De-clutter your inbox in Office 365

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Brian Shiers is a senior product marketing manager and Kumar Venkateswar is a senior program manager on the Exchange team.


Editor’s Note
The FAQs have been updated to include clarification on how Clutter works with Outlook desktop clients.

Today we are beginning the roll out of Clutter to Office 365 business customers, which brings the power of Office Graph to your inbox. Clutter is designed to help you focus on the most important messages in your inbox. It uses machine learning to de-clutter your inbox by moving lower priority messages out of your way and into a new Clutter folder. Ultimately, Clutter removes distractions so you can focus on what matters most.

The Clutter experience

Take a look at this video to learn how Clutter helps you keep focused on the most important items in your inbox.

How Clutter works

Clutter learns from your actions to determine the messages you are likely to ignore. As less important messages arrive, they are automatically moved to the Clutter folder. Clutter does this by leveraging Office Graph’s sophisticated machine learning techniques to determine which messages are Clutter. It gets smarter over time, learning from your prior actions with similar messages, and assessing things like the type of content and even how you are addressed in the message. The Clutter experience is personalized to each individual and reflects an email experience that adapts to your actions and preferences without you having to do anything. The information Clutter learns from each user’s actions are only applied to that user’s experience and are not shared with anyone else.

Getting started with Clutter

By default, Clutter is disabled for your inbox. Each person controls whether to turn Clutter on or off. You control Clutter from the Outlook Web App (OWA) options menu. You can turn it on as soon as Clutter is available for your Office 365 tenant. Clutter begins taking actions once it has sufficiently learned your work style and can confidently begin working for you. If you later find Clutter isn’t for you, it can be turned off any time.

Clutter is best suited and most effective for those of us who tend to pile up messages in our inboxes. Clutter respects your existing email rules, so if you have created rules to organize your email those rules continue to be applied and Clutter won’t act on those messages.

Working with Clutter

The less important messages are simply moved to the Clutter folder. They remain out of your way until you have time to review the items—if you choose to. You can proactively train Clutter by marking items as Clutter or simply move the items to the Clutter folder. If you find items in your Clutter folder that shouldn’t be there, train Clutter by moving the message back to your inbox. Clutter continuously learns and will adapt to your new patterns within days when you begin working on new projects or a new role. As you work with Clutter it will notify you of its activity in your inbox, this is Clutter helping you keep in control of your messages

The Clutter folder allows you to take advantage of the feature across many email clients including Outlook, OWA, OWA for devices, or EAS connected devices. Clutter continuously learns from your actions across these clients. Regardless of the client, the messages moved to the Clutter folder are out of your inbox view—yet readily accessible.

Join the YamJam

On Thursday, November 13th, the Office 365 Technical Network will host a Clutter YamJam from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. PT / 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. UTC to discuss the Clutter feature. For those unfamiliar with a YamJam, it is similar to a “TweetJam” on Twitter or an “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” on Reddit, except it takes place on Yammer. A YamJam provides the opportunity for the community to ask questions and have a discussion with a panel of Microsoft experts on a particular topic.

How to participate:

  1. Request access to the Office 365 Technical Network.
  2. Join the Exchange IT Pro group. You can find it by using the Browse Groups function or through the search bar.
  3. Log in at 9:00 a.m. PT on Thursday, November 13th to ask questions, follow the discussions and connect with Microsoft team members

Frequently asked questions

Q. When will the Clutter feature be available in my Office 365 environment?

A. Customers who have opted into First Release will begin seeing the Clutter feature today. We are first rolling out the feature to those using the English locale, other languages will follow as localization is complete. Deployment to standard deployment tenants is targeted to begin later this month.

Q. I turned Clutter on but nothing happened? 

A. Clutter is still learning so that it can provide strong predictions and will only begin taking actions once it has a learned your work style. You can expedite Clutter’s learning by moving messages into the Clutter folder to help train it. The more you move, the faster it will learn.

Q. Can I disable Clutter after I have turned it on? 

A. Yes, you can turn Clutter off. It can be turned off from the OWA options page. If turned off existing items in the Clutter folder will remain in the Clutter folder.

Q. How to train Clutter that items are or aren’t Clutter? 

A. The easiest way to train Clutter is by simply completing your work. You can explicitly train Clutter by moving items to or from the Clutter folder. In OWA, Clutter-specific actions are available as a right-click commands to mark items as Clutter or not Clutter.

Q. Are clutter items automatically deleted after a specified time period? 

A. The Clutter folder does not apply a specific clean-up action. The default policy for a new folder is applied to the Clutter folder at time of creation, and can later be changed. Users in OWA are provided Clutter specific quick clean-up tools to expedite the deletion of the Clutter messages.

Q. Does Clutter work in Outlook desktop clients?

A. Yes. Once turned on by the user, the Clutter folder is available in Outlook and is automatically added in your folder Favorites. In Outlook, users interact with Clutter by moving items to/from the Clutter folder, which trains Clutter for your inbox. You must use the OWA options menu to turn Clutter on or off.



Join the conversation

  1. So this basically adds a third layer. There’s SPAM, Clutter and good stuff. 🙂 I’m assuming that Clutter will work with the SPAM filters and not replace them, right?

    Also, I never heard about this “1st Release” for Office 365. Hmmm…

  2. Great feature!
    Are you planing to add subfolders to the Clutter?
    Personally I’ve been using Inbox Rules for years to move newsletter, deals/offers (like Groupon) and so on to some Inbox Subfolders (_Deals, _News, _Ads).
    Whilst I’d like to use Clutter for this I’m not yet sure if it can handle this (in the future)?

    • Clutter is not intended to be your long term storage location as the messages that are sent to Clutter are items you typically ignore. We don’t have plans to create Clutter sub-folders. If you like our inbox organized in a range of folders rules will continue to be your best solution.

  3. I have an Office 365 Business Premium Plan and it is not possible to activate Clutter. Is this just a service for Office 365 Enterprise E3 users ?? ….

    • Clutter is available for Office 365 Business Premium plans, it is not restricted to the Enterprise E3 plan. Are you using a non-English language? As noted in the blog we are making Clutter available to users working in English first. If this doesn’t explain the situation contact support to investigate your specific conditions.

  4. This feature would be significantly better if it worked similar to ALL and UNREAD, where you could simply change the view in the Inbox. One more folder is just tedious. Acompli does this really well in iOS.

  5. Clutter has been enabled and during the first few days, it did nothing. I manually trained it moving dozens of emails into the clutter folder. Then it started working all of a sudden. Nicely. Now it stopped working with clutter email going to the inbox and none to clutter.
    When it worked, it was great. I think it will be a great addition because 3/4 of my email is news, industry updates, feeds to which I subscribe, notices from vendors and sellers, etc. All mail I want to see, but do not need to see right away in my inbox which is monitored for important work email from clients.
    Knowing that it is a work in progress, is this the erratic behavior we should expect, or is there something I can do to check my clutter service besides the controls offered in OWA to enable and disable?
    I have an Office 365 Enterprise E3 account.

  6. When you’ll add this in Please!

  7. This looks very interesting. I’m curious to see how it will works in conjunction with rules.

    On a side note, is there a way to create booleans rules? I’ve searched and searched and I didn’t find anything.
    I.e. if sender is X or subject is Y then…

    • By the way, AND/OR rules are possible in Windows Live Mail

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