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Mail (Mountain Lion): Manage messages using rules

Manage messages using rules

You can set up rules to automatically perform actions, such as file, forward, or highlight messages. Rules are based on conditions or criteria, such as the message’s sender, recipients, subject, or content. Rules are automatically applied to incoming messages, but you can apply a new or modified rule to selected messages you’ve already received.

If you use iCloud Documents & Data, your rules are available on your other Mac computers that use iCloud Documents & Data and have OS X Mountain Lion installed. Files attached to rules, such as sound files or scripts, aren’t available on the other Mac computers.

When you disable an account, rules applied to the account’s mailboxes are also disabled; you must enable the rules again after you enable the account.

Mail stops applying rules when:

  • A message is transferred to another mailbox by rules applied on a server or on a computer or device synced to the computer you’re currently using.

  • The Stop Evaluating Rules action is specified in a rule.

Create rules

  1. Choose Mail > Preferences, and then click Rules.

    To review an example of a rule, select a provided rule and click Edit. To close the rule, click Cancel.

  2. Click Add Rule, and then type a descriptive name for the rule.
  3. Indicate whether any one or all of the conditions must be true for the rule to be applied to a message.
  4. Specify the conditions.

    Use the pop-up menus and entry fields. Click Add (+) to add another condition.

    From the first pop-up menu, you can choose Edit Header List to use other header fields, such as Cc, in conditions. To add your own header, click Add (+) in the Message Headers window.

  5. Choose actions to perform on messages that meet the conditions. To specify multiple actions, click Add (+).

If you have multiple rules, they’re applied in the order in which they appear in the list of rules. Drag a rule up or down in the list to change its order.

Apply rules to selected messages

Select the messages and then choose Message > Apply Rules.

Last Modified: Apr 18, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Apr 18, 2013
  • Article: PH11738
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