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Sorting Sent Email in Outlook

Karen from the Oaks NSW Australia asks:

I’m running Outlook 2007. I save my incoming email messages to various folders, so that I don’t fill up my Inbox. However, if I move sent messages from my Sent box to these folders, they lose their To Information and just show that they are from me. When I’m looking for a particular person I’ve sent an email to I have to search by subject which is time consuming. In the meantime, my Sent folder is getting bigger and bigger. Is there a way around this?

Thanks for the question, Karen. I suppose there’s a complicated registry hack that will solve your problem (or, more likely, a simple fix that I just overlooked), but following the steps below worked for me. First, in order to test a solution, a new folder was created, conveniently named Test Folder, and several Sent mails were moved there.

As you may know, sorting can be done by clicking column headers (From, Subject, etc.) and columns can be tweaked by right clicking the header, and selecting Format Columns… from the menu.

In the image below, the columns are still sorted by sender, rather than recipient.

pierce_sorting_in_outlook_00 [1]

In the Format Columns dialog box, adjustments can be made to width, label name, alignment, etc.

pierce_sorting_in_outlook_0 [2]

Once the columns are adjusted to suit your needs, right click on a header again and point to Arrange by. In the submenu, check both Show in Groups and To

pierce_sorting_in_outlook_1 [3]

Then, right click below the headers and select Collapse All Groups from the menu. Collapsing the groups isn’t necessary, but it sure makes it easier to scroll the list. In the image below, the emails are sorted by group, but not yet collapsed.

pierce_sorting_in_outlook_2 [4]

The email groups will display the recipients’ names in alphabetical order. If emails both sent and received are saved in the same folder, the received email group (ones sent to you) will be included in the alphabetical listing. The individual groups can then be opened by clicking the plus sign to the left of To:, exposing the emails inside, 

pierce_sorting_in_outlook_3 [5]

Once the emails themselves are revealed, they will still only show the sender’s name (yours), but the recipient has already been selected, so you should be on your way.