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Introducing Follow in inbox and other improvements for managing group emails in Outlook

 

Introducing 'Follow in inbox' and other improvements for managing group emails in Outlook

The latest set of updates for Groups in Outlook introduces new ways to manage the group emails you receive in your inbox. These updates are, in large part, based on customer feedback about the Groups subscription model. That model has now been replaced with Follow in inbox.

 

We hope you enjoy these improvements!

 

Note: Users of Groups in Outlook do not need to take any actions to adopt these improvements. They will be migrated to the new model automatically without affecting their existing subscription settings.

 

To follow or not to follow?

Groups in Outlook provides shared workspaces where individuals can collectively get things done. When you set up a group, you get a shared workspace inside Outlook consisting of a conversations hub, group calendar, a place to save and share files and group notes, planning tools, and more. While group members can collaborate and have discussions inside this shared workspace, they can also choose to follow the group, which means they’ll receive copies of all group conversations and events in their personal inbox.

 

Conversely, if members want to engage with a group in the shared workspace only and don’t want emails from the group in their inbox, they can stop following the group at any time but continue to be a member of the group.

 

The group’s shared workspace has all the conversations ever shared between members. Regardless of whether members follow the group, the conversations hub inside the group’s shared space will always contain all the group’s discussions and history in its original form for current and new members to read at any time.

 

Note: Only the member knows whether they’re following a group in their inbox. A system or IT administrator in your organization can change this member setting without prior notification.

 

Set up members to follow the group

When creating a group in Outlook, you can decide whether members will follow the group in their inbox. Following is recommended when members will be sharing important or urgent content and you don’t want them to miss anything. This is similar to how a distribution list works.

 

To set up members to follow the group:

  1. Create the group.
  2. Check Send all group conversations and events to members’ inboxes.

 

1.png

 

Note: this sets your group's default properties for the members who will join the group in the future.

 

If you don’t select this checkbox, members will only receive group events in their inboxes, and follow-up replies on their posts when they participate in a group conversation or initiate a discussion with the group. This is recommended when the content being shared in the group doesn’t require members’ immediate attention but can be reviewed at will inside the group’s shared space.

 

Changed your mind?

As a group owner you can always go back to the Edit Group page and change this setting. Here’s how it will affect members:

  • If members are not following the group and you set them to Follow group in inbox, all group members will now receive all conversations and events in their inbox.
  • If members are following the group and you change to Not following in inbox, the change will only affect new members who join the group in the future. Existing members will stay as is.

 

Members: How to follow and stop following groups

You can follow or stop following in a variety of ways, depending on the version of Outlook you’re using.

 

Group welcome email

All Outlook users when they join or are added to a group receive an email in their inbox welcoming them to the newly created group.

The welcome email informs each member about how this group was set up, including whether members are following it. Here’s an example from a welcome email.

 

2.png

 

To modify this setting, just click Change.

 

Group email footer

Each email that you receive in your inbox from a group that you are following contains a footer that clearly specifies the origin group for that email message.

 

3.png

 

Along with the name of the group is a link to stop following it in your inbox. Click this link to stop any other conversations or events from being delivered to your inbox.

 

Important note: when you stop following a group using the email footer you will also not receive any events from that group in your inbox.

 

Outlook 2016

The new group card shows whether you’re following the group. To Stop following in inbox or Follow in inbox, hover over the group name in the TO or CC line of an email and click the dropdown menu as shown below. The group card shows your existing setting and an option to change it.

 

4.png

 

Outlook on the web

The new group card shows whether you’re following the group. Hover over the group name in the TO or CC line of an email. The group card shows your existing Follow in inbox setting and an option to toggle it ON or OFF.

 

5.png

 

Outlook 2016 Mac

The new group card shows whether you’re following the group. and check or uncheck the Follow in inbox box. 

 

6.png

 

The new group card shows whether you’re following the group. Tap the group name in the To or CC line of an email. The group card shows your existing Follow in inbox setting and an option to toggle it ON or OFF.

 

Here are examples from Outlook on iPhone and Android. 

 

Outlook on iPhoneOutlook on iPhone

 
Outlook on Android phoneOutlook on Android phone

 

Managing group email from group shared space

When you’re inside your group’s shared space, you can use the group card or group header to manage your group email.

 

Outlook 2016 and Outlook on the web

The group header in the shared workspace now tells you whether you’re following the group. Use the dropdown to select Follow in inbox or Stop following in inbox.

 

Outlook 2016Outlook 2016

 

 

Outlook on the webOutlook on the web

 

Hovering over your current state shows exactly what you’re receiving in your inbox from this group. Here’s an example of the “not following” state.

Outlook 2016Outlook 2016

Outlook on the webOutlook on the web

 

Outlook 2016 Mac

Coming soon.

 

Outlook Mobile

When you open a group’s shared space, you’ll find the name of the group at the top. Tap the group name to open the group card, and then toggle Follow in inbox ON or OFF.

 

 

Outlook on iPhoneOutlook on iPhone

  
Outlook on Android phoneOutlook on Android phone

 

Don’t want any group messages in your inbox?

If you join a group or are added to a group but don’t want to receive any group messages or events in your inbox, and you’re using Outlook on the web, just add the group to your Favorites. This gives you quick and easy visibility into the group activity. Then you can completely turn off group messages in your inbox.

 

Important note: once you turn off all group messages from inbox, you will not receive replies in inbox to your posts, regardless of whether they were created from your inbox or the group shared space. You will only receive messages where you were @mentioned and broadcast messages (@all) in your inbox.

 

Outlook 2016

Coming soon.

 

Outlook on the web

To turn off group email from inbox:

  1. From your group space, click 16.png.
  2. Click Manage group email.
  3. Select Don’t receive any group messages.

17.png

 

Outlook 2016 Mac

Coming soon.

 

Outlook Mobile

Coming soon.

 

How can I get someone's attention in a group?

Now that you have lots ways to manage group emails inside your inbox, and every group member is free to choose how they want to engage with a group, how do you get another member’s attention when participating in a group discussion? Just type the “@” symbol followed by their name, e.g., @sara davis. This is known as @mentions in Outlook.

 

When using @mentions with someone’s name, the email will always be delivered to their inbox, regardless of how they’re managing their group email.

 

In Outlook on the web, type @all while composing a message to it to every group member’s inbox, regardless of how they’re managing their group email.

 

How can I manage a single conversation in my inbox?

If you’re following a group but aren’t interested in a particular conversation, you can ignore it. Once you ignore a conversation, all subsequent messages in that conversation will be deleted without going to your inbox.

 

To ignore a message or a conversation in Outlook 2016 and Outlook on the web, right-click on the message and select Ignore.

 

Outlook on the webOutlook on the web

 

I don’t see improvements in my Outlook yet

We are rolling out these improvements in a phased manner. So, if you don’t see these improvements in your version of Outlook yet, please be patient. We’ll get these features to you soon!

 

Thank you for all the feedback. Let us know what you think of these latest updates.

1 Comment
Valued Contributor

cool, when will @all broadcasts be available in Outlook 2016?