How to use Outlook Focused vs Other folder

Outlook focused vs other folder – which mail goes where?. You don’t have to worry about this. Because, it is automatic. This article shows exactly what you MUST do to manage the Focused vs Other folder. Reading time 4 min.

Outlook Focused vs Other folder poster.

Who decided what goes into Outlook Focused vs Other folder? Outlook!

Outlook has a smart piece of software running behind-the-scenes. It is called AI (Machine Learning). This software observes the way you handle (or don’t handle) mails and decides whether to keep a mail in Focused or dump it in Other folder.

Outlook learns quite fast. So, typically within few weeks of your installation of the current version of Outlook it will be smart enough to decide.

Once it understands the behavior, then the less important mails go to the other folder.

If this is happening automatically, why should I bother?

Good question. Because this is a “machine” learning. So, like any person who is learning, it will make a few mistakes.

Some important mails may land up in the Other folder. If you don’t notice those, you will not respond to those important mails.

So what to do?

Check the Other folder recent mail ids in the Focused folder

focused inbox showing mails that were moved to other folder in Outlook.

At the top of Focused inbox, it shows the mails which were recently moved to the Other folder. Just keep noticing them. If you feel that mail from a particular sender should not have gone to Other folder – because it is important for you, only then you have to take some extra action.

In that case, go to the Other folder, right click on that mail and teach the machine learning algorithm. How?

If only this particular mail should go to Focused inbox, choose Move to Focused. Now onwards, future emails coming from the same sender will NOT be kept in Focus. This was sort of an exception for this particular email.

However, if you want all mails from the sender to stay in Focused folder, then choose Always Move to Focused – it is like creating a rule.

Reverse Rule: Outlook Focused vs Other folder

Same way, if you feel some particular mail is not important, but it has landed in the Focused inbox and choose Move to Other (exception for this only) or Always move to Other (this is like a rule which will apply to all similar messages).

That’s all you have to do.

This feature was earlier called Clutter. Learn more about Outlook in 15 minutes. Watch this video.

Learn more about how to Enable Focused Inbox, in case you don’t see this option.

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6 Responses

  1. The AI is working well for me. I check “Other” occasionally and move some things to “Focused”. Now “Other” has a couple of hundred messages that I want to delete. How can I delete them all at the same time?

  2. This is simple. Just like with any other folder, Ctrl + A—Command + A if you are on a Mac—and Delete or Shift + Delete as you would like to.

  3. Forget AI. I want all of my emails to be received in one folder automatically, just like on my desktop. How do I do this?


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