Get the most from Plus addresses in Outlook

Outlook for Windows/Mac has features that work well with email plus or disposable addresses.

Plus addresses let you make sub-addresses that come to the same mailbox see What are email Plus addresses and how to use them for details.

Outlook Rules with plus addresses

Most Outlook Rules are based on the senders address but there are options to use the incoming or Recipients address.

Make a New Rule, ignore the simple choices and go to Advanced Options

Under ‘Which conditions do you want to check?’ choose

  • With specific words in the recipients address …

Type as much of the plus address to make it unique. Either the whole address or part of it. In our example, all these tests should work:

The last two are a little ‘risky’ because they might apply to other plus addresses made in the future (e.g.  [email protected] would apply to the last two rules.

We suggest testing for a string ending with @ to prevent most accidental rule triggers.

What to do with a plus address

Click Next to see all the options for ‘What do you want to do with the message’.

A common choice is automatically moving to another folder with the option ‘… move it to the specified folder.’.

Other useful options are:

  • … assign it to a Category
  • … mark it as read
  • … flag message for follow up
  • … display a desktop alert (for urgent messages)

Conditional Formatting

Outlook conditional formatting can highlight (or diminish) messages according to the TO: address. 

Start at View | View Settings | Conditional Formatting.

There are two ways to filter for a particular TO: address.

On the Advanced tab choose To (Field | Frequently used fields), Contains then the text of the plus address (same as the rule conditions above).

Or, make a contact for the incoming Plus address then select that contact on the Filter | Messages tab under To:

Disposable addresses

Email Plus addresses are great for temporary uses, like accounts that you only need for a short time (like public Wifi login).   + addresses are sometimes called ‘disposable’ addresses but they are only disposable if you make a rule to delete the incoming messages.

Once you’ve used the address to confirm an account etc, later marketing emails can be ignored either sending them to a special ‘Promotions’ folder, the Junk Email folder or Delete entirely.

We’ve shown how to move to a specific folder above.  Use that method to move a message to the Junk Email folder.

Automatically delete an incoming message using the ‘Delete it’ option.

Don’t use ‘Permanently delete’ just in case you need to recover a message or the rule accidently traps a message you need.

How to get ‘Plus’ email addresses, the new feature in Microsoft 365 and
What are email Plus addresses and how to use them
A simple check for Plus addressing with your email address
What can you put in your email address?

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