Farewell Clutter … hello Focused Inbox in Outlook


Outlook’s Clutter feature is going away in favor of the Focused Inbox. Both have the same limitation that Microsoft doesn’t talk about much.

Clutter was a hyped Outlook/Exchange feature which shunted lower priority messages to a separate folder.  Marketing emails, group messages etc could go to Clutter leaving, in theory, important emails only in the Inbox.  Clutter has been sent to the dumping ground after only four years.

What Microsoft didn’t say prominently.  Clutter is not an Outlook software feature alone.  It relied on matching features in the mail host, so Clutter only worked when connected to Office 365 mail hosting, Outlook.com or a very recent Exchange Server version hosted elsewhere.

Clutter is now off by default.  It’s also disabled for low-use customers (less than 12 clutter messages a month).  It will stop completely at the end of January 2020 for Office 365 hosted mail.

Focused Inbox

It’s the same with the replacement mail sorting feature, Focused Inbox.  Focused Inbox is not an Outlook software feature alone, it needs the right mail host as well.

To see if your mail host has Focused Inbox go to the View tab and look for the big ‘Show Focused Inbox’ button.

Focused Inbox uses the same mail sorting system as Clutter did. There is little or no difference in the way mail is separated.

Focused Inbox keeps all your email in the Inbox folder, just displays the messages in a split Focused/Other views.

Clutter created a separate folder for the lower priority messages.


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