Inbox Rules conflict between web and desktop versions of Outlook

Copper Contributor

When I open my desktop version I keep getting messages for EVERY Rule I've created, saying: "There was an error reading the rules from the server. The format of the server rules was not recognized."

On the advise of a MS 365 instructor I had replaced all of my desktop rules in the web version, although I had liked the desktop rules better, because they offered more features, features that I really need. 


But now I get more error message than ever. Any suggestions?

4 Replies

Hi @sybil41,


I am an independent advisor investigating your inquiry.


I was unable to recreate your issue to investigate thoroughly.  However, I found two articles that may help you.


Article #1: There was an error reading the rules from the server. The format of - Microsoft Communit...
Article #2 Microsoft outlook - There was an error reading the rules from the server - Super User

If you find these articles helpful, please like this post which will help others with the same issue.



Thank you Teresa. Unfortunately I found no way to export my rules to a local file. Thus ended up deleting all 60+ individually. Remaining question is: when I re-create them will I be prompted to select between server or client only. Selecting the latter option was suggested in that same solution.
But thanks all the same



Sorry to hear that you had to delete all rules.

Create all of your rules in Outlook Online. Do a couple of them first, then repeat. Run the rules after several entries so you can determine the "one - it's always one bad apple" that may be corrupted.  Make sure none of the rules are on the Outlook Windows version. You will see the following message in Outlook Online Rules. 


Let me know how it goes.  




I had done just that a couple weeks ago. Although I hadn’t liked to do so, because there are far fewer options in the web version. At first that had seemed to work. Then it started the same nonsense all over again. I think Microsoft needs to do something about making these rules compatible.