Stopping the Thread: How to Ignore Conversations in Outlook

Have you ever been copied on an email that does not pertain to you? Maybe you were included in the email distribution list in error, or it is just something you do not need to follow. Then, unfortunately you continue to receive emails about this topic every time the originator, or someone on the carbon copy list, does a reply all. This problem is all too common and frustrating. Luckily, there is a simple solution to this problem in Microsoft Outlook. Just use the handy Ignore Conversation feature. This feature eliminates all current and future emails that are part of a single email conversation. It is like a fast, automated Microsoft Outlook rule for a very specific and common situation.

What exactly is a “Conversation”?

An “Email Conversation” is a series of email messages that are in response to the original message. It is also sometimes referred to as an “Email Thread”, and is a major contributor to Email Overload. Whenever you send a message and someone replies, you have created a “Conversation”, or “Thread”. A conversation also includes all the “Reply”“Reply All” and “Forward” versions of that message. The “Conversation” (or “Thread”) is identified by messages having the exact same “Subject Line”. Luckily, Outlook is smart when it comes to conversations.  It treats all messages with“RE:” (for “Replies”) or “FW:” (for “Forwarded”) in the subject lines as part of the same conversation. This is very helpful since there can sometimes be many “RE:”s and “FW:”s in subject lines for heavily nested conversations.

How to use the Outlook Ignore Feature from Your Inbox

Select an Email from the targeted conversation in your Inbox.

Select the “Ignore” button (or use the “Ctrl+Del” keyboard shortcut).
Once you select to “Ignore Conversation”, the selected conversation will move to the “Deleted Items folder”.

Outlook also creates an internal rule that moves all future messages in the conversation to the “Deleted Items folder” as well.

How to Use the Ignore Feature from an Open Email

Just select the “Ignore” button from within the Email message.

Once you select to “Ignore Conversation”, the selected conversation will move to the “Deleted Items folder”.

Outlook also creates an internal rule that moves all future messages in the conversation to the “Deleted Items folder” as well.

How to Use the Ignore Feature from an Open Email

Just select the “Ignore” button from within the Email message.

You can use this feature to eliminate dozens (or hundreds?) of unnecessary emails from clogging-up your Inbox. This is a great feature to streamline your email triage sessions.

All done “auto-magically”, courtesy of the Microsoft Outlook “Ignore conversation” feature!

Simple and easy, with just a press of a single button!

What if you selected “Ignore Conversation” by mistake

As long as you haven’t emptied your “Deleted Items Folder”, you can “undo” your Ignore rule.

Select a message in the “Ignored” conversation from your “Deleted Items Folder”.

“Open” the message.

The “Ignore button” will be “highlighted” to indicate it is “activated” for that conversation.

Select “Ignore” to “deactivate” the feature.

Select “Stop Ignoring Conversation”

Any previously ignored messages in the Deleted Items folder will move back into the Inbox automatically.

And all new messages in the conversation will now remain in the Inbox.

So, there you have a simple feature that can quickly reduce a large volume of current and future Emails from your Inbox. This is a nice feature to support your daily email processing and triage routines.

2018-10-08T19:53:18+00:00