Section A – How and why you should use Conversations

There’s a pretty convenient setting in Outlook 2016 that allows you to organize your inbox by date, by sender, by recipient, etc., and by Conversation. When this last option is enabled, a group of messages appear as a single line item with an arrow icon when not selected:

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… and as a cascade of back and forth messages when selected, with the newest messages at the top:

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Obviously, the conversation capability can drastically reduce clutter, and it helps make items in your inbox that much easier to find and act upon. You can turn Conversations on by going to the View tab in your ribbon and clicking the radio button beside Show as Conversations.

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Section B – How to ignore certain Conversations

Inevitably, there are going to be some conversations that you don’t want to pay attention. Maybe you’re on a broad distribution list or there’s someone in your office who is really into sharing videos of cats playing the piano.

If you don’t use Ignore, the same inane nonsense and anti-content will continue to jump to the top of your inbox as new replies come in. It doesn’t matter how many times you press the delete button, the conversation will reappear at the top of your inbox with the arrival of each new reply.

Ignore not only moves the conversation to your Deleted Items folder, it reroutes any new messages in the conversation to the Deleted Items folder as well.

Here’s how to keep these particular discussions from interrupting you:

1. Select the conversation

2. Under the Delete group in the Home tab, click Ignore

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(FYI, there are also a couple other ways of accomplishing this. You could select the conversation and press [Ctrl] + [Delete], or you can right-click the conversation and select Ignore from the options that appear.)

If for whatever reason you would like to bring an ignored conversation back to your inbox, you can do so by navigating to your Deleted Items folder, selecting the conversation, clicking Ignore (it should appear as a depressed button before you click it)

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and finally selecting Stop Ignoring Conversation in the resulting pop-up window.

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And now the conversation is back in your inbox. Pretty easy, huh?