How to organise your folders in Microsoft Outlook for Mac

6 August 2019
Samantha Garrett
How to organise your folders in Microsoft Outlook for Mac

Folders have long been one of the main ways to organise your emails and keep your inbox tidy in Microsoft Outlook for Mac. However, if you’ve been using the same email account in Outlook for Mac for a while, you’ve probably ended up with a long list of folders that can be cumbersome and time consuming to navigate. In this blog post, I’ll share three tips you can use to better organise your folders for greater efficiency.

Note: The steps and images shown in this post are for Outlook for Mac (Office 365 version 16.27, July 2019). Some things may look a little different if you are using another version of Outlook for Mac, but the general process will remain the same. If you are a Windows user, check out this blog post on organising your folders in Outlook Windows version.

Tip 1: Add folders to your Favorites list

The Favorites list sits right at the top of the Folder Pane in Outlook for Mac and contains shortcuts to folders that you use frequently. However, it does not appear until after you have added your first folder as a favourite! You can add any folder from any of your email accounts to Favorites. This is a great way to make your most important or most used folders really quick and easy to find and use.

To add a folder to Favorites
The easiest way to add a folder to Favorites is to hover your mouse over the folder and click the little star icon that appears on the right hand side.

Tip: You can also add a folder to Favorites by right clicking the folder and choosing the Add to Favorites option, or clicking the folder to select it, then choosing File > Folder > Add to Favorites.

The Favorites list will now appear right at the top of the folder pane.


Have you added your frequently used #Microsoft #Outlook for #Mac folders to the Favorites list? Click To Tweet


To change the order of folders in Favorites
After you have added a folder to Favorites, you can change the order of the folder in the list by dragging and dropping it to the desired position.

To remove a folder from Favorites
Once you start using Favorites, you may find that you get a bit too enthusiastic about favoriting folders and end up with a Favorites list that is too long! To avoid this, it is a good idea to periodically check over your Favorites and remove any folders that are no longer your most important or frequently used.

There are three ways to remove a folder from Favorites:

  • Hovering over the folder and clicking the little star icon again to ‘un-star’ the folder.
  • Right clicking the folder and choosing the Remove from Favorites option.
  • Clicking the folder to select it, then choosing File > Folder > Remove from Favorites.

Tip 2: Change the order of your folders

Another way to make your most-used folders quicker and easier to access is to put them at the top of the folder list. Folders are shown in alphabetical order by default. The only way to change this order is to use symbols or numbers as part of the folder name to force particular folders to sit at the top alphabetically. Here is an example of what that looks like using the @ symbol at the start of the folder.


Instead of the ‘@Travel bookings’ folder being in the ‘T’ section, it is shown right at the top of the folder list.

You can add a symbol or number to a folder name by right-clicking the folder and choosing the Rename folder option. Any number and most symbols will work as part of the name. You can even use emojis too!

Here’s some tips for changing the order of folders in #Microsoft #Outlook for #Mac Click To Tweet


Tip 3: Move folders you no longer use into Archive

One of the reasons that your folder list may become long and cumbersome is because you have folders that you no longer actively use, but don’t want to delete. This tends to happen when people move between different positions, projects or clients within their organisation and their filing structure changes.

Outlook has an Archive folder that can be used to help keep the Inbox clear. This feature is also really useful for storing folders that you no longer use but don’t want to delete. By moving these folders to Archive, your core folder lister becomes shorter, more relevant and more efficient to navigate. However, it is still really easy to access your archived folders if you need them.

The Archive folder is located in the Folder Pane. Each email account within Outlook has its own Archive folder.
Tip: If you don’t see the archive folder, it is because you have never used it before. The best way to force Outlook for Mac to create the Archive folder is to archive an email using the steps outlined here. You will then be prompted to create the Archive folder.


Do your #Microsoft #Outlook for #Mac folders need a spring clean? Try moving them to Archive! Click To Tweet


To move a folder into Archive

There are two ways to move a folder into Archive:

  • Drag and drop the folder into Archive, or
  • Right-click the folder and choose the Move folder option. In the box that appears, search for and select the ‘Archive’ folder within your email account, then click Move.

If you ever need to move a folder out of Archive, you can simply repeat the steps above and choose your Inbox or email account as the location to move the folder back too.

If you spend a few minutes of your time today organising your Outlook for Mac folders using these three tips, you’ll spend less time navigating your Inbox and more time on the tasks that matter.

Interested in getting more efficient with Microsoft Office 365 tools?
Contact us to find out more about our face-to-face and online training options for your organisation.

Prefer to see these folder tips in action?
Check out our video below.

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