Outlook Focused Inbox – (All you need to Know)

For years, Outlook has been criticized for its lack of smart email features, but Microsoft has finally taken the plunge with a new email app that focuses on your email inbox.

The app includes features that are already available in Outlook, including snooze notifications, the ability to view mail from multiple accounts at once, and search-by-subject.

Microsoft Outlook is the platform where you can configure your email account and organize it more efficiently according to your requirement.

One of the features is the Focused Inbox available in Outlook, which was previously known as clutter in Outlook 2016.

In this article, you will learn all about Focused Inbox.

Focused Inbox Requires the Office 365 subscription versions of the clients. Focused Inbox will not be delivered to Outlook for Mac 2011, or the perpetual versions of Outlook 2013 for Windows and Outlook 2016 for Windows.

What is Focused Inbox in Outlook?

Focused Inbox is only available for Outlook 365 Subscribers, which separates inboxes into two categories, Focused & Others.

Your most important emails are on the Focused tab while the rest remain easily accessible. Earlier Focused Inbox known as Clutter.

Focused Inbox from Microsoft Outlook allows you to organize your emails more effectively, prioritizing messages to ensure that you see the most important, message first.

You can access Focused Inbox from your desktop and Outlook Web application (OWA) only.

What Does Focused Inbox Do?

The focused Inbox mechanism works smartly and studies the history of your email use, its analyses the types of messages you receive, and the content of those messages.

It also determines the emails you most read and communicate with other emails received and considers those emails as raw data, it will learn over time what messages you read and respond to.

The second category which is unable to meet the standards will be labeled “Other“.

How Does Outlook-Focused Inbox Work?

Focus inbox is a smart sorting algorithm, which arranges messages between the Focused Inbox and Other lists according to your working inputs, (Just like all social media platforms they show what users are normally interested in and hold the user as long).

But therein Microsoft Outlook 365, this technology uses the same feature to list out the regular email in the focused list for quick access, which results in focusing on all important emails.

How to Enable or Disable Focused Inbox in Outlook?

It’s just like turning a light on and off, Let’s fall in:

  • Open Outlook 365,
  • Select Exchange Account >> Click View Tab.
  • Select Show Focused Inbox to turn the feature ON or OFF
focused inbox outlook
  • The Focused and Other tabs will appear at the top of your mailbox. The group contains email depending upon the methodology of Outlook, you can switch between tabs at any time.

How can I move emails to my Outlook-Focused Inbox?

Focused Inbox is designed to study your pattern and determine which messages display in the Outlook Focused Inbox, most of the time some email messages required a Focused inbox instead of Others, and some need to be landed on others instead of the Focused Inbox.

You can make this manually which is, later, familiar with the methodology.

  • Select the Focused or Other tab, and then right-click the message you want to shift.
  • Select Move to Other if you want only the specific message to move or select Always Move to Other if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.
move to other
  • Select Move to Focused if you want only the selected message moved. Select Always Move to Focused if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Focused tab.
move to focused

That way you can force email in the focused inbox to move to other folders.

Note: Focused Inbox only appears for Microsoft Exchange accounts (outlook.com or hotmail.com) other accounts like IMAP or POP accounts do not fall under this feature.

How Outlook-Focused Inbox Methodology Works?

If you are a Microsoft Outlook Exchange user, your email is bifurcated into “Focused” and “other” folders, the emails determine messages depending upon several factors:

  • Newly Added contact: If you add an email address to your contact list, Outlook in the initial days consisted of emails received from those email addresses and it appears in the Focused Inbox.
  • Change Class Manually: If you move an email received from the newsletter to the Focused Inbox, future messages from the same newsletter appear in the Focused Inbox automatically.
  • Regular emails to the sender: If you send numerous messages to a specific person, Outlook considers that email address as important, and in the future, the emails received automatically appear in the Focused Inbox.

How To Turn On/Off the Focused Inbox in Outlook.Com?

  • Log in to Outlook.com
  • At the top right corner of the page, select Settings (gear icon).
  • In Quick Settings, Turn on the toggle of Focused Inbox.

You will observe the inbox is bifurcated into two parts (Focused Inbox and Others).

focused inbox outlook web

In an analogous way, you can train Outlook to shift focused emails to others and vice versa in the future manually.

Outlook Focused Inbox Missing

Most of the users claimed, “Outlook Focused Inbox Button Missing“, there is no technical glitch,

  • Go to File Tab >> Options >> Customize Ribbon >> Customize the Ribbon: Main Tabs >> View >Focused Inbox to see if the Show Focused Inbox option listed there.
Show focused Inbox

Secondly, the main cause of the missing Focused Button is the “Nonexchange account“, Focused Inbox option is only available for the exchange account users, for instance, if you are using a Gmail account and try to find the focused inbox icon, you will be disappointed because it’s not there.

Outlook Focused Inbox not showing all Emails

Focused Inbox is designed to show only active emails, Outlook analyzes the importance of email depending upon the uses and movement of emails.

For instance, in any newsletter you actively open and use to spend time on that email, that email message is treated as important for Outlook 365 or any other lower version, that’s Focused Inbox Rules.

Other than that, the emails which are part of your inflow (inbox) but not active or not even open by you are treated as other emails, which are available in the other folder.

This is the main cause of users unable to find all emails in the Focused Inbox.

Outlook Focused Inbox vs Clutter

Differences between Clutter and Focused Inbox:

In both Clutter and Focused Inbox, it sorts emails into important messages. Focused Inbox consists of the important message and leaves the rest in other folder, while Clutter removes messages from your Inbox and sorts them into separate folders.

You can switch messages from other to focus and vice versa, one of the drawbacks of clutter is it separates other emails into a separate folder, which was later replaced by a Focused inbox.

Focused Inbox uses a tab system, with “Focused” and “Other” tabs.

Low-priority e-mails get placed in the other location. In contrast, Clutter sends low-priority e-mails to a separate “Clutter” folder

Outlook clutter

It works when you need to focus on your important business or job-related email instead of some spammy emails, you can stay Focused with the Focused Inbox.

Microsoft has published two support articles with detailed instructions about how to turn Focused Inbox on, and how to turn Focused Inbox off, on all the different programs and apps.

Final Words

In summary, I recommend you sign-up and test it out yourself to see if you like it.

But it’s important to note that it’s not a one size fits all solution and it’s not for everyone. In addition, it may not be appropriate for every email folder either.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does Outlook determine Focused vs Other?

Outlook uses an algorithm that looks at the sender and recipients of email messages.

It then generates a score that tells Outlook which messages are more important than others. It does this by considering personal relationships, business relationships, and email habits.

Question: While using focused inbox, you notice that outlook sometimes puts important messages from a specific customer on the other tab. how do you fix this for future messages?

The main cause is Outlook methology, in the above section you will get the detailed explanation why? You can move that email from other tab to focused tab manually, once you move that email, Outlook consider that email address important and in future all the emails received from that specific customer will be landed in Focused inbox.

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