Automatically forward mail from Outlook

Many e-mail services make it quite simple to have messages forwarded automatically, but Outlook requires a few extra steps. Once you know how to forward messages, however, the possibilities are endless.

Sometimes you want to receive messages at a different e-mail address, for example if you do not like the webmail from your work or school or if you have different e-mail addresses and want everything to arrive on one account. Here’s how to do that.

For this step-by-step plan we will use the program version of Microsoft Outlook 2016 in Windows 10. Other versions will likely work the same, but a single term may have a different name.


As simple as forwarding messages in, for example, Gmail or Windows Live Mail, it is in Outlook certainly not. With online services you can often tick forwarding in your settings and enter the relevant e-mail address. Outlook has a slightly stricter policy, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, if you feel at home with it, the possibilities are endless.

Instead of a simple tick, however, we have to work with so-called ‘rules’. These are kind of step-by-step plans with which you Outlook can tell exactly which pre-programmed tasks it should perform. There is also such a rule for forwarding e-mail.

Create rule

Open first Outlook. At the top, in ribbon at the bottom Start, is the cup Rules. Click on it, then click Manage rules and alerts. The Rules window will now open. Click at the top left New rule to set up forwarding.

It may be differently named or in a different place in other Outlook versions, but the purpose is the same.

Click under the heading Start with a template or a blank line on Apply rule to messages I receive and click on Next one. In the window that now appears, you can set additional requirements for messages: things like urgency, messages from a specific sender, or messages sent only to you. If you want to forward all messages, leave this window for what it is and click Next one. You will now see a warning that the rule will be applied to every message you receive. click on Yes.


In the next screen (note: it looks like the previous one) you will again see a list of options. You want to forward your messages, so tick forwarding to individuals or public group On. Click at the bottom of the window Step 2, on the underlined part persons or public group. Search in the wizard by contact name or enter the relevant e-mail address at the bottom and click on OK.

You can also add multiple addresses this way, which can be useful if you have multiple email accounts.

For full effect, assign the rule to all incoming mail.

Under Step 2 you should now (in somewhat crooked Dutch) contain a correct summary of the action to be taken: Forward this line after the message is received to [e-mailadres]. click on Next one to open yet another list of options and restrictions, where you can customize even more.

Numerous options

Again on Next one clicking will take you to the last page of the wizard. Here you enter a name for your rule, choose whether it should only apply to new messages or also to existing messages and you can switch the rule on and off. If everything is correct, click Complete and on again OK. Just test to make sure you’ve done it right (it may take a few minutes to see forwarded messages in your inbox).

Forwarded mails will remain in your Outlook mailbox. Only when you add an action to delete a message, the mail disappears to your trash.

Scoll through the choices, because there are quite a few.

With all the options these rules offer you can build very advanced actions. For example, you can automatically forward mail from a particular applicant to all your direct colleagues, play a sound when a message with an attachment arrives, automatically mark messages from that one colleague as read and much more. Be creative and build your own law book in Outlook.

If you want to delete certain rules, that is also possible. Go to again Manage rules and alerts and choose in the dialog box Rules and warnings on the tab Email Rules the line you want to delete. Confirm by pressing remove and then on OK to push.


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