Has anybody found an easy way to manage server-side rules from Mac OS X?

Here's a brief list of what I know doesn't work:

  • Entourage 2008 - it supports client rules, but not server rules. No good, there are certain actions that should happen before I open my laptop or check my email on my iPhone.
  • Apple Mail - same as Entourage, but at least I don't get as frustrated since, unlike Entourage, this isn't a Microsoft product.
  • Web mail (aka Outlook Web Access) - perhaps you can manage rule in the fancy version which Exchange serves to IE, but not with the browsers available on a Mac.

I manage this now by launching a VMWare virtual machine running Windows XP and Outlook. I don't count that as an easy way.

Update, post release of Office 2011

Does MS Outlook 2011 have the ability to manage server-side rules?

Update, post installation of Office 2011

No. Outlook 2011 doesn't have this ability.

I've already removed my account from Outlook and switched back to Apple Mail and iCal

Update, now on Outlook.com/Office365

Yes, yes, yes! Outlook 2011 (version 14.3.5) can do this. The web client for Office365 is also much better on mac browsers.

The short answer to my original question is: get your company to update to Office365!

  • Outlook 2010 on Winddows can make server-side rules, so I can't see why MS would have excluded that ability from Outlook 2011 on MacOSX.
    – paradroid
    Nov 9, 2010 at 20:39
  • And you can also do it via IE on Windows. That means that there's likely a simple API on the server side. There's no good reason why MS wouldn't put a UI within Mac Outlook to communicate with that same API. Nov 9, 2010 at 23:17
  • For what it's worth, I usually manipulate rules now by using CoRD to make a remote desktop connection to a windows machine and then connect to Outlook Web Access using IE. Mar 22, 2011 at 14:27
  • This should belong to apple.stackexchange.com - still there is no flag option for moving it to this SE site.
    – sorin
    Jun 27, 2011 at 8:22
  • 1
    @Sorin - additionally, when I asked the question, apple.stackexchange.com wasn't yet live. Jun 27, 2011 at 18:02

5 Answers 5


To the best of my knowledge, changing server-side rules from pure OSX is not possible. When our Mac users request this at work, we help them through setting up the rules in a full Outlook client. Microsoft hasn't exposed these APIs to non-MAPI clients, and as you've already discovered the non-IE OWA doesn't have this support either.

The IE OWA version can do rules (at least in Exchange 2007 and higher), but even that functionality is somewhat reduced. But Server-side rules (folder sorting and the like) are able to be created.

  • From what I have heard OWA from Exchange 2010 works on non-IE browsers just as well as IE (although I cannot confirm this, as I am still using Exchange 2007).
    – paradroid
    Nov 9, 2010 at 20:40
  • That is not the case paradroid. Mar 13, 2011 at 20:06

Since this question was first asked, Microsoft have released Office 2011 service pack 1.

The editing of server-side rules is supported in Outlook 2011 SP1 when used with Exchange 2010, SP1 (and later). See:


I can confirm that this works (I use this set-up at work).


With Exchange 2010 Outlook Web Mail works in Safari, Firefox and Chrome and will allow you to edit server-side rules from a Mac.


With Exchange 2010 OWA onwards, Server side rules can be added under Options > Mail > Automatic Processing > Inbox and Sweep Rules > Inbox rules


If you're like me and still looking, this is what their support page says for Mac: "Important: In the new Outlook for Mac (as of October 2020), only server rules are available, client rules are no longer supported."

EDIT What that means is that ALL RULES are SERVER-SIDE RULES, at least on the Mac.

This applies to: Outlook for Microsoft 365 for Mac Outlook 2021 for Mac Outlook 2019 for Mac Outlook 2016 for Mac Office for business Office 365 Small Business /EDIT

Source: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/create-a-rule-in-outlook-for-mac-c8fde328-de0d-4579-abc4-564cc8922f71

EDIT: In response to the feedback (which was more than fair!), clarified a bit.

  • 2
    Link only answer is useless. Can you elaborate on this a litle more?
    – Toto
    Sep 15, 2022 at 19:36
  • 1
    While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. Sep 15, 2022 at 19:43

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