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At our office (large financial institution), we send out many generated emails to dozens of users. Those emails typically contain verified numbers, confirmations of checks, etc. It is not possible to use a central database for this purpose, since it would be too complex and too costly.

I want my recipients to be able to reliably filter out the automatically generated emails, without missing the back-and-forth discussion that might arise. Each user gets hundreds of those mails daily, but they have to get them, so they have been formally informed.

I would like to help them focus by finding a rule in outlook that

  • filters out automatically sent email as good as possible

  • will NOT filter discussion that might arise (i.e. Re:, Fwd:, ...) with certainty

  • senders of those mails will be varying, depending on who e.g. did the verification. A single-sender address is not possible due to compliance reasons.

If a mail ends up in a users inbox without being auto-sorted, that is fine, but it cannot hide an ongoing discussion that might be time-sensitive (yeah, we use mail for that...)

The problem is that outlook rules will only scan if a word occurs in the text or subject, but afaik I cannot filter for position ("Begins with XXX"). Thus, filtering by keywords will also filter discussions and follow-ups.

I can change the emails themselves, and I can suggest the filter-rule to the users. The fix should be as simple as possible, since I have to deploy the change to dozens of vba macros and other programs. Ideally it should work with HTML and text only, but HTML only would be acceptable.

Is there a flag or clever tag that I can add to my email that makes sure an email is not filtered if forwarded or replied to?

Thanks for your input!

  • Prefix or suffix the automated messages with something like [Automated Message]:? – Seth May 10 '17 at 10:16
  • That doesn't work, since Outlook 2010 Rules only allow to look for certain words in the subject line, but won't consider their relative position. Therefore, such a rule would filter out all replys. Since if someone ever replies to these messages, something urgent is happening, that is not a solution. – zuiqo May 11 '17 at 13:18
  • So educate the users to remove that part from the message? You probably could write something in VBA that would remove that part from the title if someone replies to a message. But with the framework you defined changing the actual processes would probably be way more effective. – Seth May 12 '17 at 5:18
  • I could not agree more. However, I am not in the position to push this change through, and I will almost certainly not be able to reeducate users, since they are spread across departments and sub-companies. Tough luck, I guess. – zuiqo May 12 '17 at 7:40

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