What is the Focused Inbox in Outlook?

Keith Haskin
Keith Haskin
June 16, 2021

Some people get a lot of email. A LOT.

On top of regular email there is also junk mail, spam and other unnecessary notifications that can be distracting. How can you figure out what emails are worthy of your time and which ones are just filling your inbox with garbage? Or better yet what if there was a way to separate your email and focus on the ones that are important?

If you have used Outlook for email, then you may have heard of the Focused inbox. By default, Outlook has two inboxes. One is called Focused, and the other is just called Other. Having two inboxes allows you to separate your email into different categories based on how important they are. Outlook will also take into account the emails that you interact with and deliver them to the Focused inbox and filter out the automated emails we constantly get. Let’s look at this feature within Outlook.

As you can see, we have email in the Focused inbox. The Focused inbox is designed to put your important emails into this category. But we also have the "Other" inbox. Let’s open that one up too.

Well, it looks like we have mail here too. It appears to be email that is not as important. But look closer and we can see there are two emails that look important. Occasionally this happens but when it does it is easy to move email from one inbox to the other and also lets Outlook know how to categorize them in the future.

When you get an email, you can choose which inbox you want it to be in by right clicking on the email and selecting Move to Focused. You can also choose Always Move to Focused if the email comes from someone that you always want to see in your Focused inbox.

Of course, you can have all your mail sent to a single inbox if you don’t find these features valuable. Turning off the Focused inbox will merge the two mailboxes into a single inbox called All. This is done by clicking the View tab and then click Show Focused Inbox. This will toggle between the either showing the Focused inbox or showing All.

Keith Haskin
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