A rule to move messages from Inbox to folders only AFTER being read

Posted on 2001-07-11
Last Modified: 2008-03-10
I am currently using Outlook 2000 (not Outlook Express) so the answer should apply to that version of Outlook.

I have an extensive structure of Personal Folders, into which I move messages after reading them. I save most of the messages I receive in the Personal Folders for later reference. After reading them, I mark some messages as unread as a reminder to take some action, when I have time, based on the message.

The problem is that I often don't have time to move the messages I have read (and not re-marked as unread) from my Inbox to the Personal Folders so these tend to  pile up in my Inbox. After a few weeks there are so many that I can't keep up with them.

I have looked in the Rules Wizard for a rule to move messages to a certain folder based on sender, but the rule takes effect the instant the message arrives in the Inbox. This is not acceptable because I need to be able to read the messages in my Inbox before they are moved. The ideal rule would allow me to specify to move only messages that have been read and only after some specifiable period of time, like 2 days, for example. The interval is necessary because otherwise the message would move as soon as it was marked as read, and this would not allow me to keep some in the Inbox and marked as unread for the purpose explained above.

Obviously, this is a shot in the dark but I figure it is the best way to find out if such a thing exists. Of course I will consider all answers, but am looking for a simple answer, which would not be any more complicated than the regular Outlook Rule Wizard, which already is tedious enough, in my opinion.

Question by:donander
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 6274663
Post a 0 pointer in with the _url_ of this question and give it a catchy title, such as '200 pts for move msg _after_ read' or similiar, to attract the Outlook experts.

Author Comment

ID: 6274714

Thanks for the suggestion. I guess the Network World version of EE doesn't have the Outlook section.


Expert Comment

ID: 6274882
The rules wizard does not have the ability to "run on mesages that are x days old".  There are a couple of options.  You can create a rule that does what you want and then just not turn it on.  When you want to move messages, you can go to Tools, Rules Wizard and select the Run Now option for that rule.

You can also set up some sort of Exchange Event script that would be able to tell if messages were x days old, but I do not believe that it would be able to move them to personal folders as the script runs on the server.  

I hope that helps a little bit.  Post back if you have more questions.
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Author Comment

ID: 6274934
This seems promising but I think there are couple of things that would make it less than ideal as a solution.

1. This rule would need to cover messages from 30 to 40 recipients or so. From tests that I have done it appears that one needs to make a separate rule for each sender/destination folder pair. Making the rules is not a problem because you only need to do this once for each sender. However, it appears that only one rule can be run at a time with the Run Now button. While it would probably be a little faster than manually moving them as I do now, that would still take too much time to run over 30 rules individually withe the Run Now button.

2. It doesn't appear that there is a way to configure a rule to act ONLY on messages that are marked as read and not act on messages that are unread.

Expert Comment

ID: 6274995
1.  You should be able to check a number of rules to run now.  

2.  You are correct...there is no way to configure a rule to act ONLY on read messages.  

Author Comment

ID: 6275130
1. Yes, you can check multiple rules. I did not notice this. Of course with over 30, it would be tedious but getting ever closer to the goal. I tried using the space key to check them and the down arrow to move to the next and this works so I could check all the boxes pretty quickly. Too bad there isn't a Select All button.

2. Turns out I'm not correct, or maybe I am correct technically, but check this out. On the Run Rules Now dialog, there is an "Apply Rules To:" drop-down box, with three choices, All Messages, Unread Messages and Read Messages. I did a test, choosing Read Messages and only the read message was moved.

I'm going to leave this open for another day or so to see if anyone has some left field answer like "there is an add-in that will do exactly what you want" but if not, will accept your comment as the answer.



Expert Comment

ID: 6275179
2.  Great!  I never noticed that before.  That will come in handy.  
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 6275737
1) everything you want can be achived using some VBA code.
   if you want to walk this way I can assist.
2) even though this might not relate directly to your request I would suggest that you use a "Follow Up" flag to mark massages for followup instead of marking them as unread again. this will allow you to set a time for a reminder on that message (as long as its flaged with a date and left in the inbox).

LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:theo kouwenhoven
ID: 6276102
I think you have to look the tool "ExLife" this tool can handle rules that are not standard available in outlook such as :

incoming messages (inbox assistant)
outgoing messages (outbox assistant)
read messages (action is fired when unread message is read) - doesn't work with MS Outlook 98
created messages in folders (online folder assistant)
messages in selected folder (offline folder assistant)

You can fid the download and info at:

Good luck.

Accepted Solution

Beluga earned 200 total points
ID: 6278009
Take a look at NextWorld MailAgent, which is designed specifically for moving items into different folders based on sender/content and read/unread status.

Author Comment

ID: 6279340
I checked out ExLife but MailAgent has 95% of the functionality I was looking for. The big advantage of it over the Outlook rules wizard is that you don't have to check every rule you want to run before doing a manual run of the rules. It doesn't have some of the other conditional choices that the Outlook rules wizard has but in this case I don't need them anyway. It's a good thing Beluga included the URL to the exact page of MailAgent because the author is not advertising it on his web page. I want to thank all the other experts who helped with suggestions also.


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