Group and view email in your inbox

Group and view email in your inbox

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Outlook groups messages by date, but you can change that to From, or Subject, or Due Date for flagged items, or even as conversations or in a custom view.

If you use email a lot, you know how important the Message List is. To help you manage your email, Outlook has tools and options you can use to create your ultimate list view.

By default, the list is in Compact view. In this view, each email is in a block with the sender's name on top, the Subject line beneath it, and a one-line message preview at the bottom. In the column on the right, you see the received date, and above that a number of icons that indicate whether the email contains an attachment, which category the email is assigned to, reminders, importance tags, follow-up flags, and so on.

By the way, you can click a Follow Up flag to Mark as complete. A blue bar on the left indicates the email is unread. You can change the read status by clicking that area.

Compact view was designed to show all the essential information about a message in a compact space.

Let's look at a different view.

Click the VIEW tab, Change View, and choose Preview.

The Reading Pane goes away and the information spreads out horizontally in a Table view, with the fields of information in columns, and the messages in rows. This was the default view in previous versions of Outlook.

To go back to the compact view, click Change View and Compact.

Let's look at ways to customize this view. First, there is the Group Control, which lets you choose how to group messages in the list.

By default, messages are grouped by Date, but you can change that to From, for example.

Now, the list is grouped and arranged alphabetically by the name of the Sender. You may want to group email this way to quickly locate emails sent by a particular person. Each group has a header that separates it from the next one.

You can click the triangle next to a header to collapse the group to make the list easier to read.

On the VIEW tab, click Expand/Collapse to collapse all the groups.

Now, it is much easier to locate a sender.

When you find what you are looking for, you can switch back to grouping By Date.

Another way to customize the view is with this button next to the Group Control, which changes the sort order of the list.

Now, the list is sorted starting with the newest, but you can click the button to sort it in the opposite direction.

Let's look at some other grouping options. First, Categories.

Go to the HOME tab, and click Categorize. Here, you can create categories and assign them to messages. Then, if you want to quickly locate all the email in a category, you can click the Group Control and select Categories.

If you use Follow Up flags, you can click the Group Control, and select Flag: Due Date to quickly see all the email with the flags due today.

One last thing. Want to quickly find all your unread mail? Click Unread.

Up next, we'll explore another way to group and view email messages by showing them as conversations.

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