Mail Filters

Mail filters are a set of conditions that you can set up that allow you to manage incoming and outgoing email messages. Filters automatically sort your messages according to the rules you set up.

To Get Started:

Recommended Filters: 


For more information about filters, see below.

You can filter your incoming (mail that comes in) email messages to:

  • Sort incoming messages into pre-set folders
  • Automatically tag messages
  • Forward messages
  • Mark the message as read or flagged
  • Discard messages

For example, you could design a filter 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 a folder.

You can filter your outgoing (mail that is Sent) messages to:

  • Sort messages that are saved in the Sent folder into other folders
  • Automatically tag messages
  • Forward messages
  • Mark the message as read or flagged
  • Discard messages

Filters need conditions

Each filter is a rule with one or more conditions and a destination.

  • condition is a:
    • Specific addresses in the From:, To:, or Cc: addresses in the email header
    • Words or character strings in the subject or body of the mail message
    • The presence or absence of file attachments
  • destination is the place you want the conditioned email to go.

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.

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 or does not contain an attachment.

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 = OR
  • All = 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.

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.

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.