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Thursday, October 18, 2018

What’s the Difference Between Junk Email, Clutter, and Focused Inbox in Outlook?

If you use a recent version of Outlook, you’ve probably noticed a Junk Email folder, a Clutter folder, and something called Focused Inbox. All of these seem to affect where your mail ends up, but it might not be obvious why or when this happens. Here’s how they work and how to turn them off if you don’t like them.

Note: These features are available in the Outlook web app, Outlook 365, Outlook 2016, and Outlook 2019. If you’re using an older version of Outlook, you won’t see them.

What’s Junk Email For?

Junk Email is the simplest to explain: It’s the folder where Outlook sends mail it thinks is spam. This works just like the spam folders in other email clients, like Gmail’s Spam category.

If you work in a corporate environment, you might not see much in here, because a lot of companies apply filters to stop spam before it ever gets to your mailbox. If you’re using Outlook to access a web account from the likes of Google or Yahoo! then you also might not see much in here, as spam isn’t normally downloaded to your client.

If you do see messages in your Junk Email folder, you should follow your company’s policies on junk email. If you’ve got junk email in your personal Outlook then follow the usual precautions: don’t open any attachments, only open the mail if you recognize the sender’s email address, and if you’re in any doubt delete the mail (Shift+Delete will delete the mail completely, bypassing your Deleted Items folder).

What’s Clutter For?

Clutter is a separate folder where Outlook sends messages that it doesn’t think are spam, but also doesn’t think are important enough to clutter up your inbox. This includes things like regular newsletters, coupon emails, and so on.

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