How threaded email conversations work in Outlook Office 2010

Gmail Conversations is one of the features that made Gmail not only standout from other mail services competitors but also made it much more successful. However this feature wasn’t supported the exact way in the Email Clients like Microsoft Office Outlook until Office 2010 version came out.

Threaded conversation in Outlook 2010

Talking in broader sense, Outlook 2010 has improved a lot in terms of communication, conversation and bringing things we do regularly at one place ( e.g. Quick Steps ). In this post we will talk on How conversation are maintained in Outlook.

Threaded Email Header:

Outlook creates a threaded email based one certain factors but the most visible part you would see is the Mail Subject, though it is just part of factor.  All threaded mails are collapsed by default and is represented by Double Envelope. Like the one you see below.

Outlook Email Threaded Header

The interesting part of it is that it displays the latest replier in the From Column which changes when the latest replier gets changed.

When you click on the double envelope, it opens the thread and displays all the mails in the regular fashion.

Recursive Threaded Email Conversation

The next part which is noticeable is that threaded conversations are recursive. Outlook can track a thread inside thread.

Recursive threaded email

This makes it easier to understand when a reply is sent to any of the particular participant in the conversation or was it send to all of them.

Breaking the conversation

In case you want to split the whole conversation and break it into individual email there is an easy way to do it which is shown below. Notice how the arrow right below the double envelope changes accordingly.

Unthreaded email conversations

The threaded conversation has given a new charisma to Outlook, probably the most wanted feature which has become a part of our daily networking. Outlook has improved a lot more in communication part, few of which I am planning to cover in future.  Happy Threading the conversations!!.


  1. Thanks. This is good to know. However, can you please clarify if this feature in Outlook 2010 will be a very close approximation to the threaded email conversations as in Gmail?


  2. There seem to be two modes for the conversations:

    1. Split Conversation. Last message shown.
    2. Last Message Shown. Expand to see previous items.

    As their behavior is different, can you help identify what causes the mail conversations to react differently?


  3. Oh for the sake of not pandering to MS could you please oh please actually use this rubiish feature for 10 minutes and not just write about it for some content for google to index?

    FACT: All messages with no subject are bunched up together.

    THEREFORE: The GUID is not used, threaded conversations are not intelligently threaded and frankly its a load of pants.

    All that is used is the subject line which is absolute rubbish and nothing like gmail. Its just a headline feature to say “yep we got that too”.

  4. In OutlookWebApp, when I respond to an email a purple arrow will appear next to the subject. If, then, the original emailer sent a reply to my response I would know because the subject would be bolded, indicating there is a new email. Now, if someone else in my department opened that new reply and forgot to mark it as “unread” or didn’t tell me about it, I wouldn’t know it was there because it would no longer be bolded. All I would see is a purple arrow telling me it had been addressed. Is there a way around this? If not, can the threading be turned off?

  5. What if you do not want any threaded emails? I would like emails to just show up in order received. What is happening is sometimes I miss an email because it goes into a thread.


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