Tip 42: Stop Processing More Rules

Rules are processed in the order they are listed in the Rules Wizard and you can rearrange the rules to better control which rules process which messages.

Stop processing more rules conditionAdd a Stop Processing action to each rule to prevent subsequent rules from processing messages which are processed by a rule.

If you want more than one rule to process messages, don't add the stop processing action to earlier rules or put that rule at the top of your Rules list.

If you have a lot of rules, you'll improve the efficiency of Rules Wizard if you put the most active rules at the top of the list and use the Stop Processing action in most of your rules.

Please note that this action only stops the processing of the current message that meets the condition of the rule, it does not stop the rules engine from processing additional messages. When a message matches the rule, Outlook does 'whatever' to the message then moves on to process the next message, as a result, using Stop Processing can save a (little) bit of time.

For example, say you have a rule to move mail from Bob and a second rule to move mail with the subject “Hello!”. If Bob sends you a message with the subject Hello!, both rules will apply (resulting in duplicate messages). If you use stop precessing on the rules, after the first rule moves the message Outlook moves on to process the next message instead of checking Bob's message against the Hello rule or additional rules.

Published September 30, 2003. Last reviewed on September 6, 2013.

  • wolfgang

    Is there a way to permanently remove the default "Stop Processing More Rules". It's very irritating that we have to remove it on every rule. Is there a way to program rules like When I have an Email address that I always want to create a folder and have every email with that email moved into it?

  • Diane Poremsky

    Stop processing: no, you can't remove it. You should only remove it when you want a message processed by 2 or more rules, if the conditions are met. It tells the rules engine to stop processing the message against additional rules if it meets the condition of that rule, it does not stop rules from processing additional messages.

    for example, you have a rule to move mail from bob and a second rule to move mail with the subject "Hello!". If bob sends you a message with the subject Hello!, both rules will apply (potentially resulting in duplicate messages). If you use stop precessing, after the first rule moves the message, outlook moves on to the next message instead of checking it against more rules.

    On creating folders: no, not within outlook's rules engine. There are addins that can do this so it is possible, if you have programming skills.