Office 365 (Outlook for Windows) - Working with mail folders

By default, messages that are sent to you are stored in your Inbox. But you can organize your messages into a hierarchical folder system and adjust it as your needs change.

Folders in Outlook on the web

Default folders

Each account starts with these default folders:

You may see other folders that have been created by your administrator.

Note: If you don't see a list of any folders, your Folder Pane may be hidden. Near the top-left corner of the application, you should see an arrow that when hovered over displays the tooltip, "Click to expand Folder Pane". Click this arrow to expand and view your folders.

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Right-click menu for folders

Most of what you can do with a folder will be found in the right-click menu. Actions you can take include:

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Creating folders

You can create additional folders to organize your messages any way you want. For example, you can create a folder for a specific project, or for all messages sent by a particular person, or all messages sent to a distribution group that you're a member of.

To create a new folder, right-click the parent folder you want to create the new folder in. If you want a top-level folder (a folder at the same level as your Inbox), you would use your mailbox as the parent folder.

To create a folder within your account:

  1. Right-click your account.
  2. Click New folder.

    new folder

  3. Type the name you want to use for this folder.
  4. Press Enter or click away.

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Moving folders

There are two ways to move a folder using Outlook 2016 for Windows.

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The Deleted Items folder

When you delete a message, it is first moved to the Deleted Items folder. You can either leave the messages there, or you can set Outlook to automatically empty your Deleted Items folder when you sign out. Your administrator may have set up a policy to empty items from your Deleted Items folder after they've been there for a preset number of days. For example, there may be a policy that deletes any message that has been in your Deleted Items folder for 30 days.

Recover deleted items

If your administrator has enabled the recover deleted items feature, you can use it to recover items that have been deleted from your Deleted Items folder. How long items will be recoverable depends on settings that are controlled by your administrator.

  1. Go to FOLDER tab.
  2. Click Recover deleted items from within "Clean Up" group..
  3. Recover Deleted Items

  4. Click the item you want and then click Recover Selected Items button. The item will be moved to its default location. Messages will go to your Inbox, calendar items will go to your Calendar, contacts to your Contacts folder, and tasks to your Tasks folder.

You can also select Purge to permanently delete an item. If you purge an item, you won't be able to use Recover deleted items to get it back. Purging a message will not remove it from any backups that were made before you purged it.

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It's not unusual to end up with so many folders that it can be hard to keep track of which ones are most important to you. To make it easier to keep track of those folders, you can add them to your Favorites. Favorites don't appear in your folder list until you've added at least one folder to Favorites. Adding a folder to Favorites doesn't move the folder, but creates a link to it.

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What else do I need to know?

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