How to Sort Outlook Folders in Arbitrary, Non-Alphabetic Order

World map on transparent virtual folder
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Naturally, you have met your friends, chosen your projects and picked your hobbies so that the most important start with A (like "Aardvark") and the least important begin with Z (like "Zorilla"). They line up perfectly in your Outlook's folder list!

You mean you want to pick up making "Yogurt" and it's very important? And you have tried dragging around your folders to re-arrange them? All to no avail?

Unfortunately, Outlook is very strict about its alphabetically sorting folders. Fortunately, it is just strict sorting cardinally.

Sort Outlook Folders in Arbitrary, Non-Alphabetic Order

To apply custom order to your folders in Outlook:

  • Click on the folder you wish to appear first with the right mouse button.
  • Select Rename from the menu.
  • Precede the current folder name with "1 " (not including the quotation marks).
    • If the folder is called "Today", for example, change the name to "1 Today".
  • Hit Enter.
  • Repeat for the folder you wish to appear next; precede its name with "2 ".
  • Continue renaming folders with the desired order number.
    • If you have many folders and wish to retain flexibility, rename folders "1 Today", "10 This Week", "20 This Month" etc..
    • You can also group folders as sub-folders and sort the parent folders using the same technique.
    • As a gentler alternative to numbers, you can use lower case letters: "a Today", "c This Week", "e This Month" etc.

To bring a single folder to the top in the Outlook folder list:

  • Rename the folder preceding its name with "!".
    • "Today" would become "!Today", for example.