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Using AND operators in rules

Is there a way to create a rule that looks for certain words in the message body and only if it finds all these words in the message it will apply a certain action?

Right now, when using the “with specific words” condition it behaves like an OR operatator.

If these words are always next to each other, then you can simply add that single phrase to the “specific words” list.

If these words are not always next to each other, then there is no way in Outlook to do this with a single rule but you can achieve this by creating 2 (or more, depending on the amount of words that you want to check on) rules.

Workaround via Categories

The workaround makes use of assigning a category if the first word is found and have a second rule look for another word and the category assigned by the first rule. The second rule can then perform the action if both words are found or add yet another category if you want to check for a 3rd word.

First rule

This example will look for the words “food” and “evening” and only when it finds both words will the message be moved to the “dinner” folder.

  1. Open the Rules and Alerts dialog;
    • Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007
      Tools-> Rules and Alerts…
    • Outlook 2010
      File-> Manage Rules & Alerts
  2. Press the New Rule… button.
  3. Start with a blank rule;
    • Outlook 2003
      Select the option “Start from a blank rule” and then select “Check messages when they arrive” and press the Next button.
    • Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010
      Select: “Check messages when they arrive” and press the Next button.
  4. Select “with specific words in the body”.
  5. Click the “specific words” link at the bottom to open the “Search Text” dialog.
  6. Here type; food
  7. Press the Add button and OK.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Select: “assign it to the category category”.
  10. Click the “category” link at the bottom to open the Categories dialog.
  11. Here we will create a unique category for the rule to be used. I recommend that you name it something that starts with “Rule” to indicate where you used it for and then add the name of the rule such as “Dinner – search word food” so the entire category would be named;
    Rule – Dinner – search word food
    • Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010
      Click New… to name the category and assign it a different color if you want.
    • Outlook 2003
      Type the category name and press the Add to List button.
  12. Click OK to close the Categories dialog.
  13. Click Next and then Next again to go to the dialog where you can name the rule.
  14. Name the rule “Dinner – search word food” as indicated above and click Finish.

The entire rule will read like this;

Apply this rule after the message arrives
   with food in the body
   assign it to the Rule – Dinner – search word food category

Second rule

Now we have created the rule that looks for the first word. You can create additional rules if you are looking for more than 3 words. Make sure you add the condition “assigned to the category category” after step 6 as well and set it to look for any previous categories assigned by the rules. In our example that would be;
“Rule – Dinner – search word food”

When you only have 1 search word left, then create the following rule;

  1. Repeat steps 1 to 6 as indicated above and specify your last search word.
    In our example that would be “evening”.
    You are now still in the “Select condition(s)” part of the rule creation wizard.
  2. Select the condition “assigned to the category category”.
  3. Click the “category” link at the bottom to open the Categories dialog.
  4. Here select all the categories that you have previously assigned by the rules looking for words.
    In our example we have them prefixed with “Rule – Dinner” so the selection process should be easy.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Select: “move it to the specified folder”.
  7. Click the “specified” link at the bottom to select the “Dinner” folder.
  8. Click Next and then Next again to go to the dialog where you can name the rule.
  9. Name the rule “Dinner – search word evening (last)” and click Finish.

The entire rule will read like this;

Apply this rule after the message arrives
   with evening in the body
      and assigned to the Rule – Dinner – search word food category
   move it to the Dinner folder

Note: The “specific words” condition looks for text strings. This means that if your search word is part of another word then it will see it as a match as well. In our example, the word “evenings” would also be seen as a match as it contains the word “evening”.



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