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Highlight/sort meeting receipts which contain text

I would like to create a rule that will allow me to filter all of the meeting receipts where people have typed in a message to me.

This is to prevent me from reviewing the meeting receipts that don’t have any verbiage contained in the body.

I see where I can look for specific words, but don’t know how to examine for the presence of text.

How can I filter out these empty responses?

Although you can sort out these meeting receipts via a “reverse rule”, it is not recommended to do so as it could break the automatic processing of the responses.

A better way to go would be to create a Conditional Formatting rule which highlights the responses which contain text.

Additional methods are available if you still prefer to move the empty meeting receipts or want to de-emphasize them via a strikeout and/or grey font instead of highlighting the ones which contain text.

By using Conditional Formatting, you can see who left additional instructions in their meeting responds.
By using Conditional Formatting, you can see
who left additional instructions in their response.

Method 1: Creating a Conditional Formatting rule

With Conditional Formatting, which is called Automatic Formatting when you are using Outlook 2007 or previous, allows you to highlight meeting responses which contain text for instance in blue.

  1. Open the Automatic Formatting dialog;
    • Outlook 2007 and previous
      View-> Arrange By-> Custom…-> button Automatic Formatting…
    • Outlook 2010
      tab View-> View Settings-> button Conditional Formatting…
  2. Press the Add button and name the rule.
    For instance; Meeting receipt with text
  3. Press the Font… button to set the highlighting options of your choice.
    For instance, set the color to Blue.
  4. Press the Condition… button and select the Advanced tab.
  5. Type the following condition;
    • Field: Message Class
    • Condition: contains
    • Value: IPM.Schedule.Meeting.Resp
  6. Press the “Add to List” button.
  7. Type the following additional condition;
    • Field: Message
    • Condition: contains
    • Value: a, e, i, o, u, y
  8. Press the “Add to List” button.
  9. Press OK until all dialogs are closed and you’re returned to the Inbox.

Note: Sadly, the condition “is empty” and “is not empty” doesn’t work reliably for the Message field which is why we’re checking for vowels instead which are used in basically any comprehensible reply.

Conditional Formatting - This condition finds all the meeting receipts which contain text.
This condition finds all the meeting receipts which contain text.

Method 2: Creating a “reverse rule” to move empty meeting responses

If you still prefer to move the empty meeting receipts to a different folder, you can do so by creating the following rule;

Rule type:
Action 1:
Action 2:

Apply this rule after the message arrives
Which is a meeting invitation or update
move it to the specified folder
stop processing more rules
except if the body contains ’a’ or ‘e’ or ‘i’ or ‘o’ or ‘u’
(note that you’ll have to press “Add” after each letter entered)

Alternative condition
As an alternative, you can use the condition “uses the form name form”. Then click on the “form name” link in the bottom half of the dialog and set the “Choose Forms” dropdown list to “Application Forms”. Here you can now specify which type of forms the rule should apply to, such as;

  • Accept Meeting Response
  • Decline Meeting Response
  • Tentative Meeting Response

Choose Forms - Select specific forms for the rule to act on.
You can have the rule apply to only specific meeting response forms as well.

Method 3: Strikeout empty meeting responses

If you want to leave the meeting receipts in your Inbox folder but strikeout empty meeting responses instead, you can use a combination of the above rule and an Conditional Formatting rule to achieve this.

This little workaround is needed because of the fact that the “is empty” and “is not empty” condition do not work reliably for the Message field.

  1. Create a rule as indicated above but instead of use the action “Move to a specified folder”, use the action; “Assign it to the category category”.
  2. Create the category “Empty meeting receipt” and select that category for step 1.
  3. Now create an Conditional Formatting rule and select the “Empty meeting receipt” category on the “More Choices” tab.
  4. Set the strikeout font or any other font settings which you like to de-emphasize the message.

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