve this question

I think you need to define the 2nd rule as follows:

Apply this rule after the message arrives
sent to SMS Distribution
move it to the BugReports folder
except with <source_device_number>: in the body
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So you think it applies all the rules in order and the last one wins? Presumably I could just put the last rule first if that's the case? – Jon Cage Jun 15 '10 at 12:20
Or move all messages to the bug report folder with your first rule, then move any messages in the bug report folder identified with your source_device_number to a subsequent folder with a second rule. – Amos Jun 15 '10 at 12:47
No, the order doesn't matter. But if two rules have the same "base" and one of them just adds a constraint you always have to add this constraint as an exception in the other rule. That's at least what I discovered since working with Outlook/Exchange rules ;) – släcker Jun 15 '10 at 14:26

Does Exchange's filter recognise the source_device_number as a string to search against or does it try and match it against a non-existent integer in the message body?

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In reality, the <source_device_number> actually reads as a string I think so the message would contain 5: Device encountered a probl.. and I'd be trying to match 5:. Is it possible the colon character could be messing things up? – Jon Cage Jun 15 '10 at 10:54
It may do, I haven't used this specific filter so I couldn't tell you. Maybe see if you can find a guide to what characters are recognised. – Amos Jun 15 '10 at 12:46
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Slacker's answer jogged my memory; Outlook will keep processing all the rules in the order you specify, but I don't think it acts on them until it gets to the end of the list. This explains why the latter catch-all rule was eating all the other messages.

Looking at the options available in the 'action(s)' section of the rules wizard, there's an option to stop processing more rules which will ensure that the catch-call doesn't run afterwards. The ordering does therefore matter.

share|improve this answer
Yes, in theory it should act as you wish when setting the "stop processing" option but this never worked for me. But if it does for you it's the best way. – släcker Jun 15 '10 at 15:37

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