Using Outlook 2010 with a corporate Exchange Server.

The rule I want to create is this:

After rule arrives from [email protected] and with Passed in the subject Move it to the SuccessBuilds folder and mark it Read.

When I did that, the Outlook marked the rule as Client-Side. So I removed the part about marking it Read and it became a server side rule.

So I thought, ok, maybe marking an email as read is a client-side only activity. So I sent myself an email, closed Outlook, opened the email on my iPhone (thus marking it read). Then I opened the Outlook again and the email was already marked read. So clearly marking emails read can be a server-side activity.

So why is my rule being shoved client-side?

  • "opening the email on my [your] iPhone" may be a client-side activity. iPhone is a client. It is not the Windows Outlook client, but it is a client nonetheless.
    – Krazy Glew
    Nov 12, 2015 at 16:13
  • 6
    I think what the poster is saying is that the server does know the "read status" of a message, so the server should be able to mark a message as read without a client telling it to do so.
    – mattgately
    Mar 21, 2016 at 13:55
  • No answer so far explains how to change a client-side rule to be a server-side rule. Is this not possible? This would be much easier than re-creating all my client-side rules on the server.
    – dinosaur
    Jun 30, 2016 at 21:08
  • Microsoft provides a listing of what actions make a rule Client side: support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/… Dec 27, 2022 at 14:24

4 Answers 4


Does your MS-Exchange server provide web-based access to your eMail? If so, try logging into that and creating the rule there (and then it will have to be server-side).

  • 7
    This works but keep in mind that if you create a server side rule in Outlook Web Access (OWA) then you will no longer be able to edit it in Outlook.
    – Pete
    Jun 27, 2016 at 16:12
  • 4
    Also when you edit a rule in OWA and add the action mark message as read the rule becomes visible only in OWA and it's removed from Outlook
    – Ionut
    Jul 15, 2016 at 19:09
  • 1
    @Pete: note that this is true only if the rule is incompatible with the desktop app. A simple "move" or "copy" rule is fine and would still show up. It's when you add the "mark as read" action that it won't be visible. Mar 19, 2020 at 19:04

If you have the destination folder in Personal Folders, it would be in your pst file(located in PC) and the rule will become client-only. But if you place the destination folder in inbox, the folder will be in your Exchange and the server will process your rules.


Being marked as "read" is a client side action not a server action. When you opened the message on your phone it (the client) read it and then told the server to mark it as read.

  • 13
    that is not true, Server side rule can mark as read
    – Tilo
    May 23, 2014 at 17:09
  • This worked for me - toggling "mark it as as read" on rules directly affected if the rule was "client-only".
    – ti7
    Apr 29, 2020 at 14:48

You can using the outlook web app, set up a rule that will mark the mail as read, and it will work as if it truly was server-side. Anyways, it never pops up as unread in my iphone, even if I don't have the web app or outlook open.

  • 7
    you are basically saying the same thing as @Randolf two years later without adding any new information.
    – mattgately
    Mar 21, 2016 at 14:25

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