Arrange and group items

When you view your list of messages or other items, you can select the arrangement and grouping of items, or create more complex custom arrangements.

Do any of the following:

Arrange items

When you arrange items, Outlook sorts them in order by a field that you select. If the field contains text, the items are arranged in alphabetical order.

  1. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click Mail, Contacts, Tasks or Notes.

  2. On the Organize tab, click Arrange By, and then click an option.

    Organize tab, group 2

    Notes: 

    • If the reading pane is on the right, you can also arrange items by clicking the Arrange By heading at the top of the item list.

    • If the reading pane is below or hidden, you can add or remove columns in the item list. On the View menu, point to Columns, and then select or remove the check mark for each column.

    • If the reading pane is below or hidden, you can also arrange items by clicking the heading of the column that you want to arrange by. A triangle in that heading indicates whether the list is sorted in ascending or descending order.

Group messages

When you group a message list, a heading appears between each group. For example, if you group messages by flag status, the messages are separated into groups labeled "Flagged," Completed," and "No Flag." You can expand and collapse the groups within the message list.

  1. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click Mail  Mail view button .

  2. In the folder list, click a mail folder.

  3. On the Organize tab, click Arrange By, and then click Show in Groups.

    Organize tab, group 2

    To hide all the messages in a group, click the triangle next to the group name in the item list.

    Notes: 

    • You cannot group messages if they are arranged by conversation.

    • By default, messages within a group are sorted by date. To change the sort order within a groups, you can create a custom arrangement.

    • If the reading pane is below or hidden, you can add or remove columns in the item list. On the View menu, point to Columns, and then select or remove the check mark for each column.

Create a custom arrangement for messages

Custom arrangements give you more control and flexibility for displaying messages. For example, messages within a group are generally sorted by date. But you can create a custom arrangement in which messages are grouped by flag status, but sorted within the group by priority.

  1. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click Mail  Mail view button .

  2. In the folder list, click the mail folder for which you want to create a custom arrangement.

  3. On the Organize tab, click Arrange By, point to Custom Arrangements, and then click Edit Custom Arrangements.

    Organize tab, group 2

  4. Click New  Add button .

  5. Type a name, select the options that you want, and then click OK.

  6. Close the Custom Arrangements dialog box.

  7. On the Organize tab, click Arrange By, point to Custom Arrangements, and then click the arrangement that you created.

See also

Customize the Outlook window

Filter messages or tasks

Save a search by using a Smart Folder

Filter items by category

About organizing in Outlook

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