What Is an Email Thread and How to Manage Threads

This article teaches about email threads and how to practise proper email thread etiquette. Also, learn how the Clean Email solution can help declutter your mail and increase email productivity.

What are Email Threading and Unthreading?

Email threading puts all related emails into one group. Kind of like a conversation thread, but more formal, and usually professional.

For example, you can use an email thread to communicate with more than one person about a project or group task.

Email threads make it easier to stay on track of a topic and find specific conversations. They are usually arranged with the most recent response first, meaning you need to stay on track with the conversation, or you may get lost!

When you unthread or split an email thread, all messages will no longer be grouped and will show as separate emails within the inbox. You may want to do this if the thread has gotten too long.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Email Threads

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of email threading.



So, using email threads is a great way for effective email communication with your team, and keep everyone in the loop!

Best Practises for Email Thread Etiquette

When using email threads, you want to ensure you're using proper email thread etiquette to make the most of your group messages.

Typically, email threads are supposed to be professional and to the point.

Learn more about how to send an email without showing recipients and what the email etiquette rules and common email mistakes are.

How to Manage Email Threads

Here's how you can manage email threads using different mail clients on either the web or using your mobile.

Most of the time, email threading is set by default. If you would prefer your emails to be ungrouped, you can choose to turn this setting off.

Gmail threads

Managing email threads with Gmail is simple. Conversation view is turned on by default for Gmail users. This means ‘conversation’ emails will be automatically created into an email thread.

How to manage threads in Gmail on web

  1. Open Gmail in a web browser.
  2. Click the gear icon to open settings, then click See all settings.
  3. Managing email threads with GmailManaging email threads with Gmail
  4. Stay in the General tab and scroll to find Conversation View.
  5. Scroll to find Conversation View for Gmail threadsScroll to find Conversation View for Gmail threads
  6. Here you can choose to turn Conversation View on or off.
  7. Finally, click Save.

How to manage threads in Gmail mobile app

  1. Open the Gmail app on your mobile.
  2. Click the hamburger menu on the top left to open the left-side panel. Then, go to Settings.
  3. Cick on your email account address.
  4. Go to the Conversation View section. Now you can switch the toggle to turn the Conversation View on or off.
  5. Switch the toggle to turn the Conversation View on or offSwitch the toggle to turn the Conversation View on or off

Outlook email thread view

Conversation view in Outlook groups together all emails with similar titles. You can choose from a range of options to customise your selection.

How to find threads in Outlook on web

  1. Log into your Outlook mail account on web.
  2. Click on the gear icon on the top to open Settings.
  3. Scroll to find the Arrange message list section.
  4. Outlook email thread viewOutlook email thread view
  5. Then, you can choose to Group into conversations or Show each message separately.
  6. Once clicked on the selected option, the settings will be applied automatically.

How to find threads in Outlook mobile app

  1. Open the Outlook mobile app.
  2. Click on the profile icon on the top left. Then, go into Settings by clicking the gear icon.
  3. Locate the option to Organise By Thread.
  4. How to find threads in Outlook mobile appHow to find threads in Outlook mobile app
  5. Here you can toggle the option on or off.

Manage threads on Yahoo

The conversation view is enabled by default. However, if the email thread is too long, you may want to turn this off so you can view individual emails.


  1. Open Yahoo Mail on the web.
  2. Click the gear icon to access Settings. Then, click More Settings.
  3. Manage threads on YahooManage threads on Yahoo
  4. Within the left panel, click Viewing email.
  5. See the Group By conversation toggle switch and turn it on or off.
  6. See the Group By conversation toggle switchSee the Group By conversation toggle switch


  1. Open the Yahoo mail app on mobile.
  2. Clicking the profile icon on the top left. Then, go to Settings.
  3. Within settings find the Conversations toggle and turn it on or off.
  4. Yahoo email threads on mobileYahoo email threads on mobile

Email threads in Apple Mail

Apple Mail will automatically group emails in conversations by default. However, you do have the choice to turn it off.


  1. Open Apple Mail on your Mac.
  2. Select View at the top of the screen.
  3. Email threads in Apple MailEmail threads in Apple Mail
  4. Now click Organise by Conversation.
  5. If you see a checkmark, it’s already enabled, if not, click to enable.


  1. Open Settings on your mobile device.
  2. Click Mail and scroll to see Threading options.
  3. Slide Complete Threads to enable conversations.
  4. Slide Complete Threads to enable conversationsSlide Complete Threads to enable conversations

How to Add Someone to an Email Thread

When writing a message, add all recipients in the “To” section. You can either Cc or Bcc. Bcc means they are blind copied into the email.

To add someone to an existing thread, select the emails and forward them to the missing person. Or you can send a new message, including the missing person, and clarify the main points again. This means they won't have to read tons of older emails.

How to Remove Someone from an Email Thread

To remove someone from email threads, just remove their email address within the Cc or Bcc section when composing the next message.

How Clean Email Increases Email Productivity

Clean Email can help increase email productivity by decluttering your inbox and creating a stress-free workday.

Clean up your inbox with Clean EmailClean up your inbox with Clean Email

Clean Email isn’t an email client, and you cannot create email threads with it. However, it is a helpful email management solution to achieve a clean and organised inbox.

You can download the app on iOS, Android, and Mac, or use it on web.

Some useful features you will find in the app are:


With Unsubscriber you can remove any unwanted subscriptions with one quick click. When you click Unsubscribe, a request will immediately be sent.

Unsubscribe from emails with Clean EmailUnsubscribe from emails with Clean Email

Other things you can do with Unsubscriber are keep emails or move them to the Read Later folder.

Read Later feature in Clean EmailRead Later feature in Clean Email

Auto Clean

Create automated email rules so you never have to perform manual tasks again. You can move emails to archive, trash, or into their own folders, and more.

Create automated email rules with Clean EmailCreate automated email rules with Clean Email

Once you have created rules, you can always edit, pause, or delete them within the Auto Clean dashboard.

Auto Clean feature with Clean EmailAuto Clean feature with Clean Email

Smart Views

With Smart Views, you can use predefined rules to sort your emails into relevant groups automatically. The benefit of using this tool is that it easily locates topic-related emails without having to scroll.

Smart Views feature in Clean EmailSmart Views feature in Clean Email

For example, you can find all social media-related emails under the Social Media view.

How To Manage Email Threads - FAQs

What is the email thread meaning?

Email threading is when all subject or topic-related emails are grouped, instead of having individual emails.

How do email threads work?

Email threads work by keeping all conversation emails in one message thread. This means you won’t have to scroll through individual emails, or potentially miss out on any information. It’s like a conversation. All recipients will see each other's replies.

How do I stop email threads?

Most email clients will have email threading on by default. You can easily turn this off within the settings.

What does organising email by thread mean?

This will group emails in order depending on the subject or topic. This is helpful unless you lose information within the thread and need to find it!

How do I manage email threads?

You can manage email threads within your mail provider or client application settings. Here, you will be able to choose how your emails are organised into groups, and whether you want the settings to be on or off.

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