Tip

Expand Microsoft Outlook email rules with the Auto-Mate add-on tool

Microsoft Outlook email rules are quite robust, but they have a few limitations. Auto-Mate is a third-party add-on tool

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that creates additional mail rules, expanding on Microsoft Outlook's sometimes restrictive email rule functionality. The tool runs on Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2007.

One limitation with Microsoft Outlook's email rules, for example, is that you can't automatically apply message rules arbitrarily, such as email received one hour from now or any received yesterday. Additionally, rules will only run when a message arrives, or after one is sent.

More Microsoft Outlook email resources:
The Microsoft Outlook Toolbox

Improve your Microsoft Outlook email folder file system

Setting age and size limits on users' Deleted items folder

DirectXchange: How to send large email attachments without breaking message-size limits

Sometimes it's possible to circumvent these issues by using the AutoArchive function, but that also only allows you to perform a limited set of functions on a predetermined schedule.

All Auto-Mate rules work in conjunction with Microsoft Outlook's rules and without interfering with them. This means that you don't have to completely replace an existing Outlook rule set with an Auto-Mate rule set for it to operate.

Rules can be tested before they run, so you'll know how they'll affect messages without having to test them in your Inbox. Mail rules can also be prioritized, which allows one rule to override another, if needed.

Auto-Mate can also create rules to:

 

  • Delete email automatically after it has been read, if it meets certain criteria.

     

  • Automatically file read email into a folder determined by the header or message contents.

     

  • Forward emails to a mobile device automatically.

     

  • Strip attachments that are larger than a specified size, or automatically export them to a folder.

     

  • Export whole messages to a specific folder, in various formats (plain text, rich text format or HTML), and delete them from Outlook.

     

  • Run rules based on the age of a message.

     

  • Enable Inbox Snooze, which temporarily removes a message from an Inbox, and then allows it to automatically return after a specified amount of time. This feature is useful if you must keep messages in your Inbox as a reminder to attend to them later.

A free 30-day trial of Auto-Mate is available. After the trial period, the tool will continue to run on your system, but will ask for user registration periodically. Some features, such as Inbox Snooze, are only available in Auto-Mate Pro. Auto-Mate costs U.S. $39.99; volume discounts are available. Auto-Mate Pro costs U.S. $79.99 per seat.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.

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This was first published in December 2007

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