Microsoft’s Clutter Folder

Microsoft introduced a new mailbox feature in Office 365 called “Clutter.” Here’s how to make it work for you.

Sorting Your Mail

Sorting Your Mail

Clutter was introduced in Office 365 and showed up in your Outlook without your asking for it. You might have seen an email from Microsoft welcoming you to this new feature with a bit on how to use it. Here’s a little more information and a few tips to make it work for you.

Clutter was designed as a step between your Spam folder and your InBox. It’s for the messages that you may want at some point, but don’t read right away. Sales from companies you actually buy from, newsletters, and the like all get put there. But, how does Microsoft know what’s an important InBox message and what messages should go to Clutter?

The simple answer is that it watches what you do with the messages. Messages you don’t read right away are watched and if you regularly ignore a particular message type it will get moved to Clutter. Conversations where you write back or at least read the message will stay in your InBox. Unlike similar features in Gmail and Yahoo, Microsoft does this without actually reading or analyzing the message itself; only what you do with it.

So what do you do when the algorithm gets it wrong? Just drag the message where you want it. In Outlook on the desktop, you drag the message back to the InBox if it gets put in Clutter. Outlook will learn the next time you get a message from that sender. Likewise, drag messages into Clutter to teach it to sort them there in the future. If you are using the OWA (Outlook Web App in a browser), you can right click to move and mark messages as Clutter or Not Clutter as you please.

It’s a great new feature, but seems to have confused a good number of people as to how it actually works. I hope that I’ve shed some light on the subject. I find it very useful, but like most things needs a little work to get it to serve you the way you want it to.

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