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In Notes mail, rules help you filter your mail, which can help you deal with spam, junk mail, and large amounts of mail from the same sender or about the same topic, etc. This article gives you some Dos and Don'ts, so you can be the most successful with rules.
For instructions on how to set up rules, see the help topic Filtering new mail using rules
This is a living document, feel free to add your own dos and don'ts too!
Dos and Don'ts
- Do not create more then 100 rules (see item 2 below) - While you may not receive an error when exceeding this limit, the server router will not complete processing of all your rules over the 100 rule limit. Also, the more rules you have, the slower the router will run, since it has more work to do. Your administrator may change the limit, using Notes.ini MailMaxFilters=n, but your router will still run more slowly if you have a lot of rules.
- Remember that all rules are stored in the same place -- the Mail and Calendar Preferences Profile Document. This means that it is not just about keeping rules under 100 but also about keeping rules small. Rules with lots of conditions and actions can also cause you to hit limits, which can result in errors when trying to create new rules.
To avoid going over the limit, follow this advice:
- Avoid creating rules that target specific email addresses - For example, instead of having 50 rules that say move mail from these specific addresses into your Junk folder, you may start with the premise that all email from the internet or from a specific domain (i.e., badthings.com) should be moved to Junk. Then that rule can have exceptions that say except when domain is us.ibm.com, raytheon.com, pwc.com, etc... or when the subject contains....
- Avoid overuse of the "Deliver Sender's Mail to Junk..." rule - This could create a large rule that, as mentioned in #2 above, could you push you over the rule limit. Instead, try using Quick Rules and, more specifically, use it to block by broader criteria like Domain.
- Review and clean-up unnecessary rules on a regular basis - Sometimes you'll create rules for temporary situations, like blocking a particular project distribution list you got added to. The project may have ended months or years ago. So get rid of those rules :)
- Rules should not be a permanent method of handling corporate spam - If you are receiving what looks like some kind of generic broadcast to you and all your peers that you think is SPAM, then you should report it to your administrators and have it blocked at a higher level.
- Get yourself removed from unwanted distributions lists - Many people are put in distributions lists resulting in unwanted mail. A lot of these legitimate lists have either a link or a process for getting yourself removed. It's better to take a minute to get yourself removed from these lists than to create a rule for it. However, clicking any link in spam can be dangerous, so make sure the mail is from a legitimate site (e.g. marketing from a company you've done business with), before clicking a link to remove yourself from the distribution list.
- Fix Rules - If you find a rule is not capturing the email in question, do not add more conditions; try new conditions. For example, if the offending email displays an address of "HR Dept" but blocking the email address "HR Dept" does not work, then remove the "HR Dept" email condition, and look to see if the email subject always begins with certain text like "HR News: ." Then put in a condition that looks for that string in the subject. Or, you can open the email, right-click, select Document Properties, and see the real email address. Sometimes what you see in the Sender field might not be the complete email address.
Thanks to Murray Hurvitz, Brian Richards, and Mike Gagnon. who lent their expertise to this article!