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Not understanding client vs server mail handling rules RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi --

    I'm not sure whether this qualifies as an Exchange or an Outlook issue.

    I've been messing with this for hours, and I can't figure this out:

    I can create a server-side rule using OWA that:

    1. selects an incoming email by sender and by words in the Subject: line

    and then

    2. assigns a specific category to it, and

    3. moves it to a subfolder of the Inbox.

    When email matching the selection criteria arrives, it's categorized and moved into this folder. (But Outlook then will not notify of the incoming email.)

    Now ...

    If I try to set up this exact rule inside Outlook 2016, Outlook sets it up as a client-side rule -- complete with the warning that the rule will only trigger if Outlook is running.

    Apparently, the culprit is the category assignment. If I omit the category assignment, then the rule is saved in Outlook as a server-side rule. When I reinstate the category assignment, then Outlook insists on making it a client-side rule.

    Why can I create a server-side rule directly on the server (via OWA) that includes a category assignment, but I can't do the same inside Outlook? The categories in question are saved as part of the user's mailbox. I get identical category lists whether I try to set up this rule in OWA or Outlook.

    I wouldn't be messing around with this so much, except for the notification problem. I _have_ to set up these rules as server rules in order for the email client on the cell phone to get consistent results from them. If the rules don't trigger when the PC running Outlook is off, then these incoming messages don't get moved while the user is out of the office using just his phone.

    But now I have the other problem that Outlook does not chime an incoming email notification if these emails are moved into the subfolder by the server rule. So when the user is at his desk, he's oblivious to the incoming emails being shunted to the subfolder. There isn't an option on the server side to add the "display notification" command to the server rule. And Outlook doesn't have an option for "do this when a message lands in a specific folder."

    So ...

    What do I need to do to create a rule that selects an email based on the sender and the contents of the subject line, then assigns a category to it, then moves it to a subfolder of the user's Inbox, doesn't require Outlook to run, but still makes Outlook notify the user of an incoming message when it is running? (I have the notification part taken care of on the phone.)

    Note that when I mention creating "a" server-side rule, I actually am referring to eight of them. I have eight rules that select incoming mail. Each rule uses different sender and Subject: content criteria. Each assigns a different category to the incoming email. But all eight rules move the incoming messages into the same subfolder.

    Thanks

    CL


    • Moved by Perry-Pan Monday, September 9, 2019 2:36 AM
    Friday, September 6, 2019 8:44 AM

All replies

  • Hi Chuck Lavin,

    Normally, rules are either server-side or client-only based on the conditions and actions you apply to them.

    I compared the rule description between OWA and Outlook client (See below screenshot). According to the official article, “Assign it to the category” action makes it a client-only rule. Although they get to same results (add a category), they may be two different actions.

    >> But now I have the other problem that Outlook does not chime an incoming email notification if these emails are moved into the subfolder by the server rule.

    This is by design that the new email desktop alert only displays when the new email message arrives in the Inbox folder. For sub-folders, we have to add action “Display a desktop alert” in the rule which will definitely make it as a client-rule.

    If you really want to receive new email alert, you may need to make it a client-only rule. Otherwise, you can still create the rule on OWA.

    If you have further concern, please feel free to post back.

    Regards,

    Perry


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they helped. If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnsf@microsoft.com.

    • Edited by Perry-Pan Monday, September 9, 2019 2:38 AM
    • Proposed as answer by Perry-Pan Monday, September 16, 2019 7:54 AM
    Monday, September 9, 2019 2:36 AM
  • Hi --

    I created the rule in OWA to the Exchange (2010) server. It allowed me to assign the category. It has been correctly executing as a server-based rule for four days. I know that it has, because the only PC running Outlook for this account has been switched off since close of business Friday. The user's Android phone and tablet use the Nine mail client, which is a really good MS Exchange client but does not process rules. And the emails in question have been getting correctly moved and having their categories assigned, which is all being reflected in the Android devices.

    This is what baffles me. OWA supposedly does not allow me to create client-only rules because it provides no options for such. So if OWA provides me with the option to assign a category, and then Exchange properly executes this rule for every incoming email while the user's Outlook PC is confirmed to be off, then I can assume that I did indeed create a server-side rule.

    But if I create the identical rule from Outlook, Outlook brands it a client-only rule.

    This doesn't make any sense to me.

    Monday, September 9, 2019 4:35 AM
  • Hi Chuck Lavin,,

    I haven't found detailed official articles which explains the difference. But these two actions should be different.

    You can see the action "Assign it to the category” which really makes it a client-only rule (as mentioned in the official article). While on OWA, it is named "apply the following category".

    As per your request, you can currently create the rule on OWA.

    Regards,

    Perry


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they helped. If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnsf@microsoft.com.

    Tuesday, September 10, 2019 5:16 AM