Workarounds for Some Outlook Annoyances

Like most of you, I spend a lot of time in Microsoft Outlook and have for over a decade. There are a few dozen annoyances that I have endured over multiple releases. Here are several that are on my mind right now and the basic workarounds. If you have more, feel free to send them to me at [email protected].

Creating a New Rule

One of the annoying facets of the Office Outlook Rules Wizard is the inability to go back into Outlook to check something after you’ve started the wizard. If you started the Rules Wizard where a condition was the presence of a specific term in the message body, but wanted to go into Outlook to verify the spelling of that term, you have to close the Rules Wizard first. I’ve also started the Rules Wizard where the condition, action, or exception was based on a sender’s address, but Outlook required that the address exist in my Contacts folder. I had to close the Rules Wizard and add that contact and then restart the Rules Wizard. The workaround for this is just to gather all the information you need for the new rule prior to starting the wizard.

IMAP Message ID Error

Outlook has never boasted a perfect IMAP client solution. One of the issues I have with Outlook occurs when I leave Outlook open, connected to an IMAP account, and subsequently make changes to that IMAP account from another source, such as a web mail. When I return to Outlook and try to navigate my IMAP account, I receive an error message for every message I changed as illustrated in Figure 1. Outlook generates this pop-up error message for every changed message and does not allow the user to navigate away to refresh the IMAP account or even close Outlook. This is a case of “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” And the doctor replies, “Well don’t do that.” Make sure Outlook is closed when making changes (replying to, forwarding, or deleting messages) to an IMAP mailbox that is otherwise accessed by an Outlook account.

Mark as Not Junk in Outlook 2007

On a few occasions I have had messages go to my Outlook junk mail folder by mistake. It’s fairly simple to correct this action by selecting the message in the junk mail folder and clicking the Not Junk button on the toolbar. This moves the message back to the Inbox and prevents messages from that sender making it to the Junk E-mail folder again. Alternatively, you can right-click the message and select Mark as Not Junk from the context menu. These options will list the address to trust for future messages. The annoyance comes where there are many messages from this sender in the Junk E-mail folder already. The Mark as Not Junk option isn’t retroactive, it applies only to the single message being acted upon. Unfortunately, there is no option to include all messages that apply to this option. The other messages need to be manually found and moved back to the Inbox. You either have to sort the Junk E-mail folder to more easily capture these messages to move them back to the Inbox, or you can create a rule, to run manually once, to parse the Junk E-mail folder and pull these specific messages back into the Inbox.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.