How to Sort Emails in Outlook

“Alexa, sort inbox in Outlook.” If only it were that easy, right?

Does your Outlook email account look as cluttered as your desk? Keeping a tidy inbox is rarely an easy task, since the average person receives as many as 121 emails per day! If you don’t have a good email organization system, you risk the chance of missing an important message. This could spell disaster to your business, not to mention your own professional image. Knowing how to sort emails in Outlook is a productive first step in ensuring efficiency every minute you spend in your inbox.

How to Sort Emails in Outlook by Unread Messages

When you want to organize your messages by the ones that are most likely to need attention, sort by unread in Outlook. These emails aren’t always at the top of your inbox, which is why it’s important to keep unread messages top of mind so they don’t get buried.

Here’s how you sort Outlook by unread messages:

  1. Click on the mail folder you would like to organize.
  2. Go to the View tab in Outlook, then click the Arrange By dropdown menu.
  3. Click on the Unread option and you’ll see all of your unread messages move to the top of the inbox.

How to Sort Emails in Outlook by Category

Similar to the way in which you group messages by read or unread status, you can also use Outlook to sort by category. Categories are a helpful (and colorful!) tool to organize your messages in a way that makes sense to your role and the way you work. For example, you might create categories related to specific tasks, people, or subject matter.

Once you create your email categories, you can use them to sort your emails to see all messages within a specific category at the same time. Here’s how:

  1. Select the mail folder you wish to sort.
  2. Go to the View tab, then click the Arrange By.
  3. Select the Category option and you’ll see your messages rearrange themselves by color.

Sort Outlook Emails by Date

By default, most email inboxes sort emails by date. The Outlook sort by date feature is helpful to see your newest messages so you don’t miss an important message you’ve been waiting for.

Because of the variety of sorting options, however, sorting by date isn’t always considered the default for Outlook.

To make this your default, start by clicking on the folder you’d like to organize. Go to the View tab, then select Date under the Arrange By dropdown menu.

You should see your emails rearranged by date if they’re not already in this order. This also works in your Sent mail folder so you can see when you sent specific messages.

Sort Outlook Emails by Sender

When you’re tracking conversations with a specific sender, knowing how to group messages by sender really comes in handy. This allows you to view all email threads with a certain someone at a glance so you don’t have to spend precious time digging through your inbox.

To sort emails by sender in Outlook, click on the desired mail folder, then go to the View tab. Click Arrange By, then select Sender. Emails will be clustered by the sender in your inbox, making it easy to pick out specific messages quickly.

How to Automatically Sort Emails in Outlook Using Rules

After reviewing the above guidelines, it’s clear that you’ll be spending precious minutes each day doing these processes manually. Knowing how to automatically sort emails in Outlook can be a huge time-saver, not to mention it takes the guesswork out of choosing where your emails appear in the inbox.

To do this, you can set up specific Rules for Outlook filters to follow. This mail service provider has a number of Rules templates that are ready for you to use. To access these templates, go to File, then Manage Rules and Alerts. Select New Rule, then choose your template.

You have a lot of options here, depending on how you want to filter your messages. For example, you might choose to move all messages from specific senders to a certain folder. You can also move all emails from a specific domain (e.g. all messages from your company) into a designated folder. Other options include:

Each of these rules already exist as templates. Once you select the desired template, go to the next step where you’ll select specific conditions in which the rule will apply.

This process requires quite a bit of initial setup. But once you know how to sort your inbox in Outlook using rules, you can set up all your rules at once and then enjoy the clean, organized look and feel of your inbox for years to come.

Use Third-Party Email Sorters Like Clean Email

When sorting emails is not something you’d like to spend time on, an email sorting app like Clean Email can come in handy. Clean Email goes with pre-set filters called “Smart Views” to group your messages into easy-to-review bundles (e.g. “Top senders”, “Mailing Lists”, “Social Media Notifications”, etc.)

All you need to do is to sign up to Clean Email with your Outlook account, wait until the app analyzes your mailbox (the app works in the background so you don’t need to actually wait during the analyzing process), and click the “Smart Views” option on the left pane of the app’s dashboard.

Smart Views feature in Clean EmailSmart Views feature in Clean Email

To sort emails in Clean Email:

  1. Log into your account using the app.
  2. Choose “All mail” or “Inbox” options on the left pane of the main dashboard.
  3. Click the “Group” filter above the email groups and choose the way you want your messages to be sorted out.
  4. By setting “Sort” filter, you will group your messages with an increasing or decreasing order, etc.
Sort emails in Outlook with Clean EmailSort emails in Outlook with Clean Email

Sort Inbox in Outlook: Consider It Done!

“Alexa, mark ‘sort inbox in Outlook’ off my to-do list.”

Now you’ve got the basics you need to sort emails in Outlook in a way that works for you. Setting up your own rules and filters may take a little time, but the benefits to your productivity and peace of mind will pay off in spades.

For more insights on how to sort Gmail by date, subject, and name, or how to sort Yahoo by sender, head back to our blog.

How to Sort Emails in Outlook - FAQs

How do I sort emails faster in Outlook?

Structuring your inbox in a way that works for you is a great way to go through your inbox faster. You can sort by sender, date, subject of the email, size of the email, and more. To do this, select the mail folder you wish to organize. Select the View tab, then click the Arrange By dropdown menu to choose the filter option that works best for you.

How do I sort emails by first name in Outlook?

To sort Outlook emails by first name, click the mail folder you’d like to organize, then select the View tab. From there, click Arrange By, then choose the First Name option. The results will update instantly.

How do I sort emails by subject in Outlook?

Click on the email folder you want to organize, then click the View tab. Click Arrange By, then select the Subject option. The results will automatically update in real time.

How do I sort Outlook by date?

Sorting email by date is an easy way to stay organized. Click the folder you’d like to organize, then select the View tab at the top of the inbox. Click Arrange By, then select Date.

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