Organise your mail with rules

Feature tips

This is the sixteenth post in the 2017 FastMail Advent series. The previous post talked about 2FA and why a password isn't enough. Next up we peek into the mind of Kourtnee: support agent.


In a world full of rules, we’re letting you make them … but only when mail is delivered to your account!

At FastMail when somebody sends you an email we make sure you receive it as quickly as possibly.

The good news is that we also give you a range of options to decide how mail is managed as it arrives.

Why would I want to use rules?

Rules help you to better manage your inbox, and it’s especially helpful if you also use aliases or custom domains.

Instead of receiving all your mail straight into your inbox you can build and create rules to organise, forward or discard mail – such as filing it into a folder or forwarding it to another account.

FastMail’s rules work based on the conditions you specify and then the
actions you want to occur, should a message meet those conditions.

Examples of a condition might be a sender’s name, recipient’s address or
message attachment.

Once the rule condition has been met, the rule action is applied to the message. There are three message actions – move (to help organise mail), send a copy (to forward mail) and delete.

Let’s take a quick look at how these actions might be used:

Organise mail

In addition to your main username you might also use aliases and custom domains such as: info@yourdomain.com, billing@yourdomain.com and name@myotherdomain.com.

Instead of having all of these different email addresses pile up in your inbox you could create folders for ‘General Enquiries’, ‘Billing’ and any additional domains your account uses. You can then create a rule action for each address to move each message into the corresponding folder, keeping your mailbox nice and organised.

Forward mail

You might want to forward, or redirect, all or some of your email to another account (and benefit from FastMail’s spam filtering in the process). This might be to a backup email account or another primary email account you use.

Note: If you do forward mail, please be aware that if you select the option to delete the message the message will be permanently deleted from your account after it has been forwarded, unless an "Organise" rule applies to the message.

Discard mail

No mysteries here: using the discard rule means a message is permanently deleted if it matches any of the discard rules you have created. No further rules will be processed, even if they would have otherwise applied to the message.

Permanently deleted mail is not filed into trash and the delete action cannot be undone. Only create a discard rule if you have made sure that the only mail targeted by this rule is definitely unwanted.

How to create rules for your account

Open the Settings->Rules screen on the FastMail web interface.

You’ll then see the three sections: Discard, Forward and Organise. When you discard, forward or organise your mail, you create a rule that only applies to messages which match a set of conditions.

Now click on the New Rule button in the blue menu bar at the top of the screen to create your rule.

You can also create a rule from your email, based on the current message, using the More button, and then selecting the Add Rule from Message... option from the dropdown menu.

This lets you quickly build a rule based on the sender, recipient, subject or mailing list identifier of that message.

Advanced users with more complicated needs can also use the edit custom sieve code link to access the Sieve management page for filtering incoming emails by things such as time-based rules.

Once rules are built via the web interface, they continue to function even if you then access your FastMail account from another email client.

Note that while rules only work with new mail as it is delivered – you can’t run rules over existing mail - it is still a very powerful and popular FastMail feature.

You can also find more information on our rules help page.