Working with message folders in Outlook.com

If you want to organize your messages in Outlook.com, you can create new folders or rename, move, or delete existing folders. You can also set up rules so that Outlook.com automatically moves messages into folders depending on conditions that you specify.

Default folders

By default, your account starts with these folders:

Default mail folders under Favorites
  • Inbox Incoming messages arrive in your Inbox unless you’ve created an Inbox rule to redirect them to another folder, or they’re identified as junk email.

  • Clutter Helps you filter mail based on how you handled incoming messages in the past. When turned on, the email server keeps track of messages you read or don't read. Messages you don't read are moved to the Clutter folder.

  • Sent Items By default, a copy of every message you send is put in your Sent Items folder.

  • Deleted Items When you delete a message, it’s moved to the Deleted Items folder.

  • Drafts If you create or respond to a message, but can’t finish it right away, it will automatically be saved to your Drafts folder. You can come back to the message later to continue editing it, and then send it.

  • Junk Email Messages that have junk email characteristics but that aren’t blocked by a spam filter before they reach your mailbox will automatically be moved to this folder. The Learn about junk email and phishing article has more information about your Junk Email folder.

Shortcut menus for folders

Most of what you can do with a folder can be found in the shortcut (context) menu that appears when you choose a folder and right-click.

  • Create new subfolder Use to create a new subfolder in the folder you right-clicked.

  • Rename Give the folder a different name. Default folders, such as the Inbox folder, can't be renamed.

  • Delete Moves the folder and all its contents to Deleted Items.

  • Delete all Moves all the items in the selected folder to Deleted Items.

  • Move Opens a window so you can move the selected folder to a new location in the folder hierarchy. You also can select and drag a folder to a new location.

    Note: The next time you sign in, folders you created will be arranged in alphabetical order.

  • Mark all as read Marks as read all items in the selected folder.

Create a folder

Create new folders to organize your messages as you like. For example, you can create a folder for a specific project, for all messages from a particular person, or for all messages sent to a distribution group that you’re a member of.

Create a new folder

  1. Next to Folders, click Create new folder The Create new folder button . The Create new folder button .

    A screenshot of the Create new folder button in Outlook.com.

  2. In the new folder box, enter a name for the folder and then press Enter.

Create a new subfolder

  1. Below Folders, right-click the folder to which you want to add a subfolder.

    A screenshot of the cursor hovering over a folder in the navigation pane in Outlook.com.

  2. Select Create new subfolder.

  3. In the new folder box, enter a name for the folder and press Enter.

Rename a folder

Note: You can't rename default folders such as Inbox, Drafts, or Deleted Items.

  1. Under Folders, right-click the folder you want to rename.

    A screenshot of the cursor hovering over a folder in the navigation pane in Outlook.com.

  2. Select Rename.

  3. Enter a name for the folder and press Enter.

Move a folder

You can drag a folder to a new spot in your folder hierarchy, or you can use the Move option in the shortcut menu.

Note: The next time you sign in, folders you created will be arranged in alphabetical order.

  1. Below Folders, right-click the folder you want to move.

    A screenshot of the cursor hovering over a folder in the navigation pane in Outlook.com.

  2. Select Move.

  3. In the Move Folder window that opens, choose a new folder to move the folder into, and select Move.

You also can create a new folder to move the folder into by right-clicking the parent folder you want and choosing Create new folder. Use Inbox rules to automatically move incoming messages to specific folders based on criteria you choose.

Delete a folder

Note: You can't delete default folders such as Inbox and Sent Items.

  1. Below Folders, right-click the folder or subfolder you want to delete.

    A screenshot of the cursor hovering over a folder in the navigation pane in Outlook.com.

  2. Select Delete.

  3. Select OK to confirm.

Assign retention and archive policies

Archive and retention policies let you automatically move or delete messages after they’ve been in your mailbox for a certain amount of time. To learn more about these policies and how to assign them, see .

Deleted Items folder

When you delete a message, it’s moved to the Deleted Items folder. You can either manually remove messages from the folder or you can set Outlook.com to automatically empty your Deleted Items folder when you sign out.

Empty your Deleted Items folder when you sign out

  1. At the top of the screen, click Settings Settings icon > Options.

  2. Select Automatic processing > Message options > Empty the Deleted Items folder when I sign out.

  3. Click Save Create group button .

To learn how to restore deleted messages, see Restore deleted email messages in Outlook.com.

Handling messages

Use commands on the Outlook.com menu bar or set up rules to have Outlook automatically move messages into folders as you receive them.

Use commands to automatically handle messages

Commands like Sweep and Move to let you automatically delete or move messages from a particular sender. Commands appear on the Outlook.commenu bar when you select a message in your inbox.

A screenshot of the menu bar.

  • Sweep lets you quickly delete unwanted emails in your Inbox. When you select a message, you can automatically delete all incoming email from that sender, keep only the latest email and delete the rest, or delete emails older than 10 days.

  • Move to lets you move a message a specific message or automatically move all messages from that sender to another folder.

Set up rules to automatically handle messages

Use rules to automatically move messages into folders as you receive them.

  1. In your inbox, select a message to which you want to assign a rule and click The More commands icon. on the Outlook menu bar.

    A screenshot of the More commands button on the Outlook menu bar.

  2. Click Create rule. The New inbox rule dialog box (form) opens.

    • Name Shows the name of the sender.

    • When the message arrives, and it matches all of these conditions By default, three conditions are set for the received message. Select the arrows to choose other conditions. If you want to use more conditions, choose Add condition.

    • Do all of the following By default, one of three predefined actions is set. Select the arrow to choose other actions. If you want to add another action, choose Add action.

    • Except if it matches any of these conditions By default, no exceptions are set. Select the arrow to set an exception to the conditions above. Choose Add exception if more than one is needed.

    • Stop processing more rules By default, the check box is selected. When this is selected, subsequent rules will be ignored, even if they apply to the message.

  3. Click OK to save the rule. Depending on the structure of your account, you might receive a warning about modifying your rules. If necessary, consult your administrator.

Note: If you need to move messages out of your mailbox but want to save them, you can use Outlook and to save your messages to a .pst file. The messages will be available only when you’re using Outlook and can access the .pst file. For more information, see Introduction to Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost), and Create an Outlook Data File (.pst) to save your information.

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