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Backup and Restore Outlook Rules (KB-O365-201608002)

Exporting your Outlook rules is an important step in migrating to Office 365 for e-mail. That's because unlike other aspects of your Outlook configuration, like your e-mail, contacts, and calendar appointments, rules are not inherently handled by migration tools. If you're not making significant changes to your Office configuration, this step might not be needed. However, if it becomes necessary to uninstall your current version of Office in order to install that 365 version, or if you end up needing a new mail profile, then having a backup of your rules will ensure you're able to migrate with minimal disruptiuon.

How you'll accomplish this will depend on which version of Outlook you currently use.

Outlook 2010/2013/2016

  1. Starting at the Home tab in the Ribbon, navigate to Rules > Manage Rules and Alerts.

  2. Or. click the File tab on the Ribbon, then navigate to Info > Manage Rules and Alerts.

  3. Click the Options button.

  4. In the Options window, click Export Rules.

  5. Choose a file location to save your rules.

Outlook 2007 and 2003

  1. In the top menu, navigate to Tools > Rules And Alerts > Option
  2. In the Options window, click Export Rules.
  3. Choose a file location to save your rules.

Even Older Versions of Outlook

Not that we recommend using really old versions of Outlook, but if you're truly that unfortunate, you can find the setting under Tools > Rules Wizard > Options > Export Rules.

Restoring Rules to Your New Account

The process above can be easily reversed. Find your way to the Options window, and you'll see the Import Rules button there. Browse to the file you exported earlier and go from there. Note that in some cases if the folders and other settings of your account have cahnged significantly, you may have some clean-up work that you need to do to fix any broken rules.

More Info

This KB article was based on information in this Microsoft Office 365 support article.

See also: MSOutllook.info article