Outlook, Office 365 and Rules – A Solution to the Rule Space Issue

I have posted before about the issue of Office 365 and the amount of space available for rules.  While I do not personally have an issue, I know others that do. These folks generally have a lot of rules. Of course, people who have a lot of rules are the very people who cannot afford space issues with their rules, they need them to work properly.

I just engaged in an email conversation with Ben Schorr of Roland Schorr & Tower about this issue. Ben literally wrote the book on Outlook for lawyers, so he knows what he is talking about.

First, Ben tells me that there is no hard coded limitation in the Outlook software itself. So if you run into issues with your rules in the Outlook 2010 software, it isn’t due to a space limitation with the software itself. It might be due to the exchange server or the exchange online service. Or it might be due to something else.

Second, Ben offers some advice on dealing with rules if you find yourself running out of space in Office 365.

  1. Keep the names of your rules short. I helped a colleague who has a lot of rules by just working my way through the alphabet.  So the first rule was named A, the second B and so on.  As I worked my way through the alphabet, the rules became AA, AB, and continuing on.
  2. Ben also recommended that if you have more than one rule sending something to the same folder, see if you can combine those rules. Remember, rules do not just have to do one thing. They can actually get quite complex.
  3. Also, consider whether you can combine some of your folders and subfolders to make more efficient use of both your email organization and your rules. Outlook has a robust search feature, so if you need to find something, you normally will be able to do so with a simple search, instead of creating numerous folders for everything.

I asked Ben if there might perhaps be an add-in that could help with the rule issue. He suggested that it might be wise to look into some filing/organization add-in such as Auto Mate. He pointed out that Outlook itself needs to be running to make these add-ins work. So, if you haven’t logged in to your desktop and you check your email on your tablet, your rules won’t yet have had a chance to act and the emails won’t be filtered. Once you log in to your computer, the add-in will go forward and organize everything for you, sending that organization back to the server.

Thank you Ben, for taking the time to correspond with me. I think an add-in like Auto Mate might well be the solution people with a lot of rules are seeking. The cost is $40-$80, depending on which option you choose and how many licenses you purchase. This seems to me a low cost for dealing with the frustration of having issues with your email organization.



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