View messages by conversation or thread

Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003

To help you find and keep track of e-mail items, Outlook has "arrangements" that you can use to organize the messages in your Inbox. Each arrangement is based on a predefined grouping and sorting order. The Arrange by Conversation arrangement shows your e-mail items grouped by message subject or "thread." The threads are sorted by date, and then the messages within each thread are sorted based on who replied to whom.

The default arrangement used to view messages is the Date arrangement. You can find out how to switch to Arrange by Conversation or one of the other 13 standard arrangements below.

View menu, Arrange By command

The Arrange By command (View menu) has a variety of predefined arrangements. You can also click Custom to create your own arrangement.

View messages by conversation or thread

  • On the View menu, point to Arrange By, and then click Conversation.

 Tip   If you are viewing your Inbox in multi-line layout, you can quickly change from one arrangement to another by right-clicking the Arranged By column heading, and then clicking the arrangement you want.

If you apply Arrange by Conversation to the messages in the message list in your Inbox, when you receive a new message, the entire conversation that it is a part of moves to the top of your message list.

 Note   By default, only unread and flagged messages are displayed. Otherwise, the conversation remains collapsed until you click the arrow next to the conversation heading.

Arranged By: Conversation

Callout 1 Click the arrow next to the conversation heading to see all messages in the conversation.
Callout 2 This message has no arrow; it has no replies associated with it.
Callout 3 Messages are indented to show you who replied to whom and when they replied; this helps you keep track of the conversation or e-mail message thread.
Applies to:
Outlook 2003