Message Rules

Message rules are advanced method of managing the flow of incoming or outgoing messages. You can have as many rules as you need and each rule is made of 2 parts - Conditions and Actions. By choosing certain conditions you can set what triggers an appropriate action - for example, if message contains certain words, it can be moved to a certain folder, deleted, flagged etc.

Message rules can get very complex, so in order to fully understand them and use them to their full potential, read this help carefully.

To open message rules editor from the program main menu select Tools » Message Rules.

Message Rules List

First window which opens is the total overview of your message rules list. The list contains following information.

  • [x] CheckBox - Checking the checkbox means the rule is enabled. Enabled/checked rules will be processed while messages are received or sent and disabled/unchecked ones will be skipped.
  • Name - Shows user defined descriptive name what the rule does.
  • Trigger - Shows if rule is triggered by receiving or sending.
  • Scope - Shows the scope of the rule.

Rules can be created, modified, copied and removed. They are processed based on their order in the list - with the ones on the top being processed first, followed by the ones being further down the list. So moving a rule closer to the top of the list gives it more of a priority to be checked first.

  • New - Open a New Message Rule window where you can create a new rule.
  • Modify - Opens currently selected message rule in the list for making changes to it.
  • Copy - Makes a duplicate of all the conditions and actions of a selected rule in the list. Use it if you want to create a new rule which is very similar to existing rule and only needs a few changes.
  • Remove - Deletes message rule from the list and deletes all of its associated conditions and actions.
  • Move Up - Moves selected rule up the list and increases its priority. Rules closer to the top of the list will be processed before the ones on the bottom of the list.
  • Move Down - Moves selected rule down the list and decreases its priority. Rules closer to the top of the list will be processed before the ones on the bottom of the list.
  • OK - Saves the list and closes the window.
  • Cancel - Closes the window without saving the rule list.

New Message Rule

Depending on whether you clicked on New or Modify button, you will either get a blank list of conditions/actions or it will be filled with conditions/actions for the selected rule which is being modified.

The list of conditions and actions represent what will be searched for and in what way. If the conditions you define are matched, then actions will be performed after a match is found. If no conditions are matched, actions won't be performed. Each incoming/outgoing email is scanned for searched conditions, depending how you defined those conditions.

  • Name of the rule - Lets you type in the descriptive name what the rule does. The best is to write a summary of the rule. Use this to easily recognize the rule in the list.
  • Apply rule when message is - Offers choice whether the rule will be triggered by receiving a message or sending a message.
  • And matches - Determines how conditions will behave - Any of the conditions choice will match a rule if any of the conditions you put in the list matches. All of the conditions will match a rule only if all of the conditions are a match.
  • Add condition - Opens condition selection.
  • Modify - Opens currently selected condition for modification.
  • Add action - Opens action selection.
  • Remove - Removes currently selected condition (or action).

Add Condition or Modify

Field is a list of choices of specific message fields and Condition is an operation performed on the selected field. The easiest way to understand them is to simply read them from left to right as they are presented in the user interface. So for example if you select From field and Contains condition you can read it as IF FROM CONTAINS... The actual list of keywords or specific comparison options is on the right side.

Field

List of fields to choose from are:

  • From/ReplyTo/To/Cc/To or Cc/Bcc - Each of these represents an appropriate email header field which may contain one or multiple email addresses. Use this selection to choose condition based on sender, recipient and so on.
  • From/ReplyTo/To/Cc/To or Cc/Bcc Items count - As each of these fields can contain one or more email addresses, this field can help you match a specific number of email addresses, for example you may match more than 1 email address to determine if a message was sent to a list.
  • Subject - Subject line field.
  • Priority - Message priority.
  • Date - Message date.
  • Message size - Message size.
  • Account - Account where the message was received.

Note that some fields don't have any kind of condition choices. If this is the case the condition will display N/A as in Not-Available.

Condition

When available or applicable, list of conditions to choose from are:

  • Contains - This is one of the most versatile conditions. It matches searches anywhere in the text, from start, from end or in the middle. Anywhere where a list of words appears, it will be matched.
  • Starts with - List of words will be searched only from beginning of the text.
  • Ends with - List of words will be searched only from end of the text.
  • Is - List of words will matched exactly against the full length of the text. In other words, you can either match if it is fully identical or not and you cannot do partial matches with this condition.
  • Is blank - This condition only checks if the text is empty or blank and thus offers no word lists as they are not needed.

Note that each of the above conditions also has an appropriate negative condition - Does not contain, Does not start with, Does not end with, Is not and Is not blank. If match occurs, you can use negative condition to reverse it. In other words, you can use it to match conditions where match did not occur. Negative matches are harder to understand as well as harder to correct if rule is not properly defined so be careful when using them.

Condition options for TEXT searches

The right side offers additional options associated with a selected Condition.

Search / Name or Email (either can match)

Search of email field will be performed through both name and email and if searched word is found in any of them it will be matched.

Example search word Matches (shown in bold)
Smith John Smith <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
John John Smith <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
John Smith John Smith <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>

Search / Name <Email> (both must match)

Search of email field will be performed through both name and email in the Name <Email> format. OE Classic will internally hold the emails in the Name <Email> format so you must add items to the list in the same format. If email address does not have a Name portion then it will be matched in the format <Email>. Note that there is a single space character between the Name and the <Email> so you must take that into account when creating a search word, for example, if a search word is John[space][space]<john@example.com> it may not be matched the same like John[space]<john@example.com> (for clarity purposes the [space] represents a single space character and is not the actual search text). Space is therefore a separator between the name and the email part. Some of the examples below clarify this further.

Example search word Matches (shown in bold)
Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.net>
John A. Smith <john@example.com>
John <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
Mary Schmidt <mary@example.com>
<john@example.com> <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.net>
John A. Smith <john@example.com>
John <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
Mary Schmidt <mary@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com> <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.net>
John A. Smith <john@example.com>
John <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
Mary Schmidt <mary@example.com>
John Smith  <john@example.com>

Note: This example has accidental 2 space characters after the word Smith - that is why it is not matched in any of the examples on the right.
<john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.net>
John A. Smith <john@example.com>
John <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
Mary Schmidt <mary@example.com>
* <john@example.com>

Wildcard search option checked
Single space between * and <
<john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.net>
John A. Smith <john@example.com>
John <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
Mary Schmidt <mary@example.com>
*<john@example.com>

Wildcard search option checked
No space between * and <
<john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.net>
John A. Smith <john@example.com>
John <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
Mary Schmidt <mary@example.com>
John Smith <*>

Wildcard search option checked
<john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.net>
John A. Smith <john@example.com>
John <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
Mary Schmidt <mary@example.com>
* Smith <*.com>

Wildcard search option checked
<john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.net>
John A. Smith <john@example.com>
John <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
Mary Schmidt <mary@example.com>
* <*.com>

Wildcard search option checked
<john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.com>
John Smith <john@example.net>
John A. Smith <john@example.com>
John <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
Mary Schmidt <mary@example.com>

Name only

Search of email field will be performed through name only.

Example search word Matches (shown in bold)
Smith John Smith <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
John John Smith <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>

Email only

Search of email field will be performed through email only.

Example search word Matches (shown in bold)
Smith John Smith <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>
John John Smith <john@example.com>
Mary Smith <mary@example.com>

Method

  • Match any people in the list (OR) / Match any words in the list (OR) - If any of the people (or words) in the list are found, it will be a match. A logical OR condition.
  • Match all the people in the list (AND) / Match all the words in the list (AND) - Only of all of the people (or words) in the list are found, it will be a match. A logical AND condition.

List of people or words

Using edit box and Add/Remove buttons you can make a list of people or words to be matched. Address Book button will also be present if it is a list of people for filling it easily.

  • Case sensitive - If this checkbox is checked, case sensitivity will be taken into account so capital and lowercase letters will do different matches.
  • Search using wildcard characters [* and ?] - If this checkbox is checked asterisk [*] and question mark [?] characters will be used as wildcards. Asterisk [*] acts as wildcard for any number of character. Question mark [?] acts as wildcard for exactly one character. Wildcards are placed inside the list of people or words so you can have even 2 or more different wildcard searches in a single message rule.

Condition options for NUMERIC searches

Numeric searches allow comparing against a single value or an interval. For example, you may want to match if number of recipients is greater than 3 and do appropriate action. Also, intervals are supported, for example, if number of recipients is between 2 and 5 which would match 3 and 4 recipients.

There are 3 types of numeric matches and depending on which you choose, you will be able to enter one or two numeric values.

  • Single value - This type allows you to enter one numeric value. Then you can compare it using comparisons like Is, Is Not, Greater than, Less than etc.
  • Inner range (interval) - This type allows you to enter two numeric values A and B - an interval [A,B] or (A,B)
  • Outer range (two intervals) - This type allows you to enter two numeric values. It is negated interval (all except the given range).

Add Action

The following actions are available:

  • Move to folder - Moves message to selected folder if conditions are matched. It is important to note that this action sets the folder to move for certain rule but if further rules are processed and one of them also matches and moves to different folder, the last selected folder wins. To avoid this, use Stop processing more rules action or make the condition match more narrow (using Contains condition is very broad and if possible should be avoided, in favor of conditions like Is, Starts with, Ends with which can target searched terms more precisely).
  • Copy to folder - Copies message to selected folder if conditions are matched.
  • Delete it - Deletes message if conditions are matched.
  • Mark it as read - Marks message as read or unread if conditions are matched.
  • Stop processing more rules - Stops processing rules for this message and move on to the next message. It is important to note that this action will not stop processing rules entirely. It only stops processing rules for the currently processed message. For example - if sufficient set of conditions are matched, you may want to include this condition to prevent additional conditions from being matched later which could break the action. Typical example of this is moving message to folder. If conditions are made to be very broad, it may be possible that 2 rules match on same message and if both of these rules contain Move to folder action, the second Move to folder will override the first one therefore moving message to wrong folder. To avoid this, place most important rules on top of the list and if they use Move to folder (or Delete it) use this rule to break the processing and move on to next message. For the most of the time, you can always use Stop processing more rules action each time you use Move to folder action. It is possible to avoid using this action but in that case your rules must have very narrow conditions to match minimal number of matches and thus minimize the chance of triggering the wrong action. You can do that by using case-sensitivity or Name and Email match types.
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