Time based Outlook 2007 rules


Every now and then time-dependant rule questions come up and today I took a few minutes to figure them out. The good news is, Exchange 2007 transport rules make this easy and seamless. The bad news is, Outlook 2007 can do this too but only as a client-based rules. This means that without Exchange 2007, time-dependant rules can fire only if an instance of Outlook 2007 is running.

Corey Powell asks:

I have a customer with 6 sales people.  They have leads arriving via email to one email address.  They want the “on-call” person to receive all of the leads that come in for the period of time that that person is “on-call”.

So, how do you do this in Outlook 2007? Easy:

Click on Tools > Rules and Alerts > New > Check messages when they arrive > with specific words in the message header:
” 07:”
” 08:”
” 09:”
” 10:”

Forward it to people or distribution list and pick a user.

This will effectively forward messages received from 7:00 am – 10:59 am to the user or distribution list you specify. Repeat for the other 6 shifts with respective 4 hour windows.

Few notes: leading space is very important because some MTA’s use IPv6 which without a leading space can match the wrong part of the header. Furthermore, Outlook does not have the “and” operator (something that Exchange 2007 does in its transport rules stack) so if you receive mail from other time zones your filter may not work as intended.

7 Responses to Time based Outlook 2007 rules

  1. andyparkes says:

    I had a less elegant solution for a similar problem (Exchange 2003)

    A client had a “pr” generic email address and as in this example wanted the on call person to pick up the emails

    I created the generic user account, and set the delivery options to forward onto whoever was first on call.

    I then wrote a VBscript that changed the delivery options to a different and ran this as a scheduled task based on the time windows they needed

    A bit clunky but it did the trick

  2. Erick Kjolberg says:

    Great idea! But, can this approach be tailored to use a 12 hour clock format in the message header? (i.e. AM/PM)

  3. Pete says:

    Try “02:??:?? PM” or something similar

  4. Jamie says:

    Very clever! Thanks 🙂

  5. Rod says:

    Thanks for this solution. I tested it out and it works, but it doesn’t completely solve my problem.

    Is it possible to use wildcards in the mail rule? As posted, your solution would forward messages regardless of whether they were sent in the AM or PM.

    I want the ability to forward all messages sent between 3:45 PM and 7:30 AM. Without the ability to add wildcards, I don’t see how I could accomplish this.

  6. Anthony says:

    Very elegant and simple. Thanks guys

Comments are closed.