Outlook Calendar Rules


Rules in Outlook 2013 are actions you set to run automatically. Rules generally apply to mail items, but there are a few options in the Rules Wizard that help manage meetings and invitations. One time-saving calendar automation tool filters meeting invitations out of your Inbox and into a specific folder. You can also set up Color Categories to organize messages by color and see your activity types at a glance.

Filter Meetings and Invitations With Mailbox Rules

  • One way to manage invites is to create a rule filtering this type of message into a separate folder. The File tab has a button called "Manage Rules & Alerts" in the Info subgroup. In the "Rules and Alerts" dialog box, click on the "New Rule..." button on the "Email Rules" tab and check the box next to "Apply Rule on Messages I Receive."

    Click "Next" and, in the new screen, check the box next to "Uses the Form Name Form" in the top section. In the Step 2 area, click on the underlined "Form Name" so the "Choose Forms" dialog box opens. From the top drop-down menu, choose "Application Forms" and then select "Accept Meeting Response." Click "Add" to push this to the "Selected Forms" area, then close the dialog box.

    The last step is to move the "Accept Meeting Response" to a desired location. Check the box next to "Move it to the Specified Folder." In the Step 2 area, Click the link to "Specified" to choose where to store invites so that future invites go to this folder rather than cluttering your Inbox.

    The Rules Wizard opens one last screen to specify exceptions, then you are prompted to name your new rule.

Set Up Color Categories

  • The "Categories" feature is usable all over Outlook. An easy place to set up Color Categories is from the Home tab in the Mail screen. In the Tags grouping, click on "Categorize" and choose "All Categories" from the drop down list.

    Although there are a few color categories defined, they are very generic. For example, "Red Category" or "Orange Category." Selecting a category and clicking the "Rename" button allows you to create more specific category names. Additionally, you can choose "New" and create many more categories.

    There are 25 default colors to pick from and the Categories are specific to your computer. If your team wants to use your color system, print up a list and hand it out so they can create the Color Categories on their own systems.

Use Color Categories to Organize Outlook

  • Use Color Categories for appointments and meetings to help visual people see the calendar at a glance. For example, categorizing vendor meetings in blue, meetings with the boss in red and training in orange shows you color-wise how you are spending your day.

    Color-code emails and tasks by right-clicking on an item and choosing "Categorize" from the shortcut menu. When you open any categorized Outlook item, you see a banner description in color at the top.

Drag and Drop Email to Create an Event

  • Create calendar items quickly by dragging emails and tasks over to "Calendar" on the Navigation Pane. A new appointment window will open based on the contents of the email or task. Simply set the date and time and invite people.

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