I have created four different mail rules in Microsoft Outlook (offline version of Office 365). All four are very simple -- "catch" e-mail address of some pattern and move it to specified folder.

When creating fifth rule, at the end of rule creation process I saw following message:

enter image description here

What parameter or condition in rule decides about this? The only difference between this, fifth rule and four created previously is that it also marks message as read prior to moving to other folder.

Could this be an issue?

This is quite very frustrating for me, because this rule is used to move hundred of e-mails per day (works actually each and every minutes), but for some reason it does this one-by-one. So, when I open up this local copy on Monday morning, I have it "blocked" for 15-20 minutes, when this rule is moving 1000+ e-mails to destination folder.

All other rules moves e-mails corresponding to them instantly. I don't actually see them in work -- all e-mails just lands in destination folder. While fifth rule works 1-2 e-mails per second at most and I can clearly see e-mails landing in Inbox and then being moved from there to the destination... slowly.

EDIT: As stated above ("offline version of Office 365") I am using Exchange account (actually Office.com / Office 365 account). I am using only this single account so all five rules (four on-line and one client-side) are Exchange account's rules.

When I create that fifth rule in standalone Outlook client, I can see it in OWA with a remark that this is a client-side rule. But, I can still see it and edit it. When I create it in OWA then in Outlook standalone client I only see a remart that there is a number of additional rules that were created in newer version of Outlook or OWA and that cannot be edited through standalone Outlook.

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    Are you using an Exchange account? Do you have access to its webmail, and can you successfully configure the same rule through webmail? – user1686 Dec 2 '19 at 9:33
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    Please make sure you create this rule with a Exchange account. All POP and IMAP rules are client side (unless you create them in your account's web access). – Aidan Dec 3 '19 at 9:06
  • Please, see the updated question. I hope that this clarify things. – trejder Dec 3 '19 at 11:18
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    @Aidan Microsoft switched it's public email servers over to Exchange ~2yrs ago, so unless the account is manually added as a POP3 account (Microsoft does not offer IMAP), it should be auto-added as an Exchange account upon adding it to the Outlook desktop program. trejder: You're 100% positive the other 4 rules were created in the Outlook desktop program and you're 100% positive all 4 run without Outlook being open (I've never been able to get Outlook to run any rule created in the desktop program when the desktop program isn't running). – JW0914 Dec 3 '19 at 12:57
  • @JW0914 I am 100% positive that they were created in Outlook desktop (all five). I am not sure if they're working while desktop client is off. Probably not. But, that's not a point. A point here is that first for are working with a snap of fingers (I don't see them in work at all; e-mails just land in destination folder) while fifth one works very slowly, 1-2 message per second. I'll try to edit the question appropriately. – trejder Dec 5 '19 at 7:10

Server-side vs. Client-only Rules:

Client-only rules have at least one condition or action that uses an Outlook feature:

  • Common conditions making it a client-only rule:
    • Assigned to category
    • Flagged for action
    • Marked as importance
    • Marked as sensitivity
    • With specific words in the body
    • With specific words in the message header
    • With specific words in the recipient’s address
    • With specific words in the sender’s address
    • With specific words in the subject

  • Common actions making it a client-only rule:
    • Assign it to the category
    • Clear the Message Flag
    • Display a Desktop Alert
    • Display a specific message in the New Items Alert window
    • Flag message for follow up at this time
    • Mark it as read
    • Moving messages to a folder that exists only on the PC
    • Permanently delete it
    • Play a sound
    • Print it

  • Outlook also imposes a storage limit of 32KB for rules in OWA
  • I have accepted and upvoted your answer, because it explains a lot, though I don't agree with at least one of your statements. All my rules includes "With specific words in the subject" (I base rules only on this condition, always) and all my rules are not client-side only. The example is "[JIRA]" rule in the screenshot above that "captures" all e-mails having "[JIRA]" string in subject. – trejder Jan 17 '20 at 15:20
  • The text in this answer can't be agreed or disagreed with, as that's simply how Outlook operates. All I did was pull the information directly from Microsoft's Office support page [linked to] and alphabetize the list to make it logical. I can't explain the behavior you describe, as Microsoft doesn't list everything, just common reasons; you may want to reach out to Office tech support with that question. If you get a link from them listing everything, please post it, as I've also experienced similar conflicts with server-side vs client-side rules that don't make sense. – JW0914 Jan 17 '20 at 15:32

I can clearly see and confirm that adding and mark it as read flag to any rule causes my Outlook to start treating given rule as client-only:

enter image description here

While removing this flag causes that particular rule will be effective also in Outlook Web Access (at least that's I assume from these warnings):

enter image description here

So this is the ultimate answer to my question: Forcing any rule to mark any message as read causes that rule to work only, if offline Outlook program is opened.

However I completely don't know, why is this happening like that? Why simple operation of marking message as read can't be processed in Outlook Web Access. Must be a weird part of the a matter deeply in Outlook.

  • Have you tested this on OWA after creating the rule in Outlook? I've never been able to get rules created in Outlook, regardless of what action is chosen for the rule in Outlook, to apply to OWA (incl. junk filtering). – JW0914 Jan 15 '20 at 11:25
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    No, I have quite opposite. As desktop Outlook claims, only rules marked as "client-only" in desktop Outlook are denoted in OWA with "This rule was created using the desktop version of Outlook. You can't view or edit it here" note. All other (i.e. all those not marked "client-only" in desktop Outlook) can be viewed and edited in OWA. – trejder Jan 16 '20 at 13:39
  • I removed "Mark as read" from desktop app and added it again using web app. Now they are not shown in desktop app but also not "client only". Thank you for the input. – kmchmk Sep 3 '20 at 6:47

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