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How to Set Client and Server Side Rules in MS Outlook

Updated on August 10, 2015

Rules and Regulations are meant to maintain a steadiness in life. Similarly, when it comes to ensure smooth functionality of an application, certain rules are set that helps in managing the database.

Microsoft Outlook, a desktop mail client is known for its efficient emailing facilities. It holds on the capacity of storing large amount of database. But, for better accessibility of the data, the entire database has to be managed accordingly. And for that, there are some rules that can be set at the client or the server end for easy receiving or accessing of emails.

Now, if the rule set will work on server or client side depend upon the condition and the exceptions that are defined for a course of action/message. If the defined rule has to be implemented by MS Outlook, then it is considered as client-side rule. If the condition set for an incoming or outgoing message is set a specific Outlook configuration, then the must have condition is “On this machine only”.

Lets’ make the explanation simple and understand the concept of client and server end rule through an example.

1) Server-Side

The rule is: From <people or distribution list>, move to <specific folder>. In this case, the email will be moved to the Exchange Server mailbox and the name/address of the sender will be in the Global Address List or the contacts folder. In this case, the rule will be considered running at the server-side because the information used is on the Exchange Server.

2) Client-Side

The rule is: From <people or distribution list> download the message with <play sound>. In this case, when the message is downloaded at the client machine for a specific user, a sound will be played that generally helps to distinguish the user or alert the user that email from specific user is received. Here, the rule is handled by MS Outlook only and thus it is a client-side rule.

3) On this machine only

The rule is: From <People or distribution list> move the message to <specified folder>. The condition might seem similar to that of the server-side example shared above. In this case, the folder into which the mail has to be moved is in the PST file instead of Exchange Server mailbox. Also, the rule is marked with “on this machine” only attribute which indicates that emails will be downloaded to the PST file on machine and on no other computer system.

How to Set Rule in MS Outlook 2013?

  • In the menu bar, select “Rules” and drop down to “Create Rule…

  • A window will pop up with the option “New Rule”. Select it to create a new rule in MS Outlook.

  • The Rules wizard will get opened that will contain a list of all conditions and exceptions that can be set on messages. Make a selection of rules and folders and once this is done, run the rule so that if conditions are fulfilled, the set list of regulations are followed for mails received before.

Points to Remember:

  • If the account is configured with POP and IMAP access, then it will always be client-side rule.
  • You have the right to edit or delete the rule as per future preferences. Condition and exceptions can be added.

If the Outlook Hotmail Connector account is used, it is recommended to go for Outlook 2010 or later edition.


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