How to view email grouped by message thread in Outlook

Contents
  1. Keep your Outlook emails organized
  2. View email grouped by message thread in Outlook
  3. Include sent mail (and other folders) in dialog boxes
  4. How does a conversation work?
  5. Other Conversation View Settings
  6. “Show as conversations” is grayed out. What can I do?

Keep your Outlook emails organized

Instead of searching for all messages related to a conversation in multiple folders, such as Inbox, Archive, and Sent Items, Outlook organizes and groups messages that belong to the same conversation.

The instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; and Outlook for Office 365.

View email grouped by message thread in Outlook

Outlook collects messages in a multi-day conversation and folders and then displays them all together.

  1. Start Outlook and go to the tab Vision

  2. In the Messages group, select View as conversations

  3. To enable conversation view for the current folder only, select this folder

  4. Or, to immediately apply the conversation view to all Outlook folders, select All mailboxes

Include sent mail (and other folders) in dialog boxes

Set Outlook to group messages in one folder and draw from other folders, including Sent Items.

  1. Start Outlook and go to the tab Vision

  2. In a group To inform select View as conversations

  3. Select Call Settings

  4. Select View messages from other folders

How does a conversation work?

Conversations appear as an arrow to the left of the most recent message in the conversation. To see other messages in the conversation, click the arrow to expand the thread. Select the arrow a second time to hide the subject.

Unread messages are in bold; any collapsed conversation with at least one unread message is also shown in bold.

To make the conversation easier, Outlook should delete unnecessary, quoted messages; For irrelevant topics, Outlook can also delete future messages automatically.

Other Conversation View Settings

There are a few more options in the call settings menu:

  • Show senders above subject † Outlook shows From: names first, followed by subject lines in a chain. If this option is disabled, subject lines appear above the senders’ names.
  • Always expand the selected conversation † Outlook Messages expands to show all emails in a conversation when opened.
  • Using classic view with padding † Outlook displays threads in the reply list, indented below the messages they reply to. If this option is disabled, streams are displayed as a flat list.

“Show as conversations” is grayed out. What can I do?

Outlook can group conversations in a thread only if the emails in the folder are sorted by date. If messages are organized differently, View as conversations is grayed out and cannot be reviewed.

To change the view to record conversations:

  1. Go to the tab Vision and select Change perspective

  2. Select Save current view as new view

  3. Enter a name for the view that helps you identify the settings, then select Okay

  4. In a group Place select date of

  5. Your emails are arranged by date order and you can view messages as threads.

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