I am looking to achieve the following scenario.

  • Send an email to three distinct people
  • If recipient A, B, or C presses reply-all then the reply-all should go to everyone besides me
  • If reply is pressed then the email should go to me

I'm sure you are wondering why I want to achieve this and the answer is that there are occasions when I no longer need to be included on an email after I've sent it.

I've tried going to the message's Options tab and clicking "Direct Replies To" but it forces you to specify one address for both reply and reply-all so this does not satisfy all of my bullet points from above.

Any insight is appreciated.

  • I know it sounds overkill, but the only solution I see is to ask for a "no-reply" email account for yourself. You can login both accounts in Outlook and simply switch to the no-reply one when you need it. You'll be excluded from further correspondance by default, but people szól can add your normal address if they need to do so. – Máté Juhász Apr 19 '17 at 3:10

You can't do that. The only workaround I see is to use the "Ignore" button in Outlook. This is not exactly what you want but at least something.

  • That's a real bummer :/ – MonkeyZeus Apr 18 '17 at 20:37
  • 1
    ... because even if the Outlook supported it, noone guarantees that other recipients use it. I'm pretty sure there are no email clients (desktop or web) providing this feature. – thims Apr 19 '17 at 11:55

Outlook Rules Can Produce Your Desired Outcome

You don't have control of A, B, or C's email program, so you cannot prevent them from sending you an email when they click Reply All.

However, you do have control of what happens when you receive the message. You can use Outlook Rules to delete those unwanted messages, producing the same result as if the email wasn't sent in the first place. I'll warn you in advance: this is a little complicated because we have to bend the rules (pun intended) to pull this off

If recipient A, B, or C presses reply-all then the reply-all should go to everyone besides me

To uniquely identify these unwanted messages, we'll examine the subject line for the presence of Re: (to match only replies), and the To addresses for the presence our interesting recipients, then matching emails.

Caution: If you indeed have Outlook delete these messages, it will do so without notifying you. You may wish instead to have the messages moved to another folder so that you can review them before deleting them yourself.

When one clicks Reply All to a message sent to multiple recipients, the reply is addressed to everyone except the one creating the reply. Therefore we have three distinct "sets" of possible message recipients we're interested in (since you received the e-mail was assume all of these are also sent to you):

  1. A and B
  2. A and C
  3. B and C

Unfortunately, most of Outlook's rules, including those for examining message recipients, use "OR" logic for multiple criterion. Using ideas suggested by the MSOutlook.info article Using AND operators in rules we can work around this by using multiple rules to temporarily assign messages to categories to mimic the desired "AND" comparison in our rules.

First, we need the following three rules:

Conditions:                                              Action:
-----------                                              -------
Sent to 'A', and Subject contains 'Re:'                  Assign to category 'Rule - A'
Sent to 'B', and Subject contains 'Re:'                  Assign to category 'Rule - B'
Sent to 'C', and Subject contains 'Re:'                  Assign to category 'Rule - C'

Now our interesting messages will be assigned two of the categories specified above. Interestingly, Outlook allows AND operators when matching categories, so the following rules will discard our unwanted messages:

Condition:                                               Action:
----------                                               -------
Assigned to category 'Rule - A' and 'Rule - B'           Delete
Assigned to category 'Rule - A' and 'Rule - C'           Delete
Assigned to category 'Rule - B' and 'Rule - C'           Delete

For testing purposes, consider starting off with a rule action less severe than Delete. Perhaps use Mark as read or Move to a folder until you're sure everything's working as intended.

To keep the Outlook house clean, we should wrap things up with a final rule to Clear categories for all messages. For example, a reply sent to only you and A will be assigned to only the Rule - A category, but we don't want to retain this category assignment after rule processing is complete.

Bear in mind that if a reply is sent to You, A, B, C, and D, these rules will still nuke the message. That's an unfortunate weakness of this approach. If it's possible this will happen, you can modify your first three rules to add an additional condition to only match messages where the text super-secret-sauce appears in the body of the message. You would then need ensure the original message includes that key text (feel free to use something less likely to attract raised eyebrows). You see this same technique used in emails exchanged as part of opening an inquiry with a company; usually a phrase along the lines of "Do not remove this line: [ticket-id: random stuff here]"

  • I fully realize this approach doesn't remove you from an e-mail thread you've started. Per your question that would obviously be the best-case scenario, but it's unfortunately not possible. – Twisty Impersonator Apr 19 '17 at 1:14
  • I appreciate the detailed answer but I am too drunk to fully comprehend it at the moment. +1 and cheers – MonkeyZeus Apr 19 '17 at 1:25
  • Wow, that's impressing! However, besides the weakness you've mentioned it has two major issues: first: email addresses need to be hard coded, I don't think OP wild have only 3 of them, even for 10 it would be a nightmare to set up the system. – Máté Juhász Apr 19 '17 at 3:04
  • ... Second: there is a substantial difference between your solution and the question: in the question mail is not sent to the original sender, in your answer it is sent, but deleted without notice. NEVER do this. There can be plenty of reasons where the mail shouldn't be deleted (e.g. A wants to answer to the original sender, but copies also B and C to inform them an action is taken. Now A B C are waiting for the sender to reply, but he didn't even received the mail (I know you've suggested to move it first, but the concept is the same, either he checks all, or may lose information)) – Máté Juhász Apr 19 '17 at 3:05
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    I agree that this would be always tricky. But if outlook would support it, then they would have the chance to notice it, by looking to the address bar and checking recipient list (he want to prevent his own address to the list, not to prevent sending to himself). With your solution they don't even have the chance. – Máté Juhász Apr 19 '17 at 3:22

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