New features in Outlook-unified inbox

If you’ve used Apple Mail or iPhone OS 4.0, you’re already familiar with the unified Inbox. By default, the Outlook folder list groups similar folders (Inbox, Drafts, Sent, Deleted Items ) from all your POP, IMAP and Microsoft Exchange accounts. This feature can make it easier to read all your messages. However, you can turn off this feature so that each account and all it’s folders are separated in the folder list. Unchecking reverts to the old Entourage view of the folder list.

Option one “Group similar folders, such as Inboxes,Drafts, Sent & Deleted Items from different accounts” gives you the unified view.

Option two “Hide On My Computer folders” is a new feature of Outlook, which many Exchange users have wanted for a long time: the ability to hide “On My Computer”.

By default, if the first and only account you create in Outlook is an Exchange account then this new feature is enabled. You can disable it by going to Outlook menu –> Preferences… –> Personal Settings –> General and deselecting the option “Hide On My Computer folders”.


Unified view.

I can also toggle open to view each account individually.

Do you notice the triangle for “On My Computer”? If you have sub-folders under the Inbox, they will show up here. However, if you have sub-folders under”On My Computer”  they will show below.

This shows sub-folders under the Inbox and one sub-folder under “ON MY COMPUTER”

This shows what you would see in unified view with group folders selected:


Refresh Folder List for IMAP account

I also found that if I added folders to a Gmail IMAP account in my browser that I had to uncheck this option so that I could refresh folder list to show the new folder in Outlook.

Option to refresh not available in unified view:

Uncheck “Group similar folders, such as Inboxes, from different accounts” in General Preferences. Select“Refresh Folder List”. After your folders have downloaded, you can toggle the preference and return to the unified view.

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6 comments to New features in Outlook-unified inbox

  • Dave

    Is there a way of excluding one of your email accounts from the group inbox? I have a gmail account that all my google alerts go to and it gunks up the unified box. I obviously don’t want to delete the gmail account, but don’t want the numerous alerts going into my main box. Thanks.

    • You can turn off the unified inbox, but I don’t think you want to do this just to not view the one account. Have you considered just using the Gmail browser interface for this account?

  • Dinie Majoor (Netherlands)

    Why does this not work on my computer, checking or unchecking does not make any difference. I want to have my emails sorted per account, just like in Mail and now I solved this by making rules for each account to go in his own folder.

  • I have an issue in my Mac outlook 2011. I have lot of mails from 2008 to 2011. It’s around 100 thousands. So I decide to organize my mails to year wise. I created 3 new folders 2008, 2009, 2010 for respective year mails. Now I moved my mails to respective folders. Year 2008 and 2009 mails successfully moved from inbox to respective folders and it around 50000 mails. It moved very fast. But the trouble begins when I select and drag my 2010 mails to 2010 folder. The problem is that some mails were downloading then it shows mails are uploading. I can’t understand what it uploads. It takes long time to upload. Why my mails are upload. I closed and reopen my outlook. After 3 minutes it goes to previous state. How to I stop that synchronize that mails. Kindly help me

    • What type of account? (POP, IMAP, Exchange)

      Moving large numbers of messages that are on the server in Outlook is not a good idea. I would put Outlook into work offline mode or quit Outlook. Log into your account with your browser and make your changes there.

      Note: folders that have too many messages will fail to export and/or fail a rebuild. The limit is around 2GB. The only why to check is drag a folder to the Desktop as .mbox file and check the size. If it’s 2GB, then note the number of messages in that folder. Create a new Identity and import the .mbox file. Does it contain the same number of messages? If not, you’ll need to create subfolders to reduce the size of the folder. You’ll find a general number of messages that make up 2GB and can use that to help further subdivide your messages.

      You might also consider moving them to folders “On My Computer” rather than store online. Once you get a messages sorted by year, run the export as mbox script so you can save those messages as .mbox files. Since these folders will never change you can always recover from the .mbox file if your Identity fails.

      Export folders as MBOX files (includes subfolders) http://www.office.mvps.org/downloads/scripts/jolly/Make_MBOX.zip