One of the main reasons why IMAP got popular and is the most attractive reason for modern-day clients and email providers is that it has the ability to let users create folders in their mailbox from the client-end. Those folders can then be synced to the servers, making it possible to access the same folder and hierarchy from any place. You can then also create rules to automatically send emails to specific folders and so on, giving you plenty of control on how you want to manage the emails into folders.
How to Manage Folders In Outlook
This article discusses how to sort emails into folders, one by one, in bulk, and also automatically. We will also discuss the management of folders themselves. We hope it helps in making Outlook and your email data much cleaner and easier to maintain. A bit of maintenance work can go a long way in working efficiently and saving a lot more time than otherwise would have been possible.
How to create an IMAP folder?
- Click on the email account where you want to create a new folder.
- Type in the name of the folder and press enter
- If the account was an IMAP account, Outlook automatically creates the folder as IMAP
And that’s pretty much all you have to do. Give Outlook some time to sync the folder to the server as well, so you can also access it from other devices.
To change its default properties, right-click on it and go to ‘Properties.’
Here you can change its properties if you want but it is not necessary.
How to sort the folders within an account?
By default, all the folders in an email account will be sorted alphabetically in Outlook.
If you want to move a folder up or down, right click on and choose either up or down. You can also manually drag the folder to any location you want within the hierarchy. Be careful while doing so, as it is common to accidentally place a folder inside another folder.
How to Update all the folders
If you think you are not seeing all the folders that are on the mail server, you can manually update them and force Outlook to sync with the server.
To do so,
- First click on any IMAP folder inside the account (not the default ones like ‘Sent,’ ‘Drafts’ etc.)
- Then go to ‘Folder’ tab at the top ribbon
- Click on “Update Folder List” inside the “IMAP” group, which forces Outlook to start “Send and receive” command
How to move an email to a different folder?
If you think an email belongs to a different folder than it is currently in, you can do so by simply dragging it to the appropriate folder on the left pane. As you drag it and bring closer to the folders, the folder it will be over currently will be highlighted. Then drop the email to move it to that folder.
You can also do the same for multiple emails. Select multiple emails using Ctrl key and then drag all of them to the folder of your choice.
Another way is to select emails you want to move and then go to ‘Move’ in the ‘Home’ tab and select the desired folder. If you cannot see all the folders, you have to select “other folder” to open the list of all the folders and then select the desired folder.
Create Rules to automatically move folders
You can create Outlook rules to automatically move new emails to the folder where they belong. First select the email, go to “Rules” in home tab > Create rule > and then select the action as “move to folder” and then specify the folder. All the future emails like the selected one will be automatically moved to that folder. You can specify the email address, subject line, and more conditions that you want the incoming mails to meet before moving them to the respective folders.
Subscribe/Unsubscribe to IMAP folders
In the later versions of Outlook, when you add an email account, it will download all the folders from the server to the local database. All those folders are IMAP folders and are automatically subscribed, which means, the changes to the folders are always in sync with the servers. And when you create a new folder, that too will always be an IMAP folder by default and is subscribed.
But if you think there are folders that are not subscribed, you can subscribe to them by following the steps below:
- First click any folder and then go to ‘Folders’ tab of the Outlook ribbon
- Click on “IMAP folders” inside the “IMAP” group
- A new dialog box will open up. You can enter the search query to look for particular folders, but you can also leave it blank and hit “Query” button to retrieve all the IMAP folders.
- Once the list of folders is available, you can click on the folders and then click on “subscribe” on the right
- You can also see all the subscribed folders by clicking on “Subscribed” tab
How to move emails folders if inbox contains many emails?
When there are a lot of emails in your inbox folder, it can get tedious to move all of them to the appropriate folders, where they will be easier to search for.
But what you can do to make things easier is sort emails based on the criteria upon which you have created the folders. For instance, if you have a folder named “Microsoft OneDrive,” then you can sort the emails in the inbox based on the sender. This will make all the emails from the OneDrive domain all lined up together. Then you can select them all using shift key and then move them to the “Microsoft OneDrive” folder. You can pretty quickly sort a lot of emails to their folders pretty quickly.
One last tip:
Maintain the size of the folders, so they don’t get too large and start making Outlook slow. You can regularly compact the folders that contain a lot of emails. This keeps the Outlook client fast and responsive.
This may look at bit of work on the surface but can actually go a long way in reducing the email work load, especially in managing and searching for emails. We hope the tips above will help you managing the emails and folders more efficiently.