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View By Conversation in Outlook

Here’s the situation:

An e-mail message arrives from someone with whom I have an on-going dialogue… problem is that the conversation has been delayed enough that I no longer remember what was said last or what questions that person is actually answering.

Someone is currently wondering why I don’t just scroll down past their reply to view the message I last sent.

Well, I would except that it’s not there.

Some people prefer to reply without the original text at the bottom and have set their program’s options to behave that way.

So now what? (I mean, as much as we like to think our own way is best, it’s not like we’re all about to agree upon absolutely everything anytime soon…)

Here’s the option I can offer.

Change the way you view your messages in Outlook.

It’s common for us to sort by date received so that the newest ones are at the top.

This is great except when you’re trying to scroll through a whole lot of message looking for a clue as to what the new one is talking about.

Instead of date order, let’s try viewing them by conversation (thread).

Excel will sort the conversation groups by date (conversations containing the newest messages at the top) and then within that the order is determined by who replied to whom.

If you’re viewing your messages this way then you’ll find that you still be able to find the newest messages quickly. Any message that comes in is put at the top and the conversation it belongs to is moved with it…To set Outlook to let you view by conversation we’ll need the View menu.

For Outlook 2007 it’s the View menu, Arrange by submenu, Conversation choice.

For older versions of Outlook it’s the View menu, Arrange by Conversation choice.

And that’s it. The messages in that mailbox / folder are rearranged to meet your new specifications.

See a down-arrow next to a conversation header? Click it to expand and see all messages in that thread.

No more wondering what in the world someone is talking about… it’s all right there for your immediate reference.

~ April