How to Move Email Messages Quickly in Outlook

Businessman carrying a stack of boxes
Moving can be easy in Outlook. StockUnlimited

Outlook offers more than one way to file emails; pick the one that’s right for you.

The Organizing Movement

Keeping your messages organized may take some moving them around, from one Outlook folder to another.

One easy and fast way to transfer a message is with a handy keyboard shortcut. By no means in this the only way, though–and not the only fast way either.

Move Email Messages Quickly in Outlook Using the Keyboard

To file mail fast in Outlook using a keyboard shortcut:

  1. Open the message you want to move.
    • You can open the message in the Outlook reading pane or in its own window.
    • You can also merely select the email in a message list.
  2. Press Ctrl-Shift-V.
  3. Highlight a folder.
    • You can click on any folder with the left mouse button or use the up and down keys to traverse the list until the right folder is highlighted.
    • Use the right and left arrow buttons to expand and collapse folder structures, respectively.
    • If you press a letter, Outlook will cycle through the folder whose name starts with that letter (in all visible folders, for collapsed hierarchies, Outlook will only jump to the parent folder).
    • You can also create a new folder directly in this dialog:
      1. Click the New… button.
      2. Type the name you want to use for the new folder under Name:.
      3. Make sure the folder under which you want the new folder to appear is highlighted under Select where to place the folder:.
      4. Click OK.
  4. Press Return.
    • ​You can also click OK, of course.

    Move Email Messages Quickly in Outlook Using the Ribbon

    To file one email or a selection of messages quickly in Outlook using the ribbon:

    1. Make sure the message or messages you want to move are open or selected in an Outlook message list.
      • ​​You can open an email in its own window or in the Outlook reading pane.
    1. ​Make sure the Home ribbon is selected and expanded.
    2. Click Move in the Move section.
    3. To move to a folder you recently used for moving or copying:
      1. ​Select the desired folder directly from the menu that has appeared.
        • ​​If you have folders with the same name under different accounts or just in different places in one account's folder hierarchy, Outlook will not tell you the recently used folder's path explicitly; to be sure where your message will end up, proceed to the next step.
    4. ​To move to a specific folder in a list:
      1. ​Select Other Folder… from the menu.
      2. Use the Move Items dialog as above.

    If you pick one folder often, you can also set up a handy shortcut for filing to it.

    Move Email Messages Quickly in Outlook Using Dragging and Dropping

    To move an email (or a group of emails) to a different folder using just your mouse in Outlook:

    1. Make sure all emails you want to move are highlighted in the current Outlook message list.
    2. Click on any of the highlighted messages with the left mouse button and keep the button pressed.
      • ​​To move a single message, you can merely click it; do make sure it is not part of a range of messages that are all highlighted, though, or all selected emails will be moved.
    3. ​Move the mouse cursor on top of the folder to which you want to move the messages.
      • ​​If the folder list is collapsed, move the mouse cursor over it (keeping the mouse button down) until it expands.
      • If the desired folder is out of sight up or down the list, Outlook will scroll the list as you get to an edge.
      • If the desired folder is a collapsed sub-folder, position the mouse cursor over the parent folder until it is expanded.
    1. ​Release the mouse button.

    (Tested with Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and Outlook 2016)