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Play a custom New Mail sound for specific contacts

When I receive an email from a certain contact, can I get a different “New Email” sound than the default?

Play a custom New Mail sound for specific contactsYou can set a custom sound for a specific contact (or by a variety of any other specific message property) by using a rule.

  1. Open the Rules and Alerts wizard
    • Outlook 2007 and previous
      Tools-> Rules and Alerts…
    • Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013
      File->  Manage Rules and Alerts
  2. New Rule…
  3. In the section “Start from a blank rule” choose;
    Check messages when they arrive
  4. In the next screen you can select the conditions.
    In our case we select “from people or distribution list”
  5. In the bottom screen, click “people or distribution list” to select the address(es) from your Address Book.
  6. Click Next to go to the Actions screen
  7. Here select “play a sound”
  8. In the bottom screen click “a sound” to select a sound file from your hard drive
    (note that you should use a wav-file for this)
  9. Click next to advance to the next screen to set any exceptions when needed.
  10. Once you’ve done that (or don’t need that), click Next to give the rule a name.
  11. Click Finish and then OK to close the open windows.

Note: You can of course make some variations with this rule. For instance, you can opt to only hear a sound for people who are in your Contacts folder and disable the default sound in Outlook altogether. For this use the condition “sender is in specified Address Book”.

Double sounds

When a new message arrives, you could now hear a double sound; the default Outlook sound and the one we just configured to play via a rule.

You can work around this by disabling the default sound in Outlook and instead create an extra “play a sound” rule with the default sound (“Windows Notify.wav”).
You then add the condition “stop processing rules” action to the rule we created for the specific contact and sort the rules in such a way that the rule for the specific contact is listed above the one for playing the generic sound.

To disable the default email sound in Outlook go to;

  • Outlook 2007 and previous
    Tools-> Options…-> E-mail Options…-> Advanced E-mail Options…-> section: When new items arrive in my Inbox-> option: Play a sound
  • Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013
    File-> Options-> section: Mail-> option group: Message arrival-> option: Play a sound


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