Office 365: Using an Outlook rule to determine which email alias an email has been sent to

When you have many email aliases associated with your Exchange or Office 365 based email address, it can sometimes be useful to know which email address it was sent to. Unfortunately Outlook does not show this information by default and simply shows the display name of the recipient of the message.

I can think of a couple of ways to resolve this:

The main advantage of using a transport rule is that the rule is always executed, it does not depend on the Outlook client running. This is useful if you are also using a mobile device and would like to know if a message has been sent to an alias.

The main advantage of using Outlook is that is gives you a bit more flexibility over what you want to do with the message and you don’t need Office 365/Exchange admin rights to set this up.

As the transport rule method has already been documented, this post is all about how to use an Outlook rule to determine which email alias an email was sent to.

Using an Outlook rule to determine which email alias an email has been sent to

I will be using Outlook 2013, but the same should work in Outlook 2010 also.

Go to File and then “Manage Rules and Alerts” and then click on “New rule”.  Now click on “Apply rule on messages I receive” from the “Start from a blank rule” section.

Outlook 2013 - Creating a blank rule on an incoming message

On the next page, choose “with specific words in the message header”.  We need to do this as only the message header contains the full information about what address the email was sent to.

Using an Outlook rule to examine message headers

In the “Step 2” section at the bottom of the page, click on the “specific words” link:

Specifying specific words to search for in the message header of an Outlook message

Type in the email address that you want to identify and click on “Add”. Note that you could add multiple email addresses in here to use this rule for multiple aliases. After you have added the aliases that you are interested in, click ok.

Outlook 2013 rule - specifying search text

You will drop back to the main rule creation dialog box. Now click on next. On this page you have lots of options about what to do with the message and the options are quite self explanatory.

I am going to choose “display a specific alert in the New Item Alert window” as below:

Displaying a custom new item alert in Outlook 2013 when an email is received to an email alias

This means that when I receive an email to the alias specified Outlook will alert me letting me know that the message was received on this particular alias. Finish creating the rule with any other options or exceptions that you require.

I now get a custom email alert when messages are sent to the alias that I specified as below:

Outlook 2013 - New Mail Alert for message sent to a specific email address

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