Thread in Outlook

Thread in Outlook

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This article describes how to organize your Outlook email messages into conversation threads so that you don’t have to search for all messages associated with a conversation. Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and Outlook for Microsoft 365 are all supported.

  • View Mail Grouped by Conversation Thread in Outlook
  • Include Conversations About Your Sent Mail (and Other Folders)
  • How Is Conversation View Implemented?
  • Additional Conversation View Configurations
  • The ‘Show as Conversations’ option is disabled. What Am I to Do?

View Mail Grouped by Conversation Thread in Outlook

Outlook gathers messages from multiple days and folders into a conversation and then displays them all together.

  1. To begin, open Outlook and navigate to the View tab.
  2. Select Show as Conversations from the Messages group.
  3. Select This folder to enable conversation view for the current folder only.
  4. Alternatively, select All mailboxes to immediately apply conversation view to all your Outlook folders.

Include Conversations About Your Sent Mail (and Other Folders)

Outlook can be configured to group messages together in a single folder and to draw from other folders, including Sent Items.

  1. To begin, open Outlook and navigate to the View tab.
  2. Select Show as Conversations from the Messages group.
  3. Select Conversation Settings from the menu.
  4. Check the box labeled Show Messages from Other Folders.

How Is Conversation View Implemented?

Conversations are indicated by an arrow to the left of the conversation’s most recent message. To view the remainder of the conversation’s messages, click the arrow to expand the thread. To conceal the thread, select the arrow a second time.

Unread messages are highlighted in bold; similarly, any collapsed conversation with at least one unread message is highlighted in bold.

Outlook can be configured to remove redundant, quoted messages; you can also delete and mute Outlook threads to streamline conversations.

Additional Conversation View Configurations

The Conversation Settings menu now includes the following additional options:

  • Display Senders’ Names Above the Subject: In a thread, Outlook displays the From: line first, followed by the Subject line. When this option is disabled, the subject lines are displayed above the sender names.
  • Always Expand Selected Conversation: When you open an Outlook message, it is expanded to show all the emails in the conversation.
  • Use the Indented Classic View: Outlook displays threads as a list with replies indented beneath the messages they respond to. When this option is disabled, threads are displayed in a flat list format.

The ‘Show as Conversations’ option is disabled. What Am I to Do?

Only when the emails in a folder are sorted by date can Outlook group conversations by thread. If the messages are arranged differently, the Show as Conversations option is grayed out and inaccessible.

To enable Conversations, modify the view as follows:

  1. Select Change View from the View tab.
  2. Under Save Current View As a New View, click Save Current View As a New View.
  3. Give the view a name that will help you remember its settings, and then click OK.
  4. Select Date from the Arrangement group.
  5. Emails are sorted chronologically, and messages can be viewed as conversation threads.

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