One handy tool in any email system is searching and filtering. For this demonstration, the scenario will be a teacher wishing to keep track of all of the field trip notices sent by other teachers. I am also using the Web Outlook for consistency. Different mail clients (including the desktop version of Outlook) may behave differently.

I always use Web Outlook because it provides a consistent experience across all computers and devices (in my district it is accessible at

Method 1: Search Mailbox

The first way we can sort emails is to search the inbox.


  • Find the search box at the top of Outlook:


  • Type in the key words you wish to search for and hit Return:


  • This will return any email that contains “field trip” in the subject line or the body of the message.

Method 2: Email Filtering

Email filtering allows us to set rules that automatically apply to any new messages received. Here is what I want to do:

  • Create a new folder called “Field Trips”.
  • Create an Inbox Rule so that every time a new email enters my inbox containing “field trip” in either the subject or the body, a copy of the message will automatically be filtered to my “Field Trips” folder.
  • Now if I am interested in seeing the field trips going on in the school, I can click on my folder and have easy access to all the messages in one place.

Step 1: Create a new folder

Right-click on your name on the left hand side of Outlook and choose “Create New Folder…”. I will name it “Field Trips”:

I also like to number my folders so that they appear in numerical order (I have several other folders already):


Folders can be used manually to sort emails but there is an easier way – creating an Inbox Rule!

Step 2: Create the Inbox Rule

At the top right-hand corner of your Outlook window, click on “Options” and then “Create an Inbox Rule…”


“Inbox Rules” will be selected. You can click on “New…”


The first part of the rule will be the trigger. In this case we want to choose “It includes these words in the subject or body…” and type in “field trip”


Now we can decide what happens when the field trip message arrives. Typically this would be under “Do the following” but I want to choose “More Options…” in this case:


After clicking “More Options…” we can now select “Move, copy, or delete” and then “Copy the message to folder”:


Now select the folder we created earlier (if you missed this step, folders can also be created from this dialogue box):


Now click “Save”:



Testing My Rule

As a test, I am composing an email to myself with the key words to see if my rule works as expected:


After sending the message, it not only appears in my inbox but also in my new folder. The folder bolds and has a (1) next to it, indicating there is 1 new message.


More on Inbox Rules

Inbox Rules can be set for anything, even filtering emails from specific email addresses. I subscribe to a few list-servs and newsletters and instead of having the messages fill my inbox, I have an Inbox Rule set so that these messages skip my inbox and go to a specific folder. Have fun filtering emails!

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