View email messages by conversation in Outlook 2016 for Mac

When you arrange or group messages by conversation, messages in a folder that share the same subject appear together in the message list. The messages within each conversation are sorted with the newest message on top. When a new message is received, the entire conversation moves to the top of your message list.

Collapsed conversations appear with a right-facing arrow Right-facing arrow, collapsed message , and expanded conversations appear with a down-facing arrow Down-facing arrow, expanded message . Click the arrows to expand or collapse conversations.

Read messages that are part of a conversation

When you click on a conversation header in the message list, the conversation index shows in the reading pane. The conversation index shows one line for each message in the conversation, with each line displaying the message sender and the first few words from the message body.


Do this

Expand or collapse a conversation in the message list

Click Expand  Right-facing arrow, collapsed message or Collapse  Down-facing arrow, expanded message next to the conversation heading.

Show the conversation index in the reading pane

In the message list, click the conversation heading.

Read a single message from the conversation

In the message list or the conversation index, click the message.

Return to the conversation index in the reading pane

In the reading pane, at the top of the message, click the Conversation  Conversation icon icon.


  • To set preferences for how conversations are displayed in the message list, on the Outlook menu, click Preferences, and then under Email, click Reading. Under Conversations, select the preferences that you want.

  • Messages in the Junk E-Mail and Deleted Items folders are not included in conversations.

Turn off viewing by conversation

  • On the Organize tab, click Conversations.

    Conversations button

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