How to Create Folders to Organize Your Outlook Inbox

Manage your email efficiently by sorting messages into folders

An organized desk
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Keep your Outlook Inbox manageable by organizing messages into folders and subfolders. After you create new folders, drag messages to those folders. Then, all of your related email messages are in one place.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Outlook for Office 365, and Outlook Online.

Create New Folders or Subfolders in Outlook

Make folders and subfolders the same way in Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010 and Outlook for Office 365 by following these steps. The screenshots below are from Outlook 2016. Other versions of Outlook will vary slightly in appearance, but menus, options, and functionality remain the same.

  1. Go to the Folder tab and select New Folder.

    Outlook 2016 create new folder menu choice
  2. In the Name text box, enter a name for the new folder.

    Outlook 2016 Create New Folder window
  3. Select the Folder contains dropdown arrow and choose Mail and Post Items to store email messages in the folder.

    Outlook 2016 new folder content type dropdown
  4. In the Select where to place the folder section, choose where the folder will be created.

    Outlook 2016 new folder location selection
  5. Select OK. The folder is created in the place you chose.

If you don't want to use the menus to create a new folder, right-click on the place in the Folder pane where you want to create a new folder, then select New Folder. In the text box that appears, type a folder name and press Enter.

How to Delete a Folder in Outlook

When you no longer need a mail folder, delete it.

  1. In the Folders pane, right-click the folder or subfolder you want to delete.

  2. Select Delete folder.

    Outlook 2016 right-click menu and Delete Folder option
  3. Select Yes to confirm the deletion.

    Outlook 2016 confirm folder deletion window
  4. The folder and its contents are moved to the Deleted Items folder.

If you are connected to an email service such as Gmail using IMAP and it has its own folder, you will find your deleted items under the email service's folder (the deleted items folder may be labeled "Trash").

How to Create Folders on Outlook.com

Outlook.com is the web-based version of the Microsoft email client and, in many ways, it looks and functions like the desktop and mobile app versions. It does differ in some ways, too, including how to create folders.

  1. In the Folders pane, select New folder.

    The Outlook Online web mail editor at Outlook.com showing how to create a new folder
  2. When the blank field appears, enter the name you want to give to the new folder and press Enter.

    The Outlook Online web mail window at Outlook.com showing how to name a new folder
  3. The new folder is created in the left pane.

Create Subfolders on Outlook.com

You can make subfolders under your Inbox, under connected email account folders like Yahoo Mail or Gmail, and under personalized folders and subfolders you create.

To create a subfolder, right-click the folder where you want to add a subfolder and select Create new subfolder.

Create a subfolder menu item on Outlook.com

To make a folder into a subfolder, drag the folder to another folder.