Play a custom New Mail sound for specific contacts

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

Special Sound for Contact button

You 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, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
      File->  Manage Rules & Alerts
  2. Press the New Rule… button and start with a blank rule:
    • Outlook 2003
      Start from a blank rule
    • Outlook 2007
      Check messages when they arrive
    • Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
      Apply rule on messages I receive
  3. In the next screen you can select the conditions.
    In our case we select: from people or public group.
  4. In the bottom section, click “people or public group” to select the address(es) from your Address Book.
  5. Click Next to go to the Actions screen.
  6. Select the action: play a sound.
  7. In the bottom section click “a sound” to select a sound file from your computer.
    • Note that you should use a wav-file for this.
  8. Click next to advance to the next screen to set any exceptions when needed.
  9. Once you’ve done that (or skipped that), click Next to give the rule a name.
  10. Click Finish and then OK to close the open windows.

Via the “Play a Sound” rule action, you can hear who is emailing you.
Via the “Play a Sound” rule action, you can hear who is emailing you.

Note: You can of course make many 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 (see below). For this you must use the condition “sender is in specified Address Book”.

Double New Mail Sound

Double New Mail Sound buttonWhen 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 Windows Notify Email.wav sound.

Additionally, 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, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
    File-> Options-> section: Mail-> option group: Message arrival-> option: Play a sound
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