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Quickly Find Unread Emails in Outlook

Quickly Find Unread Emails in Outlook

Despite my recent angry post about Microsoft, I’m still a fan of their products. The one I use the most is Outlook and every time I try any other email client, I quickly end up discovering that they are lacking features I want and that I just take for granted should be in an email client.

Do I think Outlook is perfect? No. But it’s one of the few programs I use where I almost never say, “Why can’t you do this thing I need to do?”


I’ve long thought it was really odd that there’s no button in any of the ribbons to just view your unread messages. I’m pretty sure earlier versions of the program (pre-ribbons) had the option front and center. It’s not something that bothers me on a regular basis because I rarely leave messages unread.

However, while I was in Canada for two months, I fell behind on organizing my Inbox and so when there was an email I was going to need to act on, I set it back to Unread. This morning I finally had a chance to look at them again, but there were only half a dozen among more than 1,000 messages, so I wanted to just see those ones in my message list.

In the past, when I did need to do it, I used the View > View Settings > Filter option to just show unread messages. But for some reason today, as I was about to do that, I decided that there had to be a less convoluted way to do this. So I called on Mr. Google and sure enough, there are two methods that are so. much. simpler.

So here they are!

1. On the Home ribbon, in the Find section, click on Filter and voila! There’s Unread, right at the top.

When you select that, the filter will appear at the top of the message pane so you can just click the “x” to go back to the full list.

2. Click inside the search box at the top of the message list to bring up the Search ribbon. In the Refine section of this ribbon is a button for Unread. Click that for the same results.


Reader Tip

After the two great ones that reader Ian sent in for the post from yesterday and the day before, I’m back down to zero tips. 🙁

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Elizabeth Kricfalusi

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