What Does Sweep Mean in Outlook? [How To Sweep Emails Using Rule?]

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Sweep is a feature within Outlook that allows you to view emails that are older than a specified number of days, preventing you from accidentally deleting an email.

You can find Sweep under the Tools tab in Outlook, or right-click any email in your inbox and select the Sweep option from the context menu.

Removing (deleting) or moving unwanted emails from specific senders email in pattern method in Outlook 365 (OWA), sweep function use to delete or move the emails using rules.

In this article, you will learn complete information on “What does sweep do in Outlook? & How to sweep emails using Rule?“.

What does sweep do in Outlook?

Sweep is the inbuilt feature in Outlook 365 on the web to clear unwanted emails, Sweep is a tool designed to set rules from the specific senders. Outlook Sweep Clear Batches of Automated Replies, Clear Delivery Failure Messages. 

Outlook Sweep Option

You can select a message and click the Sweep icon, here are the four options designed for the specific sender.

  • Delete all messages from the Inbox folder.
  • Delete all messages from the Inbox folder and any future messages.
  • Always keep the latest message and delete the rest from the Inbox folder.
  • Always delete messages older than 10 days from the Inbox folder.

Where is Sweep in Outlook Toolbar?

Once you select the email from a specific folder, Sweep (delete) icon is available on the menu bar at the top of the screen. This option is only available in OWA (Outlook Web Application).

Where is Sweep in Outlook Toolbar

How Sweep work? [Step by Step Tutorial]

The Sweep function runs once every 24 hours and allows you to create rules for any folder in your email account. Here you go to how it works ~

  • Open the Outlook web application, and log in to your account (it is not mandatory to have a licensed account, you can use the free version too).
  • Select the email you like to perform the following actions, and click sweep.

Sweep allows you to take specific actions and move emails from desired senders to the (selected) folder, where the emails will be moved to.

Outlook Sweep consists of four options that you have learned above, now explore more about it.

  1. Move all messages from the inbox folder
  2. Move all messages from the inbox folder AND any future message
  3. Always keep the latest message and move the rest from the inbox folder
  4. Always move messages older than 10 days from the inbox folder

How Sweep Works

Move Messages to Specific Folder

The “Move to” drop-down menu at the bottom of the panel contains the system default folders like “Deleted items” and “Archived”. You can also search for any other folder you have set up, or create a new one.

Move all messages from the inbox folder

An empty Inbox is something that many people strive for. You can delete all messages in your Inbox at once by moving them to your designated folder.

This operation using Sweep rules is effective as it takes away the hassle of selecting one message at a time.

You may find the Sweep function useful if you want to delete all messages from your Inbox. To do this, simply run the Sweep rule to move all messages from the Inbox folder to the Deleted Items folder.

By default, Outlook deletes all messages received from the selected sender or you can archive or shift all the mail messages into the New folder.

Once you make the decision to move all messages from the inbox folder, be sure to select the folder, sometimes accidentally select Deleted Items when you did not intend to delete the messages

You can also shift all those email messages into different folders (Junk mail, draft, sent items), Simply Click OK.

Move all messages from the inbox folder

Move all messages from the inbox folder and any future messages:

This functionality is a one-time execution. If you want to move your Inbox messages now and in the future, you will need to use the second option.

This rule will do the same as the first option but in addition, will also delete/move emails received from the same sender in the future also.

Move all messages from the inbox folder and any future messages

Always keep the latest message and move the rest from the Inbox folder:

The function does what it says it will. If you get the latest messages, they will stay in your Inbox, while the older messages will be moved to a folder that you have chosen. For example, you may want to set it to go to the Deleted Items folder, which will clear up your mailbox.

This function may not be helpful when trying to understand other people’s messages, as you often get emails about a variety of topics. However, it can be useful when dealing with reminder emails or regular alert messages.

You can create a folder for alerts and run a Sweep rule to clear it out periodically. If you are constantly emailing back and forth with the same sender, this rule will keep your inbox uncluttered.

Always keep the latest message and delete the rest

Always move messages older than 10 days from the Inbox folder:

In most cases, some people spend the majority of the time deleting these emails or marking them as “read” just to get rid of them. It is easy to feel quite overwhelmed when you have so many messages to read.

Under this rule, Outlook keeps all the messages from the specific sender for 10 days or earlier, later on, the messages will be deleted or moved according to the selected folder from the dropdown list. 

There are plenty of emails that, if you don’t deal with them within a week or so, won’t get dealt with at all. Therefore, why not move them out of your Inbox automatically?

Always delete messages older than 10 days

These are a few methods to remove junk mail messages.

Note: Sweep rules run once per day.

You have the freedom to use the four Sweep functions however you see fit. This makes the feature very powerful and useful. You can create various rules and tailor them to your needs. You can apply these rules to any folder except for your sent emails.

How to Disable & Delete a Sweep Rule?

Once you created a rule and like to edit or to see all of your Sweep rules and delete them, here are the steps:

  • Open Outlook on the Web.
  • Click Gear Icon from the top right-hand corner of the screen. Outlook gear icon
  • Click View all Outlook settings, from the bottom of the screen.

How to Disable & Delete a Sweep Rule

  • Starting from Left, Click Mail >> Click Sweep
  • You observe an active list of sweep rules on the extreme right side of the screen. You can turn off/Disable the Rule or Click the trash can icon next to the rule you want to delete.

Delete a Sweep Rule

Most people ask, Why are Outlook sweep rules not working?

The Answer is – everything is set but unfortunately, it’s disabled, So keep it going once a day, always keep it enabled.

Outlook Sweep Missing

Recently, I purchase Office 365. and my primary email account is Gmail, I logged in to the Outlook web application, and found there are a few features, not available, such as “SWEEP” because Gmail is an IMAP account. I created an outlook email address and the features are ON.

In case you are using an IMAP email account, you definitely encounter the same issue.

You can also organize your email using inbox rules. For example, you can create rules that will automatically move messages to other folders, or even delete them based on certain criteria.

Managing and cleaning spam emails smartly keep your inbox clear using the sweep tool is a real game-changer.

Final Words

In conclusion, Outlook uses “sweep” for email messages that are listed in folders, but not folders that are listed. The “Sweep” option is only available for folders.

If the folder you want to sweep is inside a folder, Outlook won’t be able to sweep it. However, you can move the message inside the folder you want to sweep.

It’s an Awesome built-in tool to keep your inbox clean.

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