How to Stop Grouping Messages by Conversation in Outlook: A Guide

To stop grouping messages by conversation in Outlook, you need to go to the ‘View’ tab, click on ‘Show as Conversations’ to uncheck it, and then select ‘All folders’ or ‘This folder’ when prompted. After completing this action, your emails will be listed individually rather than grouped by thread.

After you’ve completed the action, your inbox and other folders in Outlook will display emails as separate messages. This means each email will be listed on its own, regardless of whether it is part of a conversation thread. This can make it easier to manage emails individually and can prevent you from missing important messages hidden within a conversation.


Email has fundamentally transformed the way we communicate, both in our personal lives and in the workplace. Among various email clients, Microsoft Outlook remains a popular choice for its comprehensive features and integration with other Microsoft Office tools. However, not every feature is a hit with every user, and one such feature is the conversation view. This view groups emails together based on their subject line, creating a single thread for related messages. While this can be handy for keeping track of conversations, it can also be confusing and cumbersome for those who prefer to view each email individually.

For some users, this grouped format can cause messages to be buried within a thread, making it hard to spot new or important emails. It can also be challenging to quickly locate a specific message within a conversation. Therefore, knowing how to disable this feature can be crucial for improving your email management in Outlook. The process is simple, and whether you’re a busy professional or someone who prefers a more traditional email view, this guide will show you how to ungroup your messages quickly and efficiently.

Step by Step Tutorial to Stop Grouping Messages by Conversation in Outlook

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re aiming to achieve. Following the steps below, you’ll deactivate the conversation view in Outlook, which means your emails will no longer be grouped together based on their subject lines. They will be displayed as individual messages, making it easier for you to scan through your emails and manage them as you see fit.

Step 1: Open the ‘View’ tab

To begin, click on the ‘View’ tab in the ribbon at the top of your Outlook window.

The ‘View’ tab is where you can adjust various settings that control how your emails are displayed. Here, you’ll find options to change the layout of the reading pane, sort your emails, and more.

Step 2: Click on ‘Show as Conversations’ to toggle it off

In the ‘Messages’ group, you’ll see an option labeled ‘Show as Conversations.’ Click on this to uncheck the box next to it.

When ‘Show as Conversations’ is checked, Outlook groups messages with the same subject line together. Unchecking it will turn this feature off.

Step 3: Select ‘All folders’ or ‘This folder’

After unchecking ‘Show as Conversations,’ a dialogue box will appear, asking if you want to apply this setting to all folders or just the current folder you’re in. Choose the option that best suits your needs.

If you select ‘All folders,’ the conversation view will be disabled across your entire Outlook account. If you choose ‘This folder,’ only the folder you’re currently viewing will switch to the individual message view.


Easier Email ManagementDisabling conversation view allows for quicker scanning of emails as each message is listed separately.
Prevents Missing EmailsIndividual email listings reduce the likelihood of overlooking important emails buried in a conversation thread.
CustomizationUsers have the flexibility to apply the setting to all folders or just specific ones, allowing for personalized email organization.


Potentially Cluttered InboxWithout grouping, your inbox may appear more cluttered with individual messages, which can be overwhelming for some users.
Loss of Conversation ContextBy disabling the conversation view, you may lose the context provided by having all related messages grouped together.
Increased Effort to Track ConversationsIt may require extra effort to track and manage ongoing conversations when messages are not grouped.

Additional Information

While the steps to ungroup messages by conversation in Outlook are straightforward, it’s essential to understand why you might want to make this change. Grouping messages by conversation can be helpful for keeping track of lengthy discussions, but it can also lead to a cluttered and confusing inbox, especially if you’re involved in multiple conversations with similar subject lines.

By disabling this feature, you have the advantage of treating each email as a separate entity, allowing for greater control over how you organize and prioritize your messages. However, it’s worth noting that this might not be the best choice for everyone. Some users might find that grouping messages by conversation helps them to maintain a cleaner inbox and keep related emails together.

When you’re making the decision to stop grouping messages by conversation, think about your email habits and what’s most important to you. Is it easier for you to manage one conversation thread, or do you prefer to have a more granular view of your inbox? Your workflow and personal preferences will ultimately guide your choice.


  1. Open the ‘View’ tab.
  2. Click on ‘Show as Conversations’ to toggle it off.
  3. Select ‘All folders’ or ‘This folder’ to apply the setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will disabling conversation view affect my email sorting options?

No, disabling conversation view will not affect how you sort your emails by date, sender, size, or other criteria. It only changes how emails are grouped.

Can I easily switch back to conversation view if I change my mind?

Yes, you can easily switch back to conversation view by following the same steps and checking the ‘Show as Conversations’ option again.

Does this setting affect how my emails are displayed on mobile devices?

This setting will only affect how emails are displayed in the Outlook desktop application or web version. Mobile apps may have separate settings for conversation view.

Is there a way to apply this setting to only certain email threads?

Outlook does not currently offer the option to disable conversation view for specific email threads. The setting is applied either to all folders or to the current folder you’re in.

Will I lose any emails if I disable conversation view?

No, you will not lose any emails by disabling conversation view. It only changes the way emails are displayed, not their actual presence in your inbox.


There you have it, a simple yet effective way to stop grouping messages by conversation in Outlook. It’s a small change that can make a big difference in how you manage your emails. Whether you’re someone who gets easily overwhelmed by a crowded inbox or you just prefer a more traditional email layout, taking control of how your messages are displayed is a key step toward better email productivity.

Remember, Outlook is a powerful tool with lots of customization options, so don’t be afraid to explore and tweak settings until you find the setup that works best for you. Happy emailing!

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