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Automatically Forward Emails in Outlook

2020-10-10

In this post you’ll learn how you can automatically forward emails from your Outlook email account to any other email address.

This might be handy if you’re going on vacation and want to forward all your work emails to a colleague so nothing gets missed in your absence, or you might just want to send them all to your own personal email address.

Setup Auto Forward in Outlook Desktop

If you’re using the Outlook desktop app for Windows, then you can easily set up a new rule to forward your emails.

Create a New Rule in Outlook Desktop

Go to the File tab and select Manage Rules & Alerts from the File menu area.

Select New Rules from the Rules and Alerts Menu.

Select Apply rule on messages I receive found under the Start from a blank rule section in the Rules Wizard. Then click on the Next button.

The next step in the Rules Wizard will allow you to select conditions that emails must meet in order to be acted on.

For example, you could set up your forwarding rule to only forward emails that weren’t sent to anyone else by selecting the sent only to me option. Selecting a condition is optional and if you don’t select any then all emails will be acted on by the rule.

Click Next after selecting any conditions.

If no conditions were selected in the previous step, then warning message will pop up and ask you if you want to apply the rule to every message you receive. Press the Yes button to continue.

Now you need to select what happens for the messages which the rule is applied to.

  1. To forward the message, select forward it to people or public groups from the options.
  2. Now you need to select who to forward the messages to. You can do this by clicking on the people of public group hyperlink that will appear in the Step 2 section of the dialog box.

This will open up the Rule Address dialog box where you can select the email address to send the forwarding emails to.

You can select email addresses or groups from your address book, or input individual emails separated by a semi colon at the bottom. When finished press the OK button.

This will bring you back to the Rules Wizard screen with Step 2 completed as seen above. You can now press the Next button.

The next screen will allow you to select any exceptions to the rules which you may want. For example, you might want to exclude emails where you’re only CC’ed because the email is already sent to someone else.

To forward all emails, don’t select any exceptions from the list.

When finished with your exception selection press the Next button.

Now you can finish the rule setup.

  1. Give the rule a name. It’s best to name it with a short descriptive name so you’ll remember what it does.
  2. Make sure the Turn on this rule option is selected to activate the rule. Optionally, you can also select the Run this rule now on messages already in the “inbox”, if you want to forward all emails currently in your inbox.
  3. Press the Finish button.

You should now see your new rule listed in the Rules and Alerts dialog box. Press the Apply button then press the OK button to close the dialog box.

That’s it! Your forwarding rule is now active and any new email messages you receive will automatically be forwarded for you.

Deactivate a Rule in Outlook Desktop

If you’ve already setup a forwarding rule and you want to disable it temporarily, then this can easily be done.

Go to the File tab and select Manage Rules & Alerts from the File menu area.

Uncheck the box next to the rule you want to deactivate ➜ then press the Apply button ➜ then press the OK button.

By temporarily disabling the rule, you’ll be able to use it again later without the need to recreate it.

Delete a Rule in Outlook Desktop

If you find you don’t need to use a rule anymore and want to clean up your rule list, you can delete it.

Go to the File tab and select Manage Rules & Alerts from the File menu area.

Select the rule to delete ➜ then press the Delete button.

You then need to press Yes to confirm you want to delete the rule.

Press the Apply button then press the OK button to close the Rules and Alerts menu.

Setup Auto Forward Rule in Outlook Web

You can also set up a rule in Outlook on the web. Don’t worry though, you don’t need to set the same rule up in both!

Rules you create in desktop will appear in the web version and vise versa.

Create a New Rule in Outlook Web

You will need to open the Outlook settings to create a new rule.

  1. Click on the settings gear icon. This will open a setting side window pane which contains some common settings.
  2. Click on the View all Outlook settings link at the bottom.

This will open up the Outlook Web settings menu.

  1. Go to the Rules section of the settings.
  2. Click on Add new rule.

This will open up the Rules dialog box which will allow you to create a new rule.

  1. Give your new rule a name like “Forward my emails”.
  2. Select Apply to all messages in the Add a condition dropdown to forward all your emails. Alternatively, you can select various multiple conditions to limit what emails are forwarded by this rule.
  3. Select Forward to in the Add an action dropdown then select an email address from your contacts or type in a new email address and select the Use this address option.
  4. Add an exception if needed to limit what emails are forwarded.
  5. Press the Save button.

That it, you’ve now setup your rule in Outlook online.

Deactivate a Rule in Outlook Web

Click on the settings gear icon ➜ then click on the View all Outlook settings link at the bottom ➜ then go to the Rules section.

Use the toggle switch to temporarily turn off a rule.

Delete a Rule in Outlook Web

Click on the settings gear icon ➜ then click on the View all Outlook settings link at the bottom ➜ then go to the Rules section.

Click on the trash can icon for the rule you want to delete then press the OK button to confirm.

Conclusions

That’s everything you ever needed to know about creating, disabling or deleting forwarding rules for Outlook.

You should now be able to easily set these rules up in either the Outlook desktop app or Outlook web.

I think the Outlook online interface is easier and more intuitive to use so I set up all my rules there. Which one are you using?

About the Author

John MacDougall

John MacDougall

John is a Microsoft MVP and freelance consultant and trainer specializing in Excel, Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps and SharePoint. You can find other interesting articles from John on his blog or YouTube channel.

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