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Outlook Main Interface – Folder Pane

The Folder Pane is an important part of Outlook main interface. It usually displays on the left hand, and helps Outlook users switch to different folders and different views (Mail, Calendar, People, Task, Notes and All Folders). In this tutorial, I will introduce the Folder Pane in the Outlook main interface.

Note: This tutorial is introduced based on Microsoft Outlook 2019 desktop program in Windows 10. And it may vary significantly or slightly depending on the version of Microsoft Outlook and the Windows environments.

The Folder Pane displays differently depending on which view you are in. Here I will take the Mail view for example to introduce the Folder Pane. In the mail view, we can learn the Folder Pane in three sections: Favorites, mailboxes and folders, and peek based on the separator lines and background color.


Favorites

The Favorites section is at the top of Folder Pane, and Outlook users can quickly access the favorited folder here.

(1) Add a folder to Favorites: Select the folder you want to add to Favorites section, right click, and select Add to Favorites from the context menu (or you can drag the folder and drop it in the Favorites section directly).

(2) Remove a folder from Favorites: Select the folder you want to remove from Favorites, right click, and select Remove from Favorites from the context menu.

Note: You can also select a folder In the Folder Pane, and click Folder > Add to Favorites to add it to Favorites or remove it from Favorites.

(3) Turn off Favorites: Click View > Folder Pane > Favorites to untick the Favorites in the drop-down list.
doc outlook folder pane 05


Mailboxes and folders

The Mailboxes and folders display in the middle section of the Folder Pane. You can click a certain folder name to quickly access the folder. In addition, you can also edit the folders in this section:

Add a new folder or subfolder
  • In the Folder Pane, select the specified folder you will add a subfolder for, right click, and select New Folder from the context menu.
  • Now a text box is added below the specified folder, please enter a new folder name here.
  • Press the Enter key.


Notes:
(1) If you want to add an independent folder, you can right click the mailbox and select New Folder from the context menu.
(2) You can also add a new folder by Folder > New Folder on the ribbon.

Rename a folder
  • In the Folder Pane, select the specified folder you will rename, right click, and select Rename Folder from the context menu;
  • Now the specified folder name is editable, please type in the new folder name here;
  • Press the Enter key.


Notes:
(1) Outlook does not support to rename the default public folders, such as Inbox, Sent Items, Outbox, etc.
(2) You can also rename a folder by Folder > Rename Folder on the ribbon.

Copy a folder
  • In the Folder Pane, select the specified folder you will copy, right click, and select Copy Folder from the context menu;
  • In the Copy Folder dialog, please select the destination folder, and click the OK button;
  • Now the specified folder is copied and added as a subfolder of the destination folder.


Note: You can also copy a folder by Folder > Copy Folder on the ribbon.

Move a folder
  • In the Folder Pane, select the folder you will move, right click, and select Move Folder from the context menu;
  • In the Move Folder dialog, please select the destination folder, and click the OK button;
  • Now the selected folder is moved to the destination folder as a subfolder.


Notes:
(1) Outlook does not support to move the default public folders, such as Inbox, Sent Items, Deleted Items, etc.
(2) You can also move a folder by Folder > Move Folder on the ribbon.
(3) You can also move a folder by dragging and dropping it into the destination folder in the Folder Pane.

Delete a folder
  • In the Folder Pane, select the folder you will remove, right click, and select Delete Folder from the context menu;
  • In the popping out warning dialog, please click the Yes button;
  • Now the selected folder is deleted.


Notes:
(1) Outlook does not support to delete the default public folders, such as Inbox, Sent Items, Deleted Items, etc.
(2) You can also delete a folder by Folder > Delete Folder on the ribbon.
(3) You can also delete a folder by dragging and dropping it into the Deleted Items folder in the Folder Pane.

Clean up a folder
  • In the Folder Pane, select the folder you will clean up, right click, and select Clean Up Folder from the context menu;
  • In the Clean Up Folder dialog, please click the Clean Up Folder button.


Note: You can also clean up a folder by Folder > Clean Up Folder > Clean Up Folder on the ribbon.

Sort Folders
  • Sort Subfolders A to Z: Select a folder containing subfolders, right click, and select Sort Subfolders A to Z in the context menu, and then its subfolders will be sorted from A to Z.
  • Move Up: Select a folder you want to move up, right click, and select Move Up from the context menu. Then the selected folder will be moved up in the Folder Pane.
  • Move Down: Select a folder you want to move down, right click, and select Move Down from the context menu. Then the selected folder will be moved down in the Folder Pane.


Notes:
(1) You can also change a folder’s order by dragging it and dropping to the proper position In the Folder Pane.
(2) You can sort folders by Folder > Show All Folders A to Z on the ribbon.

View folder properties
  • In the Folder Pane, Select the folder whose properties you want to view, right click, and select Properties from the context menu;
  • Now in the Properties dialog, you will get the properties of the specified folder.

Expand and collapse a mailbox or folder

If you have added subfolders for a folder, there is a triangle  displaying before this folder in the Folder Pane. Click the triangle will expand the folder, and simultaneously the triangle changes to a black one . Click the black triangle will collapse the folder.


Peek

The Peek stays at the bottom of the Folder Pane. With it, you can:

View peek pane

When you move mouse over the icons (Calendar, People, or Notes), it will pop out corresponding peek pane.

Shift to other views
  • Clicking the icons will shift to the corresponding views. For example, clicking the calendar icon will shift to the Calendar view.
  • You can switch to Notes view or Folders view by clicking the ellipsis at the rightmost, and then click  Notes or Folders.
Navigation Options

In the Peek section, click the ellipsis at the rightmost, and then click Navigation Options in the context menu to open the Navigation Options dialog.

(1) Maximum number of visible items: For example, we change the number to 2, it will show the first two items in the Peek section.

(2) Compact Navigation: If untick this option, it shows big font instead of icons in the Peek section.

(3) Display in this order: Change the displaying orders of visible items in the Peek section. You can select an item in the Display in this order box, and click Move Up or Move Down to change its order.

(4) Restore default navigation options: In the Navigation Options dialog, click Reset and OK successively.


Minimize or expand the Folder Pane

By default, the Folder Pane expands and displays normally.

  • You can click doc outlook folder pane min max 1 at the upper-right corner of the Folder Pane to minimize it.
  • After minimizing, you can click doc outlook folder pane min max 2 at top of the Folder Pane to expand it temporarily.
  • If you need to expand the Folder Pane all the time, you can click doc outlook folder pane min max 3 to pin the Folder Pane after it is expanded.


Turn on or off the Folder Pane

If you want to turn off the Folder Pane completely, you can click View > Folder Pane > Off to get it done.

And click View > Folder Pane > Normal to turn on the Folder Pane.


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