How to Hide Strikethrough Messages in Outlook

When "Delete" Doesn't Actually Mean Immediate Deletion

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One of the quirks of IMAP is that messages are neither deleted immediately when you press Del nor moved to a Trash folder, but instead "marked for deletion" until you purge the folder.

In the default view used by Microsoft Outlook for IMAP accounts, this has the consequence that "deleted" messages are displayed grayed out with a strikethrough line but are still visible.

You can either purge your inbox constantly or deal with the irritation of lots of messages that are, in a way, undead. Or, you can tell Outlook to hide these messages.

If you're looking for how to strikethrough text in Outlook (to draw a line over the text), highlight what should have the effect and then use the FORMAT TEXT menu on the toolbar to find the strikethrough option in the Font section.

Hide Strikethrough Messages in Outlook

Here's how to configure Outlook to hide deleted messages from IMAP folders rather than showing them with a line through the text:

  1. Open the folder where you want to hide strikethrough messages, like your Inbox folder.

  2. Go into the VIEW ribbon menu. If you're using Outlook 2003, open View > Arrange By.

  3. Choose the button called Change View (2013 and newer) or Current View (2007 and 2003).

  4. Select the option called Hide Messages Marked for Deletion.

In some versions of Outlook, this same menu lets you select Apply Current View to Other Mail Folders... if you want this change to work with your other email folders and subfolders.

If the preview pane is turned off during this change, you can re-enable it through View > Reading Pane.