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Do you love the conversation arrangement introduced in Outlook 2003, but feel like there is something missing? Well there is! By default, the conversation arrangement doesn’t include your contribution to the conversation. With just a few steps, you can configure Outlook to save copies of all outgoing messages in your Inbox to create what I like to call the Ultimate Inbox. Take a look at my Inbox and you’ll see the messages I’ve sent are right alongside incoming messages making the conversations complete. (I use categories extensively too. More on that in a future post.)
Here are the steps to make your own Ultimate Inbox:
Step 1: Open Rules and Alerts and click New Rule…
Step 2: Select “Check messages after sending” and click Next
Step 3: Click Next again if you want ALL outgoing messages to be copied to your Inbox
Step 4: Click Yes on the succeeding dialog box
Step 5: Select the ‘move a copy to the specified folder’ action and choose your Inbox
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind if you decide to start using this rule or a similar rule :
1. This rule is a client-only rule which means it will only work when Outlook is running. If you send mail from Outlook Web Access or your Windows Mobile device, it will not be copied to your Inbox.
2. Outgoing messages copied to the Inbox will appear as unread messages.
3. This rule makes copies of outgoing messages so you’ll end up with two copies, one in your Inbox and another in your Sent-Items folder. If you have a small mailbox quota you should prevent Outlook from keeping a copy of outgoing messages in the Sent-Items folder, clear Save copies of messages in Sent Items folder in the dialog below:
Tools | Options | E-mail Options
4. If you have a lot of folders, click In folders other than the Inbox, save replies with original message in the dialog below, to create the same experience in all folders:
Tools | Options | E-mail Options | Advanced E-mail Options
Now you have the Ultimate Inbox!
Outlook Program Manager
More info on rules:
Quick Rule Creation in Outlook 2010
Outlook Best Practices: RulesOutlook 2010 can save your hide: Creating custom rules (Crabby's Daily Tip)Make the New Year great with a better organized Inbox
Will this affect the overall performance of Outlook? I thought it was not recommended having so much items in your inbox or a single Outlook folder.
The way Outlook shows an extra header and padding when you group by conversation is so annoying. Why not just do it like Thunderbird does? No heading, only the subject of each message, with each message shown in a tree at the appropriate level. Also, could you show a screenshot of the Define Views page? When I try to replicate your settings in Outlook 2007, it insists on putting the text "Conversation: " or "Subject: " before the message subject. Is there any way to get rid of that? It's taking up valuable screen space.
Nice tip. I love conversation view and cc myself on most of my outgoing mail just for this purpose. Here's a DCR for you: Add the ability to for these options: AND Delete | Permanently delete parent message
UNLESS Parent message has attachments = TRUE This will help to keep your inbox a little tidier.
Ellen, why not just create a search folder that combines the Inbox and Sent Items folders, with no search criteria? That would give you the same data, but without all that duplication that the rule creates.
I think I found a mistake in your instructions.
If you fill the checkbox "In folders other than the Inbox, save replies with original message", but clear the "Save copies of messages in Sent Items folder", (as you instructed), the sent emails are not saved with the original mesage after all. Once you enable the "Save copies of messages in Sent Item folder", the message is moved from the Sent Items folder to the appropiate folder. Also, this has no affect/effect on the "Inbox" rule.
Whether mail is moved to the originail mail's folder or not, Outlook still puts an unread copy inside the mailbox. This is what I've come up so far.
If I'm doing something wrong / there's a fix to this this behavoir, please post an update on the blog.
Ultimate inbox....sorry guys. This is nothing. When we see the day when we really can start using group mailboxes ? Today, you send email as the group mailbox and that file is saved into your personal sent items. What kind group mailbox that is ? Yes, I can made a rule for myself and then it is copying the messages to that mailbox. But in real life, the problem is that we have 10000+ users who should be able to use own group mailboxes. And these users are changing their workstations. You should see that it is a mess. Ultimate inbox sounds good, but you should see, that it is limited to use only in your personal mailbox. I might receive so less emails that this doesn't sound so cool. But this feature is very needed in the group mailboxes where everyone is able to see the threads.
Thanks for the article! I've been looking for just this and almost *had* to write a macro to get the functionality I knew I wanted but just couldn't find. One more step that helped me out was to create a second rule of the form: Check message upon arrival -> From me -> Mark it as read. Hopefully that helps out someone else too.
Any thoughts as to why my sent item filing doesn't work? I have checked "Save Copies of messages in Sent Item folder" and checked "In folders other than the Inbox, save replies with original message" but joyous Outlook persists with filing my sent items in my Sent Items folder. I'm sure this is a bug: Outlook 2003 used to work fine.
I use outlook 2007, but I'm not able to get the replies within each conversation thread to indent. How is that done? Thanks in advance.
You're kidding me, right? What an unbelievable hoop to have to jump thru. Is the same true for Outlook 2007? I'm presuming not because the article talks about 2003. Ultimate inbox? The idea of the inbox is that it should be fairly empty so you can focus on incoming stuff, not full of everything you ever sent. I have the ultimate inbox... in Lotus Notes 8. And you don't have to fart around with it to do stuff like this.
Hi, I have tried this technique, and it works except that when the emails show up in my inbox they show up deleted. I think I implemented the rule exactly as you described - any ideas as to why I am getting the mails deleted? Thanks.
Keep it together Darren. It's not that big of a deal. Another way is to use the "search folders" functionality. Create a Search Folder, included the folders you want in "criteria" > "advanced settings" > "In Folder" "is (exactly)" "Inbox/Sent/Outbox/Drafts". Name is something like "Inbox +".
You can then sort by conversation and you've got a chronological threaded view of your most important folders. Benefit of this is that you haven't lost the categorization of 'sent' mail because they still exist in the correct folder.
I have synched a DL to Outlook successfully. It would work perfectly if I could move other Email messages into the SharePoint List folder that it made, so those Emails would also show up in the DL. It seems that it would work both ways. Am I missing something? The new SP Lists folder is read only so I can't add anything. Thanks,
Actually, it shouws how ugly Outlook rules still are.
The better and obviously easier way is just automatically moving ALL incoming messages from Inbox to some other folder (name it "Mailbox") and using the "In folders other than the Inbox, save replies with original message" feature. Voila! How many tricky rules I needed for this? ;) Furthermore, every Outlook time/task mgmt training I encountered first and foremost told the Inbox must be sorted out and emptied before you start actually reading and taking actions on your emails.
Furthermore, if you want to see how really powerful rules should look like - check out RitLabs TheBAT program. I wish I could use once a program that could manage emails like TheBAT and the rest (calendar/tasks/contacts partly) as Outlook...