How to Turn On/Off Focused Inbox feature in Outlook

Email sorting can be quite a task for unorganized individuals. Fortunately, most email services offer an option to refine and organize emails that matter to them most. Focused Inbox is one such refinement, and improvement feature rolled out for Microsoft Outlook 2016, Outlook.com and Outlook On The Web customers.

The purpose behind rolling out this feature is to help Outlook customers focus on the most important items in their inbox by moving unimportant ones to a separate folder – ‘Other’. With this, an Outlook user can easily stay on top of incoming email without having to visit another folder. Let us see how to enable Focussed Inbox in Outlook.

Turn On Focused Inbox in Outlook 2016

Open your Outlook 2016 and navigate the mouse cursor to ‘View’ tab of the ribbon interface. Next, find and choose ‘Show Focused Inbox’ option.

Focused Inbox in Outlook

The Focused and Other tabs should be visible to you in the ribbon interface of Outlook 2016. In case, there’s any incoming message the feature will inform you about it. You can either direct it to ‘Focused Inbox’ or ‘Other’ or switch between tabs any time.

If you would like to configure these settings. For instance, change how your messages get organized then, from your Inbox, select the Focused or Other tab, and right-click the message you want to move.

If you want to move the message from Focused to Other, choose ‘Move to Other‘. This works only for a selected message. You can select ‘Always Move to Other’ if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.

On the other hand, for moving messages from Other to Focused, choose ‘Move to Focused‘ and ‘Always Move to Focused’ for all future messages to be delivered to the Focused tab.

Please note that Focused Inbox is being rolled out in a staged manner in accordance with the change management policies for Office 365. If you receive a This setting can’t be applied to any of your accounts message or notice the feature is not available for you, do not get disappointed. It should be available to you, soon. The feature is first rolled out to customers who have selected First Release cadence. After it is found that the feature is ready for the larger audience, it will be rolled out to everyone in the service, including customers who have selected Standard Release cadence.

Enable Focused Inbox in Outlook.com & Outlook on the Web

The procedure is more or less the same for Outlook.com and Outlook on the Web. For Outlook on the Web. Navigate to ‘Settings’> Display settings > Focused Inbox and then under ‘When email is received’ menu, chose ‘Sort messages into Focused and Other’. Instantly, Focused and Other tabs should appear as shown in the screenshots below.

From there, you can configure other options related to the feature.

Also, updates to the different stages of roll out will be announced on the Office 365 Public road map, and more detailed information will be communicated via the Office 365 Message Center, says Microsoft.

PS: As of May 25, 2017, you can just go straight to Gear Icon at top right, choose Display Settings and from there pull-down menu and click on Focused Inbox link to select Don’t Sort Messages. Thanks, Suz Won.

Windows 10 Mail app users may want to see how to enable or disable Focused Inbox in Mail App.

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The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in bio-technology and has an immense interest in following Windows, Office and other technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software, and being careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware is recommended.

16 Comments

  1. Marcia

    Outlook mail is frozen with an overlay and the sort options ”focused other” encircled in pulsating blue. I have no access to settings, in fact to nothing. What to do?

  2. Phillis Mendoza

    I am in the same boat as Marcia. Help!

  3. Jim

    Put it bluntly I am so disappointed and ticked off that Microsoft/Windows does not tell us what is going on and how to stop this. I want to make the decision what emails I will focus on.

  4. Max

    My Outlook mail is completely frozen with the same Focused/Other option. There isn’t any option as absolutely nothing is accessible! Help please.

  5. Larry Faren

    My wife’s WIN7 laptop behaved same as that of Max, Phyllis, Marcia & Max. When she logged-in to Outlook mail via my WIN10 PC, she was able to turn-off that FOCUS baloney as described in this article. She did that ON MY PC, logged out of Outlook, then went back to her WIN7 laptop. ALL FIXED. Problem may be with pre-WIN10 systems. Hope this helps.

  6. Larry Faren

    See my suggestion below

  7. Larry Faren

    See my suggestion, Phyllis

  8. Larry Faren

    I may have stumbled upon a fix, Jim.

  9. Garage Sunbury

    If like me you use outlook email it’s possible to turn off the absurd “focused” option. Click “Filter” and in the drop down menu – at the bottom – you should find

  10. Larry Faren

    Try my suggested solution, Max.

  11. Brian

    I had the problem in Outlook live that the Focused message appears and thereafter my email is inaccessible – even to try to turn off the new Focused feature! However, if when you load outlook live you act quickly, before the Focused message appears, and select any other folder but the inbox you have control again since the damned Focus message does not appear and you can then turn off the feature ie settings –> display format –> Focused Folder and turn it off.

  12. Joyce Ann Shirley

    Thank you very much! This worked for me. I was ready to click the Junk folder before the Focus button appeared. I was able to turn it off.
    Thanks again!!

  13. Suz Won

    Thank you! As of May 25, 2017 you can just go straight to Gear Icon at top right, choose Display Settings from there pull-down menu and click on Focused Inbox link to select Don’t Sort Messages. I’m using Windows Vista and Firefox browser 51.01. Boy was I getting annoyed…didn’t realize they were filtering for me!!!

  14. Jack Rayton

    Thank you Suz. Easy fix and relieved a lot of frustration. I also was unaware they thought they knew better than me as to which emails I should consider important, and were sorting my mail for me. Some of them were important and I lost out, but all is well now thanks to you. I couldn’t figure out why I had so many emails listed and they seemed to be multiplying. Just figured it out yesterday, and boy was I mad. Now all is well again thanks to your simple fix.

  15. Cali

    I miss my Unread folder! I found it way more useful in terms of automatic sorting then thie focused vs Other nonsense. Give me my “Unread” Folder back!!!

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