How to Use Focused Inbox in Outlook — or Disable It Altogether

Enable or disable Outlook's Focused Inbox

How to Use Focused Inbox in Outlook — or Disable It Altogether

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Recent versions of Outlook have introduced (and made it be the default view) a feature called Focused Inbox. This feature separates important emails from the rest and places them in a special tab for fast access.

If you find Focused Inbox more confusing than helpful and generally cumbersome you can turn it off. If you do like it, we'll show you how to customize it for your needs.

These instructions apply to Outlook 2016, Outlook for Office 365, and Outlook.com.

How to Enable or Disable Focused Inbox in Outlook

The correct method depends on which version of Outlook you are using.

Enable or Disable Focused Inbox in Outlook 2016 and Outlook for Office 365

Turn Focused Inbox on or off with a single selection.

  1. Go to your inbox folder in Outlook.

  2. Select the View tab on the ribbon.

    Screenshot of View tab with Show Focused Inbox selected
  3. Select Show Focused Inbox to turn Focused Inbox on or off.

Enable or Disable Focused Inbox in Outlook.com

To toggle Focused Inbox in Outlook Mail on the web:

  1. Click the settings gear icon (⚙️).

  2. Select the toggle switch next to Focused Inbox in the Quick Settings list in the right pane of the window to enable or disable the Focused Inbox view.

    Screenshot of Outlook.com Quick Settings
  3. Close Quick Settings.

How Does Outlook Decide Which Emails to Put in the Focused Inbox?

For any email you receive, Outlook takes into account a number of factors to see whether it is worthy of Focused Inbox treatment. These include:

  • Previous training for similar emails.

    Example: If you have moved an email from a newsletter to Focused Inbox, future messages from the same newsletter will appear under Focused Inbox automatically.

  • People you have emailed in the past.

    Example: You have sent numerous messages to a client; a new message from their email address automatically appears under Focused.

  • People in your Outlook Contacts.

    Example: a marketer asked you to add them to your address book, which you did to avoid having their messages treated as junk; now, their emails appear on the Focused tab.

  • Known newsletters, mailing lists, and transactional emails or notifications.

    Example: Updates about the Facebook page you set up for your side business appear under Other.

  • You can also "train" your Focused Inbox.

How Can I Move Emails and Train Outlook Focused Inbox?

You can move an email to or from the Focused Inbox in Outlook or Outlook.com

  1. Right-click the message you want to move.

  2. Select Move to Focus or Always Move to Focus.

    Screenshot of Move to Focused in Outlook
  3. Alternatively, move emails from the Focused Inbox to Other by selecting Move to Other on the right-click menu.

All installations of Outlook and Outlook Mail on the web let you enable Focused Inbox independently. If you turn off Focused Inbox in one place, it will not automatically be disabled with other installations — and vice versa.