How to Create New Folders To Organize Mail in Outlook

Stay organized with Outlook folders, subfolders, and categories

Create an Outlook mail folder

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If you receive a large amount of email, you'll benefit from creating folders. They simplify your Inbox and help organize your mail. You can also to create subfolders inside a folder.

Outlook also provides categories you can assign to individual emails. Use custom email folders, subfolders, and categories to organize your Outlook Mail account.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook.com.

How to Make an Outlook Mail Folder

When you want to store mail in a place other than the main Inbox, learn how to create folders in Outlook. Adding folders is easy. Name them as you choose and organize the folders in hierarchies using subfolders.

  1. In the left navigation pane of Outlook Mail, select your Inbox folder.

    Screenshot of Inbox
  2. Right-click and select New Folder.

    Screenshot of New Folder in right-click menu
  3. Type a name for the folder in the box that appears.

    Screenshot of new folder name
  4. Press Enter.

To create a subfolder, select the folder that will contain the subfolder and select Folder > New Folder.

Drag individual messages from your Inbox (or any other folder) to the new folders you make to organize your email. You can also right-click a message, select Move and choose the folder you want to move it to.

You can also set up rules in Outlook to filter emails from specific senders to a folder so you don't have to do it manually.

Use Categories to Color Code Messages

To organize messages, you can also use categories. You can use the default color codes or personalize them by setting up your category preferences. To do this in Outlook.com, select a message and select Categorize > Manage Categories. In the Categories dialog, you can add or delete categories and indicate whether you want them to appear in the Favorites list.

To set up category preferences in Outlook, select Home > Categorize > All Categories. You'll have the option to add categories, delete categories, rename categories, and assign a shortcut key to categories.

To apply a category color to an email:

  1. Open the email in the message list.

  2. Select Categorize in the Tags group of the Home tab.

    Screenshot of Categorize
  3. Choose the category you want to apply to the email. A color indicator appears next to the email in the message list and the header of the opened email.

Alternatively:

  1. In your message list, right-click the email you want to categorize.

  2. Select Categorize in the menu that appears.

    Screenshot of Categorize in right-click menu
  3. Choose the category you want to apply to the email. A color indicator appears next to the mail in the message list and the header of the opened email.

Does an email message fit into more than one category? Apply multiple color codes to that email message.

Create a New Folder in Outlook.com

You can drag and drop email messages to folders or right-click a message, select Move and choose the folder you want to move it to. 

  1. Select New folder. The New folder link is located at the bottom of your folder list. A blank text box appears at the end of the folders list.

    Screenshot of New Folder in Outlook.com
  2. Type a name for the folder. 

    Screenshot of New Folder name
  3. Press Enter. Your new folder appears at the bottom of the list.

Create a Subfolder in Outlook.com 

To create a new folder as a subfolder of an existing Outlook.com folder:

The same steps work for creating deeper subfolders under any new subfolders. Simply repeat steps 1-4 for each subfolder you want to create.

  1. Right-click on the folder under which you want to create the new subfolder. Be careful to choose items from the Folders list and not the Favorites list. If you right-click on an item from the Favorites list, you won't be able to create a new folder.

  2. Select Create new subfolder from the context menu that appears. A text box appears beneath the folder you right-clicked on.

  3. Type a name for the new folder.

  4. Press Enter to save the subfolder.

You can also drag a folder in the list and drop it on top of a different folder to make it a subfolder.