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ARCHIVED: In Microsoft Outlook, what options do I have for arranging the contents of my folders?

You may want to organize the messages in your Outlook folders into categories for easier handling. For example, you can group all the messages from a specific mailing list; you can then organize those messages by subject, and then by sender. Outlook has handy features for such organization. For information on a simpler way of sorting the contents of a folder, see ARCHIVED: In Microsoft Outlook or OWA, how can I change the order in which my messages are listed in the folder?

Outlook 2010 and 2007 have the following default groupings for folders: "Today", "Yesterday", the previous days of the week ending with Sunday, "Last Week", "Two Weeks Ago", "Three Weeks Ago", "Earlier this Month", "Last Month", and "Older". This document shows you how to group by additional fields and/or criteria.

Grouping items

To arrange the order of your items:

  1. In Outlook 2010 and 2007, the Folder List view is the default view.

    In Outlook 2003, if the Folder List is not visible, from the Go menu, select Folder List.

  2. Highlight the folder in which items will be grouped.

  3. In Outlook 2010, from the View tab, select View Settings.

    In Outlook 2007, from the View menu, select Current View, and then select Customize Current View.

    In Outlook 2003, from the View menu, select Arrange By, then select Current View, and then select Customize Current View.

  4. The Advanced View Settings: Compact or Customize View window will open. Click Group By... .

  5. The Group By window will open, displaying four grouping options and one sorting option. By default, no grouping is enabled, and items are sorted in descending order by their received date.

Grouping levels and sorting

After you uncheck Automatically group according to arrangement, you can specify up to four levels of grouping. You can also choose criteria for additional sorting after grouping. Grouping levels are hierarchical. First, Outlook will group all messages according to the primary criterion. Then messages that have the same value according to that criterion are further grouped according to the secondary criterion, and so forth. To disable any or all groupings, select None.

For sorting, you have the same options, plus Received, Size, and Conversation Thread. You cannot use the same option twice. Once you have selected all of your grouping and sorting options, click OK.

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Last modified on November 16, 2012.

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