How to enable the Conversation view in Outlook

The Outlook Conversation view is available in all of our Outlook platforms including

  • Outlook on campus PCs,
  • Outlook 365 (webmail),
  • Outlook for Mac and
  • the Outlook mobile apps

The Conversation view is a different way to arrange your email. It groups messages with (usually) the same subject together making it easier to follow an email thread. It can take some getting used to but, for some folks, it can be a more efficient way to keep related emails together.

The Conversation view can be enabled on a folder by folder basis so, if you don’t like it for your main Inbox but do like it for other Outlook folders, it can certainly be used that way.

And, as with Focused Inbox, you can turn it off and on as best fits your needs.

screenshot of outlook View options with Show as Conversations checkedFrom any email folder, click View in the top bar and then check or uncheck Show as Conversations to toggle Conversation view on or off.

In the dialogue box that appears, you can select to apply the Conversation view to all mailboxes or the specific folder.

Conversation that include multiple messages are identified in the message list by a small triangle icon (triangle carot icon) to the left of the sender name. Click the triangle carot icon to expand the Conversation.

If you enable the Conversation view, there are several options under Conversation Settings:

  • Show Messages from Other Folders – Use this option to display messages in the conversation that have been moved to other folders as well as messages you’ve sent that are stored in your Sent Items folder.
  • Show Senders Above the Subject – Selecting this option shows the sender names at the top of the conversation rather than the conversation subject.
  • Always Expand Selected Conversation – This option applies only to the currently selected conversation. The conversation selected when you check this box will always appear expanded.
  • Use Classic Indented View – Classic indented view shows messages in the conversation indented based on their position within the conversation.


Within each conversation, messages are sorted with the newest message on top. You cannot change this sort order.

When you receive a new message that’s part of a conversation, the whole conversation moves to the top of your message list.

Any Conversation that includes unread messages has a bold subject and the count of the unread messages appears next to the subject.

When you click to expand the Conversation, any unread message has a bold heading.