Why does updating Outlook Rules take so long?

Office for Mere Mortals helps people around the world get more from Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Delivered once a week. free.

When you update your Outlook rules with Exchange Server, why does it take so damn long and you have to wait?

Each time you change your email processing rules, Outlook for Windows/Mac has to update the server.  But it takes an unreasonably long time, even when there’s only a few rules being updated across a fast internet connection.

why does updating outlook rules take so long 16311 - Why does updating Outlook Rules take so long?

If you’ve got more rules and a slower Internet connection it can take a long time.

Modal Dialog

The update time would be OK if it happened in the background, but it doesn’t.  You can’t do anything else in Outlook/Win until the update is done.

For reasons passing understanding, the entire Rules part of Outlook is Modal.  That’s nerd speak for the windows being locked.  You can’t switch to another part of Outlook while you’ve got the Rules configuration dialog open.  That makes it hard to check email details while editing a rule to work with some emails.  And you can’t break in the middle of editing rules to do other Outlook work.

There’s no good reason for this.  Rules don’t need to be modal, it’s just a hangover from early Outlook’s where everything was modal.

Microsoft hasn’t bothered to fix Rules and updating them to Exchange Server because it’s not worth the development costs.  Customers will still buy Outlook, so why spend the money?

Fixing Rules doesn’t fit with Redmond current marketing jargon – unless it’s related to ‘cloud’ ‘collaboration’ or best of all, ‘AI’ then Microsoft isn’t interested.

Want More?

Office Watch has the latest news and tips about Microsoft Office. Independent since 1996. Delivered once a week.