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How to Fix Outlook Rules Not Working Issue - Troubleshooting Tips

One of the most widely used email programs by people and companies worldwide is Microsoft Outlook. Users can control all of their emails, calendars, tasks, and contacts from one location. Using rules to automate tasks is one of Outlook's most potent capabilities. Rules in Outlook allow users to automate various actions such as moving emails to specific folders, flagging messages, and forwarding emails to others. However, sometimes Outlook rules may stop working, which can be frustrating for users. In this article, we'll look at a few potential causes of Outlook rules failing as well as solutions.

1-Check if the rules are enabled

One of the most common reasons why Outlook rules may not be working is that they are disabled. To check if the rules are enabled, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Home tab in Outlook

  • Select Rules, and then select Manage Rules & Alerts

  • Check if the rule you want to use is enabled. If not, select the rule and click the checkbox next to “Turn on this rule”.

2-Verify the rule settings

Another reason why Outlook rules may not be working is due to incorrect rule settings. To verify the rule settings, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Home tab in Outlook

  • Select Rules, and then select Manage Rules & Alerts

  • Click the Edit button after choosing the rule you want to use.

  • Review the rule settings to ensure that they match the criteria you want to apply. If not, make the necessary changes and save the rule.

3-Check if the folder location is correct

Outlook rules may also not work if the folder location where the rule is supposed to move the emails is incorrect. To check the folder location, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Home tab in Outlook

  • Select Rules, and then select Manage Rules & Alerts

  • Choose the rule you want to employ, then click Modify.

  • Check the “Move the item to folder” option and ensure that the folder location is correct. If not, update the folder location and save the rule.

4-Clean up mailbox

Sometimes, a cluttered mailbox can cause issues with Outlook rules. You can try cleaning up your mailbox by deleting unnecessary emails and other items. This can help free up space and resources, which may help Outlook rules work more efficiently.

5-Restart Outlook

Restarting Outlook can also help fix issues with Outlook rules. To restart Outlook, close the program and then reopen it. Check to determine if the rule still functions when it is opened.

6-Repair Outlook

If none of the above steps work, you may need to repair Outlook to fix the issue. Follow these steps to accomplish this:

  • Go to Control Panel on your computer.

  • Select Programs and Features

  • Locate Microsoft Office in the list of installed programs and select Change

  • Select the Repair option and follow the on-screen instructions to repair Outlook


Outlook rules can be a powerful tool for automating various tasks in Outlook. However, if they stop working, it can be frustrating for users. By following the above steps, users can troubleshoot issues with Outlook rules and get them working again. Users may need to get more help from Microsoft support if the issue continues.

Here are a few additional tips to consider when troubleshooting issues with Outlook rules:

7-Check for conflicting rules

Sometimes, Outlook rules may not work due to conflicting rules. To check for conflicting rules, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Home tab in Outlook

  • Select Rules, and then select Manage Rules & Alerts

  • Examine any potential conflicts between the rule you intend to use and any other rules. If you find any, disable or delete them and try using the rule again.

8-Check for updates

Outdated versions of Outlook may have issues with rules. Check for updates and install them if available. Follow these steps to accomplish this:

  • Open Outlook and select the File tab.

  • Select Office Account, and then select Update Options

  • After choosing Update Now, wait for the procedure to be finished.

9-Use a simpler rule

Sometimes, complex rules may not work as expected. Try using a simpler rule to see if it works. If it does, gradually add complexity to the rule until you achieve the desired functionality.

10-Disable add-ins

Third-party add-ins may interfere with Outlook rules. Disable any add-ins you have installed and try using the rule again.

In summary, Outlook rules not working can be frustrating, but it is a problem that can be fixed. By following the above tips, you can troubleshoot and resolve issues with Outlook rules. Remember to check if the rules are enabled, verify the rule settings, check the folder location, clean up your mailbox, restart Outlook, repair Outlook, check for conflicting rules, check for updates, use a simpler rule, and disable add-ins if necessary.

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