I have struggled for years to get Outlook to manage my mail. I have evaluated so many Outlook plugins and addons, and even wrote complicated VB code to try and get it to do what I want, and still don't have the right solution. I am hoping somone can advise on a solution (e.g. addon or combination ) which will allow me to do the following:

At the simplest level, I want to be able to define rules that say that emails to or from particular contacts get automatically filed in defined folders. To me this seems really basic and logical, however I can't find anything that does this, in a simple way.

e.g. The inbult Outlook rules system doesn't really allow you to define a rule for mail "to or from" a contact. So I would have to create 2 rules manually for every contact. Even if it was 1 rule, that is still ridiculous management.

I would like to be able to define the rules for a group of contacts. e.g. Friends. Then any emails involving (to/from) a friend, is moved to the "Friends" folder.

The "group of contacts" is a logical concept...I don't care whether this is done with Outlook Categories, Outlook 2010 Contact Groups, Contact folders, or some other kind of grouping or tagging structure.

Does anybody know of a system/addon/solution which will allow me to use Outlook in this way?

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  • I suspect I am looking for a VBA soution, or an Outlook addin/system that is designed to organise email this way. – Nicholas Feb 6 '11 at 0:08
  • Very good question. Microsoft can not implement even the most basic stuff. – ceving Oct 25 '16 at 8:38

Make a distribution list in your contacts and then apply the rule in step one to "from people or distribution list" and choose the distribution list you created.

To create a new distribution list open your contacts and hit ctrl+shift+L, then click select members to add people from your contact list, or add new to add people who aren't in your contact list.

You'll need to create an ingoing and outgoing rule (if you do want your sent items organised the same way) but at least you can administer the rule by groups of contacts rather than a unique rule for each contact.

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  • 1
    Interesting...however the problems with distribution lists for this purpose are 1) they don't really capture contacts, but the email addresses that are in the contact when you add it. So if the contact changes or adds email addresses later, the distribution list is not updated 2) 2 rules for each list 3) not good for managing contacts into groups...you can't see the distribution list as part of the contacts view to see how they are organised well. – Nicholas Feb 6 '11 at 0:04

There is an easier method than creating a distribution list then building rules around it. When you get an email from that group click on that email go to create rules based on email. In there you can tell it to send all email from that group to go to a folder.

This was done in Outlook 2010.

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  • If you do it for one or two years you will end with the error message, that the rules can not be stored on the Exchange server, because the list is too long. – ceving Oct 25 '16 at 8:37

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