How to get notifications for all my inboxes in Outlook


If you’re the type of Outlook user that likes to have their mailbox organised, then it’s very likely that you use a lot of rules to manage all the different mail that comes into your different folders. You may also have realised that Outlook only displays desktop notifications for mail that goes to your inbox folder. Although some might find this default Outlook setting to be useful as it doesnt notify you about mail that could be unimportant, many users find this feature to be frustrating, as mail often accidentally ends up in the wrong folder and users don’t get a notification about it. This can also have an impact on the company if the email is important and it is crucial to reply on time. In this blog post, I will outline how to create a generic Outlook rule that will make notifications display for any incoming mail regardless of what folder it goes into. 

Creating a rule to get notifications for all mail:  

  1. Go to Outlook and sign in using your credentials
  2. Search for ‘rules’
  3. Click on the ‘Rules’ option
  4. From the drop down list, select ‘Manage rules and alerts’
  5. Ensure you are on the email tab
  6. Select the ‘New rule’ tab 
  7. Select ‘Apply rule on messages I receive’ 
  8. Click ‘Next’ 
  9. Make sure that no conditions are selected and click on ‘Next’
  10. When a small message appears on the screen, click on ‘Yes’
  11. Select the box for ‘display a desktop alert’ and click ‘Next’
  12. In the next window, ensure that no exceptions are selected and click ‘Next’
  13. Give the rule a name and select the box for ‘Turn on this rule’
  14. Click ‘Finish’ 

Please note that if you are using a version of Outlook that is older than Outlook 2010, then there is a slight difference to step 7 of this process which will be explained in the step by step process section of this blog post.  

Why is this the default setting in Outlook?

As I briefly mentioned above, the default setting in Outlook means that users can only receive notifications for mail that goes into their inbox and not in any other folders. Outlook has this as a default feature as it is a feature that is designed to help users organise their mail in an efficient way. Since only important mail usually ends up in your inbox folder, users receive a notification for every email that enters that folder. In order to increase productivity, Outlook does not display notifications from other folder as the emails that have a higher priority are usually in the inbox folder, therefore receiving notifications for other insignificant folder can be quite distracting and can often lead to users spending too much of their time in other folder rather than focusing on the important mail in their inbox. 

However, this is not always the case. There are often times where an important email can accidentally end up in the wrong inbox. If users don’t receive a notification for this email, there is a high probability that they will not see the email. If you would like to set up notification for all your email folders in Outlook, then follow the upcoming step by step process. 

Step by step process to Create a rule to get notifications for all mail: 

  1. Go to Outlook and sign in using your credentials

For the purpose of this tutorial, I will be signing into an example Outlook account.

  1. Search for ‘rules’

At the top of the page, type in ‘rules’ in the reach bar.

  1. Click on the ‘Rules’ option

When the list of suggestions appear, selection on the option for ‘Rules’ 

  1. From the drop down list, select ‘Manage rules and alerts’

Then, on the right hand side a small drop down list will appear. From here, select ‘Manage rules & alerts’

  1. Ensure you are on the ‘Email Rules’ tab

When the window for Rules and Alerts appear, ensure that you are on the ‘Email Rules’ tab at the top of the window. 

  1. Select the ‘New rule’ tab 

Then, from underneath the ‘Email Rules’ tab, select the ‘New Rule’ tab

  1. Select ‘Apply rule on messages I receive’

Under the section fro ‘Start from a blank rule’ select the option to ‘Apply rule on messages I receive’

If you are using an older version of Outlook (Prior to Outlook 2010) then please note that the option you need to select here is ‘Check messages when they arrive’

  1. Click ‘Next’ 

From the bottom of the window, click on ‘Next’

  1. Make sure that no conditions are selected and click on ‘Next’

In the next window a list of conditions will appear. Make sure that none of these conditions have been checked and then click on ‘Next’ at the bottom of the page.

  1. When a small message appears on the screen, click on ‘Yes’

A small message will appear asking you if you want this rule to be applied to every message you receive. Click ‘Yes’

  1. Select the box for ‘display a desktop alert’ and click ‘Next’

In the next window, check the box of ‘display a Desktop alert’ by clicking on it. Ensure that no other option has been selected and then click on ‘Next’.

  1. In the next window, click ‘Next’

A list of exceptions will appear in the next window. Ensure that none of these options have been selected and then click on ‘Next’.

  1. Give the rule a name and select the box for ‘Turn on this rule’

To finish setting up the rule, give the new rule a name or leave it as the default name like I have in the screenshot above. Then select the checkbox for ‘Turn on this rule’. 

  1. Click ‘Finish’ 

For the final step, select ‘Finish’. The new rule will now be applied to your mailbox and you will receive notifications for all emails and not just the ones that are in your inbox. 

Thank you for reading. If you have any further questions about Outlook, then feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to help. 

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