I’m not the worlds biggest fan of Outlook and whilst the new lick of paint in Office 2007 makes it slightly more bearable, one thing that has constantly driven me up the wall has been it’s inability to run rules properly.

It seems as if I’m the only one in the office afflicted with this problem and no matter what I try to fix it, they just won’t run. Exporting, deleting and re-importing my rules did nowt. Running Outlook.exe with /cleanrules didn’t help and even going as far as deleting my mail profile and recreating it gave the same useless result. Which, incidentally, is not a fun thing to do, having Outlook resync your OST over a VPN is not pleasant at the best of times.

Plus it’s not specific to a machine, I’ve switched to three different machines in the last six months, four if you include the virtual machine I ran for a while, but none seemed to want to work.

I wouldn’t mind but it’s not like I have anything fancy set up, my seven rules (yes, seven) consist of moving email’s to different folders depending on various things like who sent it, keywords in the body and subject, update info, etc. Hardly rocket science.

However, I now have an answer, an add-on for Outlook called Auto-Mate, who’s job is to run rules, and nothing but rules. It’s a bit options overload at first, but it’s pretty easy to get the hang of and I love the Preview option. This is genius since it makes checking what you’ve just set up a doddle.


It’s not quite as flexible as Outlook rules for setting some things up. For example, if you have email’s that have slightly different subject lines and you want them to go in the same folder. In Outlook you can have just one rule and specify two different things to match on. In Auto-Mate you need two rules. Not the end of the world, just something worth knowing.

Also, Auto-Mate isn’t free, there are two different versions, Standard ($29.99) and Pro ($59.99). The Pro version seems a bit steep to me and I’m a bit miffed that I’ll most likely have to shell out for something that should just work in Outlook!

The reason for such desperate measures is because of the barrage of email’s I now get that strictly speaking don’t require immediate attention. I like to keep my Inbox relatively clear and just have things in there that I’m working on or are currently of interest. As such, filing email’s automatically has become incredibly important. So Auto-Mate, along with SpeedFiler, makes Outlook just about manageable!

By Paul

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