Setting up filter rules

Email filtering allows you to define rules to manage incoming and outgoing email messages.  Filters automatically sort your messages according to the rules you set up.

You can filter your incoming email messages to:

For example, you could define a filter rule to identify mail coming from your immediate supervisor and move it to a folder called "From My Boss" or to automatically move messages from a specific address to the Trash folder.

You can filter your outgoing messages to:

Filter conditions

Each filter is a rule with one or more conditions and a destination. Each filter rule can contain several conditions. For example, if your supervisor sends you emails from more than one address, such as or from, you can create one filter called "Supervisor" which has two conditions, one for each email address.

Conditions include:

All the conditions allow you to specify "not" as a negative condition. For example, you can specify mail that does not contain a particular word.

You can combine conditions to search for mail with more complex characteristics.

Any versus All

Conditions within a filter rule can be grouped using Any or All. The use of these terms is similar to the "AND" versus "OR" type searches described under the Search feature, with Any being OR and All being AND.

If you choose Any when defining conditions for a new filter rule, then a message that meets any one of the conditions is considered a match. However, if you choose All, every condition specified in that filter rule must apply in order for that message to match the filter.

Filter rule actions

Each filter rule can specify one or more actions. Actions include:

The Do not process additional filters  action should be the last action within each filter rule. This prevents the application of any additional filter rules to email messages that match the current rule.  If it is not specified, subsequent filter rules are evaluated for the mail message, even if the current filter is a match. You probably do not want to have the same message match more than one filter rule and undergo multiple, perhaps contradictory actions.

When filters are applied

Each incoming message is tested against your filter rules at the time that the mail is delivered and the filter actions are applied to matching messages at that time.

You can also run the filter rules over an existing set of mail items. In Mail Filter Preferences, the Run Filter button allows you to select multiple filters to run against selected mail folders.

Filter Order

The filters are applied in the order they are listed on Mail Filter Preferences. You can change that order.

Within each filter, the conditions are used to test each mail message. If the message meets the conditions collectively (using the Any or All designation as specified in the filter rule), it is considered a match. The order of the conditions within each filter is not important.

If the message matches the conditions, all actions associated with that filter rule are applied, in the order in which they appear in the filter.

Active versus: inactive filters

All filters currently defined are listed on the Options, Mail Filter page. The Active check box allows you to turn filters on or off without having to delete the filter rules.

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