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Creating rules with NOT conditions

I’ve looked through all the rules in Outlook but it appears I can only apply them to messages which meet a certain condition. What I’m looking for is to create a rule when a certain condition is NOT met.

For instance, all emails which are marked as high importance but that are not coming from our escalation tool should be marked as normal importance (and I’ll assign it a category instead to indicate that the customer deemed it important).

I can set the condition “from people or public group” with ease but how do I set the condition “NOT from people or public group”?

In Outlook, “NOT” rules need to be set up as exceptions. This sometimes requires you to think differently about the rule or basically “reverse” it.

Conditions-> Actions-> Exceptions

Within the Rules Wizard, these exceptions can be set after you set the conditions and the actions.

For the above example, turning the “NOT” rule into an “exception” rule would result in the following:

  • Apply this rule after the message arrives
  • marked as high importance
  • mark it as normal importance
  • except if from people or public group

In the action section, you can add the additional action to assign it to a specific category as well or any additional action which you want to apply.

Rules with NOT conditions need to be set up as rules with exceptions.
Rules with NOT conditions need to be set up as rules with exceptions.

Another example: NOT sent only to me

Another popular request is to move all messages which are “NOT sent only to me”. For instance, to weed out mass emails or emails sent to distribution lists.

This rule might seem tricky at first since it doesn’t have any conditions. The solution is easy; don’t set any but just click Next when you get to the condition step.

The Rules Wizard will give you a warning that it will apply this rule to all messages and you can continue to set an action and exception to not actually have it apply to all emails.

So in this case the rule becomes:

  • Apply this rule after the message arrives
  • <don’t set any condition>
  • move it to the specified folder
  • except if sent only to me

This rule will be applied to every message you receive. Is this correct?
The warning isn’t correct when you also define exceptions for the rule.



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