Organising your inbox using 'Clutter' or 'Focused Inbox'

Clutter and Focused Inbox are Microsoft Outlook features that are intended to promote important emails so you can view them first. Depending on when you joined the University and how you access your email you may have access to one and not the other. Ultimately Focused Inbox will replace Clutter.

What do they do?

Clutter attempts to identify and move low priority emails out of your Inbox and into a new Clutter folder, allowing you to focus on your important messages.

The Focused Inbox feature separates your inbox into two tabs - Focused and Other. Your most important email messages are in the Focused tab while the rest remain easily accessible—but out of the way—in the Other tab.

In both cases Outlook tries to identify low priority emails based on your past habits. For example if you regularly delete emails from a particular sender without reading, it will move them into the Clutter folder or Other tab.

Why has my Clutter feature stopped working?

From January 2020, Microsoft began phasing out Clutter. As a result, Clutter functionality is unpredictable and Clutter is occasionally turned off or stops working. Unfortunately, Microsoft has eliminated the ability to turn Clutter back on once it stops working. Focused Inbox is the eventual replacement for Clutter and should be used instead, if Clutter has stopped working for you.

How do I turn Focused Inbox off?

Focused Inbox can also be switched off, please see Microsoft' guidance on how to do this for the device you are using. 

How can I help Clutter and Focused Inbox learn?

You should move emails in and out of your Clutter folder or Focused Inbox to show which emails belong where. You can find guidance on how to do this and more information about Clutter and Focused Inbox on the Microsoft support site:

Will I lose control of my email?

The Clutter folder is created alongside your Inbox. You can easily see which messages are moved into this folder, and by moving messages into and out of this folder manually you can also help to improve the rules which identify (or don’t identify) your clutter messages.

If you are using Focused Inbox you can also easily see messages by switching from the 'Focused' tab to the 'Other' tab. You can also right click on any email in either the Focused or Other Tab and move the email to the other tab. This can be done as a one-off or for all such messages

How will I know what these services are doing?

You will be sent alerts no more than once a day which explain when any new message types are moved to Clutter. If you are using Clutter you will also be sent weekly summary notifications listing the rules in use and the total number of messages moved by those rules during that week. Focused Inbox provides no summary notifications.

There is further information about Clutter and Focused Inbox on Microsoft's website.