Why you should use Clutter in Office 365

Messy DeskOne of our favorite features in Office 365 is Clutter. It’s an awesome tool for cutting down on the amount of email (and distracting email notifications) you get in your inbox every day.

Unfortunately, a lot of people, especially new Office 365 users, don’t know what Clutter is or how helpful it can be.

What is Clutter in Office 365?

Clutter is a feature in Outlook in Office 365 that moves non-urgent and low priority emails to a separate folder (called “Clutter”). It uses machine learning to figure out what emails you read regularly and what emails you tend to delete or pass over and makes decisions about what to move based on that. It uses this information to make decisions about what to move.

How does Clutter filter emails?

Clutter looks at a few different parts of the message to determine if the message should be sent to the Clutter folder: the sender, if you’re the only recipient (or if you’re part of a larger group), its importance and whether it’s part of an email chain you’ve replied to already.

There are few people it will never filter emails from including you, anyone you report to, and anyone who reports to you.

It will continue learning, so if your email habits change, it will adapt and change with you.

How to “train” Clutter

From our experience, Clutter is pretty good at learning what you are and aren’t reading. But it may not always be perfect. If you want to help it learn a little faster, you can.

Just manually move emails you want to go to Clutter from your Inbox to the Clutter folder (either drag and drop it or right click and select “Move to Clutter”). Soon, it will learn to move these emails on its own.

You can also do the reverse – move email from Clutter to your Inbox if you want to train it to send those emails to your Inbox. The only time we’ve really had to do this was for email notifications that needed to come to our Inbox but didn’t actually need to be read.

We recommend checking your Clutter folder every so often to see if any emails that may have gone there without you wanting them to.

How is it different than spam/junk mail filtering?

One of the most common questions we get about Clutter in Office 365 is “How is it different than spam or junk mail filtering?”

The short answer is spam/junk mail filtering is the unsolicited email you don’t want to be getting at all (and could potentially be dangerous). Email going to your Clutter is the email you still want to be getting but are lower priority.

If you have an email in your Clutter folder (or Inbox!) that you’d rather not get at all, see if you can unsubscribe from it (if it’s an automated marketing email, by law it should have an unsubscribe link somewhere around the bottom).

How do I turn Clutter on/off?

Clutter is turned on by default in Office 365. If you’d rather get all your emails in your inbox, you can turn Clutter off.

To do this, in Outlook, right-click on the Clutter folder and select “Manager Clutter.” A new window will open. In this window, uncheck the box that says “Separate items identified as clutter” (you may have two options to select from instead of a check box – if so, select “Don’t separate items identified as clutter”). Hit save.

If you have Clutter turned off, and want to turn it back on, just go through the same process and make sure the “Separate items identified as clutter” option is checked or selected and save.

You can also get to the options screen in your Office 365 dashboard page by going to Mail > Settings > Options > Mail > Automatic Processing > Clutter.

We’re big fans of Clutter. Email can be a huge time suck, so it’s nice to have a feature that helps you sort through it and focus on what needs your attention right now.

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