Outlook: Arrange Items

Before you start...

In Microsoft Outlook, you can arrange the items in your inbox and folders so that emails you want to be able to see are more easily accessible. Outlook gives you the option to sort items in each folder by specific criteria, such as when it was sent, who it was sent by, or how large it is. By default, all items in your inbox and folders are sorted by date with the most recent items on top.

If you change how Outlook sorts items in one folder, it will not change how other folders are organized. For example, if you change Sent Items to be arranged by size, the Inbox will still be arranged by date.

Change how Outlook arranges items

  1. Navigate to the desired folder in the navigation pane.
  2. Click on the bar that says "Arrange By" in the view pane directly beneath the search bar and directly above the message list.
  3. Select the criteria you want to sort your items by. Your message list will automatically rearrange items by the selected criteria.

Understanding the options

Outlook offers many different options for arranging items:

  • Date: Sorts items by when they were sent or received
  • From: Sorts items in alphabetical order by who sent them
  • To: Sorts items in alphabetical order by who they were sent to
  • Categories: Sorts items by colored categories you assign to them in Outlook
  • Flag Start Date & Due Date: Sorts items by whether or not they are flagged in order of due date (if any)
  • Size: Sorts items by file size
  • Subject: Sorts items in alphabetical order by subject line
  • Type: Sorts items by type, i.e. messages, tasks, and appointments
  • Attachment: Sorts items by whether items have attached files or not
  • Account: Sorts items by which account they were sent from or received in
  • Importance: Sorts items by how important they are marked as being

You can also arrange items to do the following:

  • Show as Conversations: Shows emails with the same subject line in a cluster so that you can view the entire thread of emails in one location
  • Show in Groups: Shows emails that fit under the same search criteria as a group, i.e. if the folder is sorted by date, each date is displayed as a separate group


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