Focused Inbox for Outlook

Contributors: Image of Tricia Gill
Last updated: October 11, 2017

Focused Inbox separates your inbox into two tabs—Focused and Other. Your most important emails are on the Focused tab while the rest remain easily accessible—but out of the way—on the Other tab. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs at any time to take a quick look.

Question mark indicates help content How do I turn off Focused Inbox?

How does Focused Inbox work?

Focused Inbox works with you to prioritize what's most important. What lands in Focused Inbox is based on the content of the email (e.g., newsletters, machine-generated email, and so on) and who you interact with most often. If you need to fine-tune your Focused Inbox, Move to Focused and Move to Other options are available to do that.

Get instructions for your version of Outlook

Outlook 2016

Turn Focused Inbox on

  1. In Outlook 2016, select the View tab.

  2. Select Show Focused Inbox.

    Show Focused Inbox button on View tab

    The Focused and Other tabs will appear at the top of your mailbox. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs any time to take a quick look.

    Focused and Other tabs are at the top of the inbox when Show Focused Inbox is selected

Change how your messages get organized

  1. From your inbox, select the Focused or Other tab, and then right-click the message you want to move.

  2. If moving from Focused to Other, choose Move to Other if you want only the selected message moved. Choose Always Move to Other if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.

    If moving from Other to Focused, choose Move to Focused if you want only the selected message moved. Choose Always Move to Focused if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Focused tab.

    Side-by-side view of the Move and Always Move options

See Focused Inbox in action

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Outlook on the web

Turn Focused Inbox on

  1. Open Outlook on the web.

    Primary view of Outlook on the web
  2. Select Settings icon > Display settings > Focused Inbox.

  3. Under When email is received, select Sort messages into Focused and Other. The Focused and Other tabs will appear at the top of your mailbox. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs any time to take a quick look.

    On the Display Settings page you can turn Focused Inbox on or off

  4. Click OK.

Change how your messages get organized

  1. From your inbox, select the Focused or Other tab, and then right-click the message you want to move.

  2. If moving a single message from Focused to Other, choose Move to Other inbox. Choose Always move to Other inbox if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.

    If moving a single message from Other to Focused, choose Move to Focused inbox. Choose Always move to Focused inbox if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Focused tab.

    Move to Focused and Move to Other options in Outlook on the web

Outlook.com, Hotmail.com

Turn Focused Inbox on

  1. Open Outlook.com or Hotmail.com.

    Primary Outlook.com or Hotmail.com screen
  2. Select Settings icon > Display settings > Focused Inbox.

  3. Under When email is received, select Sort messages into Focused and Other. The Focused and Other tabs will appear at the top of your mailbox. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs any time to take a quick look.

    On the Display Settings page you can turn Focused Inbox on or off

  4. Click OK.

Change how your messages get organized

  1. From your inbox, select the Focused or Other tab, and then right-click the message you want to move.

  2. If moving a single message from Focused to Other, choose Move to Other inbox. Choose Always move to Other inbox if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.

    If moving a single message from Other to Focused, choose Move to Focused inbox. Choose Always move to Focused inbox if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Focused tab.

    Move to Focused and Move to Other options in Outlook on the web

Outlook 2016 for Mac

Turn Focused Inbox on

  1. Open Outlook 2016 for Mac.

  2. On the Organize tab, select Focused inbox.

    Focused Inbox button on the Organize tab of the ribbon

    The Focused and Other tabs will appear at the top of your inbox. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs any time to take a quick look.

Note: You can set the badge count—the count of unread mail—to include only the messages in the Focused list. See Outlook > Preferences > Notifications and Sounds > Badge count to adjust this setting.

Change how your messages get organized

  1. From your inbox, select the Focused tab, and then select the message you want to move.

  2. Select Message > Move to Other if you want only the selected message moved. Choose Message > Always Move to Other if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.

    Select Message >Move to Focused if you want only the selected message moved. Choose Message > Always Move to Focused if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Focused tab.

    THe two choices on the Move to Focused menu are Move to Focused and Always Move to Focused

Mail for Windows 10

Turn Focused Inbox on

  1. In Mail for Windows 10, choose Settings button in Mail and Calendar for Windows 10 > Reading.

  2. Slide Sort messages into Focused and Other to On.

    Turn focused inbox on or off with the slider under Sort Messages into Focused and Other

    The Focused and Other tabs will appear at the top of your inbox. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs any time to take a quick look.

Move messages from Focused to Other

  1. From your inbox, select the Focused tab, and then right-click the message you want to move.

  2. Choose one of the following:

    • Choose Move to Other if you want only the selected message moved.

    • Choose Always Move to Other if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.

Move messages from Other to Focused

  1. From your inbox, select the Other tab, and then right-click the message you want to move.

  2. Choose one of the following:

    • Choose Move to Focused if you want only the selected message moved.

    • Choose Always Move to Focused if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Focused tab.

Frequently asked questions

All versions of Outlook that receive feature updates will soon become Focused Inbox capable (e.g., Office 365 versions of Office 2016 for Windows or Mac, Outlook on the web, the Outlook apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, and Windows 10 Mail). You'll see Focused Inbox once your mailbox is enabled for it. If you're using an Office 365 email account in an enterprise, your admin might have disabled Focused Inbox for your organization. Contact your admin for assistance or see Configure Focused Inbox for everyone in your organization (admin).

Focused Inbox will replace Clutter. After switching, you'll no longer receive less important email in the Clutter folder. Instead, email will be split between the Focused and Other tabs in your inbox. The same algorithm that moved items to the Clutter folder now powers Focused Inbox, meaning that any emails that were set to move to Clutter will now be moved to Other. Any messages already in your Clutter folder will remain there until you decide to delete or move them.

You can keep using Clutter for now. Eventually, Clutter will be replaced by Focused Inbox.

Yes. You will be able to turn on Focused Inbox as described in the instructions above.

Yes. As soon as you enable Focused Inbox, you’ll see the Focused and Other tabs at the top of your Inbox. The more you use Focused Inbox, the smarter it gets about how it organizes your messages. You can also teach Outlook what matters most to you by moving emails between Focused and Other, and setting overrides to make sure emails from certain senders always show up in a particular destination.

Nothing will change in Outlook for iOS or Android. As our Outlook desktop and web apps are updated to include Focused Inbox, the content of your Focused and Other tabs will be the same across all your Outlook clients.

Related Topics

Turn off Focused Inbox
Focused Inbox for Outlook Mobile

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