Outlook Rules not Moving Emails to Folder [Easy Fixes 2024]

Written By Farhan Max

Did you create an Outlook rule that moves specific emails from your inbox to a separate folder? Kudos to you! You’re one step closer to making your inbox clutter-free.

Outlook is by far the most efficient application for email management. One of the best efficiencies of Outlook is creating a rule that can reduce manual involvement in managing emails.

For instance, you can set a rule that moves emails from a specific sender to an independent folder automatically. But, the problem occurs when Outlook notifies you that you can’t move items / these items can’t be moved.outlook-rules-not-moving-emails-to-folder

I know, that’s annoying. That’s why in this article, I’ll discuss the reasons behind this issue and how to resolve emails not moving to the folder issue.

Keep reading till the end.

Why is Outlook not Moving Emails to Folder?

An oversized PST file is the main reason behind Outlook being unable to move emails to a folder. Additionally, when the emails that you want to copy or move are in use for another rule, you can’t move that item. Also, a corrupted rule can stop you from copying/moving emails to a public folder.

Setting up an Outlook rule that forwards emails to a specific folder is utterly important, especially when you have to handle emails from multiple sources.

If your inbox is flooded with numerous sender’s emails, moving their emails to a respective folder is mandatory.

That helps you to sort out the necessary emails. But, when the rules you set on your Outlook client for forwarding emails to a folder don’t work, your inbox gets disorganized.

The described issue happens when the rules refer to a deleted folder or a different rule is being applied first to the emails.

Read the following passages to fix the Outlook rule that fails to move mails to a specific folder.

Also, check out our separate post on how to add Signature in Outlook 365?

How to Fix rule Fails Forward Emails to Folder in Outlook

Delete the other rules for that specific email address to solve the email forwarding failure to a folder issue. Other than that, repair the corrupt PST file in Outlook. Moreover, create a fresh Outlook rule that can move your mailbox to a destined folder.

It’s possible that you don’t know where to begin when trying to resolve the Outlook rules issue.

For that reason, I’ve outlined this article in the manner by following which you can resolve the corrupted Outlook rule easily.

First, make sure the folder where you want to move the emails is available. If you are using multiple email addresses, remove the secondary email and switch to the original mailbox.

Proceed to the following procedure once you’ve completed those steps.

Here are the methods to fix Outlook rules that can’t move emails from inbox to folder:

1. Repair PST File

Oversized or corrupt PST files can lead to your Outlook rule not working for a particular email address. Generally, a PST file can grow up to 50 GB in size. But, Microsoft suggests using 80% of the total storage.

If your PST file exceeds the limit or even close to exceeding that, you might face your emails not moving to the preset folder. Repair the file when that happens.

But you don’t know how to check the PST file size? Go to the File tab on Outlook > Account settings > data file tab > Open file location. In case the PST file exceeds the limit, try the following steps.data-file

Here are the methods to repair PST files:

  • Exit the Outlook client and go to the installed directory. Navigate as the following path, depending on your Office application.

Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office19

Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15

Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14

  • Locate the exe file in the destined folder and launch it.scan-pst
  • Select browse to open the corrupted PST file.scan-pst2
  • Click on Start to initiate the scanning.

Repair the file once you’ve found that. That should solve the Outlook declined moving emails to folder issue.

Note: You can’t utilize this technique if you’re using Outlook 365 (web version). For that, there’s another solution; keep reading to find out.

Quickly check out our epic guide on fix Outlook stuck on loading profile.

2. Clean All Rules for your Email

When you’re using multiple rules for your mailbox, the rules might be conflicting for utilizing different values. Clearing the rules should help you to start fresh. After that, you can set a new inbox rule.

Here’s the procedure to clean Outlook rules for your email:

  • Exit from the Outlook client.
  • Press Windows + R to launch the Run prompt.
  • Type in outlook.exe /cleanrules in the prompt and press Enter.run-prompt

All of the existing rules for your email will be deleted after you follow the procedure. Now, you can set rules that can move emails from a specific sender to an individual folder. Don’t know how to do that? Check out the following section.

Follow our guide to fix switch from New Outlook to Old on Mac.

3. Create a Rule for Moving Emails (Outlook 365)

Supposedly, you’ve cleared the existing rules from your email address. Now, it’s time to set an Outlook rule that can help move messages to a specific folder.

Before trying this on your Outlook client, I recommend applying on Office 365. That will help you determine whether you can forward emails to a folder or not.

Here are the steps to create a rule for forwarding emails to a folder on Outlook 365:

  • Log in to outlook’s official website using valid credentials.
  • Click on the gear icon from the top of the dashboard.
  • Select View all Outlook settings from the right pane.outlook-settings
  • Navigate to Mail > Rules > Add new rule.add-rule
  • Set the rule name as email forward.
  • Click on From in the add a condition drop-down menu. Insert the email address of the desired sender.
  • Select the add action menu and click on move to. A new drop-down menu will appear.
  • Select the folder destination where you want to forward the specific emails.new-rule-365
  • Save the changes to activate the rule.

You are all set. From now on, messages from a particular email will automatically move to the destined folder. If you want to set that also on the Outlook Windows application, read the following section.

Check out our latest fix for Outlook: Your Mailbox is Over Its Size Limit Message.

Create an Outlook Rule to Move Emails to Specified Folder

Before you create a new Outlook rule for transferring emails to a certain folder, make sure you disable other rules for that email address. Also, make sure the folder you created for moving emails is available.

Then you can create a new rule to forward emails from a specific address to a folder. Check out the forthcoming method to do that.

By following the method I’m going to share, you can forward emails to a specific folder with a single click. You can use this trick on different Outlook versions, such as Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, and Outlook 2019.

Here’s the procedure to filter a sender’s mail to a certain folder:

  • Launch Outlook and open any email of the sender whose messages you want to forward.
  • Search for rules in the search box and select create rule.create-rule
  • Tick on from (sender’s email id) check box.
  • Mark on move the item to folder box.
  • Choose a folder where you want to move the sender’s email. You can create a new folder. create-rule2
  • Select ok once you assign a folder for emails to move.

From now on, whenever you get messages from that particular sender, the emails will be moved to the folder.

Have any queries regarding the rules not working with your Outlook client? Check out the subsequent section.

But before that, do check our latest post on the how to change Outlook view?

Frequently Asked Question

Why is Outlook not moving emails to folder?

Outlook can’t move emails to folders when multiple rules are assigned for a single mail address.

How do I make a rule move emails into a folder?

Open Outlook > Right-click on the message you want to create a rule for > Create rule > choose the folder where you want to forward the message > Ok.

Do Outlook rules apply to all folders?

Outlook rules run only on your inbox. You can’t assign a rule for email folders.


Let’s sum up; whenever you realize the messages from your mailbox aren’t moving to the destined folder, reset the PST file, clean the previous Outlook rules for that email, and set a new rule for moving emails to a particular folder.

The methods that I described here aren’t complicated at all. Feel free to comment below if you think otherwise. My team will be happy to assist you with your broken Outlook rules.


About The Author
Farhan Max is a tech geek with a particular interest in computer hardware. He's been fascinated by gaming since childhood and is now completing his undergraduate studies while researching and testing the latest tech innovations. Alongside his love for all things geeky, Farhan is also a skilled photographer.

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