Every day we are bombarded by a constant flow of emails in our Outlook inbox. How often do we get notified of an incoming e-mail, or a barrage of messages, only to find out it is an auto-reply or other non-essential email? What about taking a couple days off and coming back to 100+ new messages? We lose a lot of time sifting through the non-essential in search of the messages of value.
Microsoft has a "new" solution to help in this struggle called Focused Inbox for Outlook. I place the new in quotes because this feature has been available in the Outlook mobile app for a while. As someone who uses my outlook app often, this feature has greatly helped me sift through my emails. Hopefully, it will help you too. Like this message if you are already using Focused Inbox.
As always reach out to if you have any questions. I am always looking for great tech tips, so if you have one or have a question you would like me the answer send me a message.
What is Focused Inbox for Outlook?
The Focused Inbox sorts email into two categories: Focused and Other. The Focused view shows email considered to be important by Outlook. The Other view shows everything else. In a perfect world, email that you consider important shows up in Focused and trash like automated notifications about stuff that I don’t really need to know about shows up in Other.
This is not a matter of sorting junk mail. Instead, Focused Inbox is all about helping people to cope better with the increasing volume of email that is in circulation today. Essentially, to help you act on the email that is most important to you and leave the other email until the time is available to review them.
How it Works
To be effective, the Focused Inbox needs to learn what is important to you. Learning occurs by building up a set of trends based on your behavior. If you move a message from the Focused view to Other, it is a sign that you do not think the message is important. Likewise, if you move a message from Other to Focused, you are telling the Focused Inbox that it has made a mistake and needs to do better in the future.
Your Outlook stores the process relates to your personal processing habits for email so that a decision to move an item on any client is equally valuable in terms of affecting future behavior. It can take some time to train the Focused Inbox to a point where you depend on it. After using Focused Inbox with the Desktop and Android app for some time, I am quite happy to check and clean out messages in the Other view once a week.
How do I get Focused Inbox for Outlook?
By this point most versions of outlook have the Focused Inbox Feature. Double check that you are on the latest version of outlook by following the steps below. If after update, you still don't have your focused inbox, click here to learn how change your update channel. Or wait until July when all version should have the focused inbox.
How do I turn it On/Off?
Once the update is installed, Focused Inbox should be turned on by default. If at any time you feel this feature is not for you, it is very easy to switch back to the single Inbox functionality.
Help Train Your Focused Inbox
Help Train Your Focused InboxIf you notice an email in your Focused inbox that should in the Other category or vice versa, you can train the your inbox by right-clicking and selecting "Move to Other" and "Move to Focused", respectively. Use "Always Move…" to help ensure email like those selected won't appear in the wrong location in the future.