Sort/Group Your Outlook Email by Conversation Like Gmail

by World Wide Ed on Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I’ve been using this “trick” for quite some time, but finally got around to posting a blog about it. This basically outlines, step-by-step, how to make your Outlook email act like your email in Gmail. That is of course, grouped by conversation.

I’ve grown so used to having all of my email conversations grouped into one set in Gmail (so I don’t have to go chasing them all over the place), that I wanted the same convenience for my work email, which uses Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. Not only will it make you 10 times more productive, it will also help to prevent that embarrassing late response to an email that has already been answered (since all messages in that conversation will be grouped together visually).

Anyway, here’s how to set up your Outlook to act like Gmail:

1) Be sure that your inbox (or folder) is not already arranged in a group (it is often grouped by date by default). To make sure this is off, right click on the header bar, go to Arrange By –> and make sure Show in Groups is unchecked.

Sort/Group Your Outlook Email by Conversation Like Gmail

2) Right click on the header bar and select Field Chooser. The Field Chooser window appears.

Sort/Group Your Outlook Email by Conversation Like Gmail

3) In the Field Chooser window, select Conversation and drag it to your header bar.

Sort/Group Your Outlook Email by Conversation Like Gmail

4) Close the Field Chooser window.

5) Right click on the header bar and select Group by Box.

Sort/Group Your Outlook Email by Conversation Like Gmail

6) An area above the header bar will appear that says, “Drag a column header here to group by that column.

Sort/Group Your Outlook Email by Conversation Like Gmail

7) Select the Conversation column header and drag it into that area above the header bar.

Sort/Group Your Outlook Email by Conversation Like Gmail

8 ) Your inbox (or folder) is now sorted and grouped by conversation like Gmail.

Sort/Group Your Outlook Email by Conversation Like Gmail

Awesome right?

Sometimes, when you’re looking for a specific email, you’ll want to sort by “Received” or “From” or “Size”, etc. What do you do then?

  • Just drag the Conversation box back to the header and you can sort by any column.
  • When you want to group by Conversation again, just drag the Conversation column header back to that area above the header bar (step 7 above).

Hope this helped y’all! Have fun!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Usman June 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Thanks! Not quite as good as Gmail, but as close as it can get I suppose.

klyde August 24, 2012 at 4:52 am

i need some help.

i cannot for the life of me find step #2. i’ve right clicked all over my screen, but can’t seem to bring up the menu with “field chooser” in it.

i’m working with outlook 07. please help!

Jfran November 19, 2013 at 11:52 am

Kylde, and any others than may follow…

I had the same problem, I couldnt’ find that drop down selection at step #2…because there is a step missing! Before step #1, go to view > reading pane > right.

Do step #1. After step #1 view > reading pane > bottom. Then step 3-8.

I dont like having my windows organized horizontally, I like it vertically…as is my mail on Mac. So, after step #8, then view > reading pane > right.

This is the only way to do it, as you have notice Kylde, the drop down is step #2 is not available without viewing the messages with horizontal organization.

BrianW December 3, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Excellent! Thanks a million – works a treat.

lakshman October 10, 2014 at 7:15 am

Thank you. This works great. I was using outlook-2010 in my old office where conversation grouping works fine off the box. Then, swiching jobs, i had only outlook-2007 here and i was heart-broken without getting a conversational inbox. This post saves me..

Actually i created a search-folder containing both inbox/sent-items and then used this view on that search-folder to get the complete conversational view..

Gabe October 14, 2014 at 5:22 am

Great instructions. I have just changed employer which utilizes Outlook 2007. This guide was great to get my inbox into a state that is actionable and viewable.

One question: is there anyway to include the sent items into the conversation grouping?

Howard October 15, 2014 at 5:34 am

This is awesome. Thanks!

Amanda July 13, 2015 at 8:22 am

Thanks for this post! However, I don’t have this Conversation header in my Field Chooser window. Any ideas how it can be added?

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