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How to stop Outlook rearranging the order of your folders


How to stop Outlook rearranging the order of your folders

One of the best ways to manage and keep track of your emails using Microsoft Outlook is to create folders and file messages into them once they’re dealt with.

You could, for example, create folders for communication with specific clients, internal messages and important details you will need to refer to time and time again. If arranged in alphabetical order, it means that no matter how many folders you create, it should be quick and easy to locate the one you want.

However, in one of those annoying and unnecessary tweaks Microsoft is prone to making (see here and here for other examples), we’ve recently noticed that Outlook is upsetting the alphabetical order of our folders. It keeps rearranging the order so that the one most recently modified jumps to the top. This is particularly unhelpful if you’re using a shared mailbox, as another person might have added an email to a folder that you weren’t aware of, meaning that to you, the order of the folders would appear arbitrary.

If you’ve noticed this and are finding it irritating too, it is possible to simply right-click the inbox and rearrange the order to A-Z, but this will only solve the problem that once. Once you log out and log in again, folders will continue to be rearranged in the date they were added to.

To make Outlook stop juggling the orders of folders permanently, there is a short and simple process you can follow:

1. Go into Folder on the ribbon at the top. If you can’t see Folder, it might be because you’re using the Simplified Ribbon. If that’s the case, right-click the ribbon and select ‘Use Classic Ribbon’, upon which you should see Folder

Outlook image 1
2. Below the ribbon, you should now see a box labelled ‘Show all Folders A – Z’. Click this box

Outlook image 2

That should do it. Your folders will now display in alphabetical order again all the time, and you can keep managing your folders in a logical and easy-to-index way.

John Murray
  • Hi John, How can we get our folders (in a shared mailbox) to stay in the order that we want them in? We have put “__” and “___” at the front of some folders to bring them to the top however the order we want those folders and the others are not necessarily in alphabetical order (importance vs. alpha). Thanks!

  • Hi Juile. The simplest way I can think of is to add a number at the front to indicate their priority, for example 1. HR, 2. Sales, 3. Clients, etc. If you have more than 10, number them 01, 02, 03 etc.

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