Display Desktop Notifications For Mail Coming Into Any Folder


I’ve been asked many times over the years how to get Outlook (up to 2010 anyway) to display a desktop notification for mail that arrives in any folder (due to incoming mail rules), as the in-built ‘New Mail Desktop Alert’ will only display for mail that is delivered directly to the Inbox.

You could apply the “display a Desktop Alert” action to all of your existing rules, but that will make those rules into Local rules that will only run while Outlook is open, which isn’t good for rules you need to have run at the server (i.e.: forwarding mail).

This How-to covers a way to create a generic Outlook rule that will make notifications display for any incoming mail, regardless of (and without affecting) other existing rules.


(5 total)


In Outlook, create a new blank rule

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a) Navigate to the Rules and Alerts dialog.

– For Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007:

Navigate to Tools -> Rules and Alerts…

– For Outlook 2010:

Navigate to the Home tab -> Move group -> click Rules -> Manage Rules & Alerts…

b) Click “New Rule” to start the Rules Wizard.


Initialize the new rule

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Select “Start from a blank rule” and ensure that “Check messages when they arrive” (or “Apply rule on messages I receive” in 2010) is selected.

Click Next.


Verify Conditions

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On the Conditions screen, and ensure that NO conditions are selected.

Click Next, and agree that you understand it will apply to all messages.


Setup Actions

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Locate and select (only) the “display a Desktop Alert” action.

Click Finish to save the rule and close the wizard.


Position the rule

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Move the new rule to the top of the rule list to ensure it happens before any other rules take action.


That should do it. 🙂

You should now get a desktop notification for any message that arrives, regardless of other rules that my sort it into specific folders.

dpejic has written 85 articles

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