Is there a way to get microsoft outlook to alert my phone when I get an email? I do not want to receive the entire email. The subject line would probably be fine.

The reason I cannot have my phone download the message itself or use a standard phone app is security-policy related, and I have no control over it. I cannot have the message be on any unsecured computer, device, or server; I am only hoping to have a notification that I need to check my messages so that I can get to a secure device.

Attempts that did not work:

  • If I go to WebApp -> All Options -> Phone -> Text Messaging I can get the option to forward a whole email, as a text, to my phone. This is close to what I want. If there were a way to limit the number of characters sent (it already uses some character limit), then I could work with this
  • In Outlook Desktop 2013 (Windows 7) -> Manage Rules there are a lot of rules options, but none seem right. One even says "Send an alert to my mobile device when I get messages", but following the dialogue it doesn't actually do that (it forwards the whole message).
  • In Outlook Desktop 2013 -> Manage Rules there is an option to deploy a script, but this will only run if Outlook is open on my local computer. This isn't ideal, and would involve writing a script of my own, which is a shame given that the built-in features seem pretty promising
  • I am not able to access anything server side, to set up scripts.

Other Research

This official MS article looks promising, but when you scroll down to enabling the feature it lists two options

  1. To use text messaging in Outlook with an existing phone requires an Exchange Server 2010 account and a Windows phone running Windows Mobile 6.5 or later with a data plan.

    I don't have a windows phone.

  2. "Third-party text messaging (SMS) service"

    This sounds good, but under Home->New Items I don't see any option named "Text Message (SMS)," like they point to. Making this option appear might solve the problem

This official MS article is called "Turn on text messaging notifications", but it's not notifications, it's forwarding (as in the bullets above).

This official MS article says there's no such thing, directly contradicting the above articles.

A lot of articles like this one sound like what I want but re-hash the forwarding methods without saying how to turn them into notifications.

But aren't the texts already notifications?

No. For security reasons, the content of the message cannot be sent via text. The subject line might be okay. A notification "hey check your mail" would be perfect.

  • Why do you want Outlook (a desktop client without an Exchange server) to handle the task of sending alerts to your phone instead of having your phone connect to your mail server and get the data? – Atzmon Sep 13 '16 at 22:32
  • @Atzmon because I can't contact the mail server from mobile for security reasons (I don't personally have any control over security policies). The material in the email can't be on my phone, hence my problem with the first bullet which partially sends the email's contents through text, which is awfully close to a good solution for me. A true "alert", as its usually called in those articles, would be perfect. Make sense (not as a policy, but as a question)? – en_Knight Sep 13 '16 at 22:38
  • You mentioned you considered running a script using a rule but "this will only run if my client is up on my local computer". Is your Outlook client connected to an Exchange server or not? You wrote "I don't have that" about Exchange Server 2010 and Windows phone but it's unclear which of these you were referring to. Also specify what phone you have (Android, iPhone). And I must say this question feels a bit like an XY Problem. – Atzmon Sep 13 '16 at 23:03
  • You can create a free mailbox at any email provider (like gmail, yahoo etc.) that your phone can monitor. Then have mail subject lines or a "check your mail" notification sent there. To send those notifications you can run a VBA script as an Outlook rule or if you have access to Exchange Web Services you can write a little program/job that connects to EWS and can run on your machine or a server you may have (your profile shows you have programming knowledge, I can expand more on these options). – Atzmon Sep 13 '16 at 23:42
  • To comment 1: I'd love it if it was an XY problem, and my lack of domain-specific knowledge means it well might be :) I don't have a windows phone. The script option I saw in Outlook Desktop App would only fire if that particular computer had Outlook open (where the sms feature in bullet one didn't have that restriction). I don't have access to any of the exchange servers (I don't know much about server tech, so I could be using wrong terminology here); those are controlled by admins who will not add more software – en_Knight Sep 13 '16 at 23:57

The web service IFTTT.com will execute certain actions when triggered by the events you specify (IFTTT is short for If This, Then That).

You can create a 'recipe' (their terminology for program) that will send you an SMS whenever you get an incoming message from Gmail.

Of course this is no good - you're not on Gmail. However you can set up a rule in Outlook to forward all messages to a Gmail account that you create specifically for this purpose.


  1. Email comes into Outlook
  2. Outlook forwards the message to Gmail
  3. Gmail triggers an IFTTT alert sending an SMS to your phone

The only concern is whether you feel comfortable forwarding work emails to a Gmail account. If so you may wish to set up a filter to automatically delete the email on arrival - however, I haven't tested if this would still trigger the IFTTT alert. You'd need to test yourself!

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