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

Published 08-31-2017 06:42 PM 39.4K Views


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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




Outlook 2016 Mac

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




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.



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.

Valued Contributor

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

Occasional Visitor

I am frustrated hoping someone can help out here.  I have outlook 365, also set up acct, and also have the outlook android ap.


I have been looking for detailed instructions that a normal person can follow that will tell you how to set up all 3 accounts so they sync with each other and share data.


you can fine bits and pcs online but nothing shows how to integrate all 3


outlook 2016 is my main platform that i have 1000's of emails in saved folders and 3 different email accounts 2 are imap accounts and one is a pop3 account


can anyone send me step by step instructions to integrate all 3 so they talk to each other and sync.

Occasional Contributor

Thanks for providing this comprehensive view. In Outlook Online it's called "Follow" and in Outlook 2016 it's called "Subscribe". From a user's perspective it's a bit confusing. @Ravin Sachdeva - Is there a reason for having different naming conventions for the same thing?


Hi @Ulrika Hedlund - great feedback, and we are one step ahead of you! This change has been done for all Outlook end-points, for Outlook 2016 this is currently rolling out. You will soon see the changes once your organization has this enabled, I'd say in the coming weeks. Moving on, you should not see the word "subscribe" anywhere inside Outlook. 

Occasional Visitor



Senior Member

What if you're not using any group features at all?

We're a small company and we communicate directly with each other and we definitely don't need any group emails, but still we have to live with the Group folder cluttering the folder pane.

Would it be such a big task for Microsoft to make such features optional.

(We have the same problem with Conversation history and RSS-feeds! Why should I have folders I never gonna use, I've enough problems fitting in the folder structures I need. You can delete them through Mfcmapi, but soon enough they are restored through any update).

Extremely annoying!

Valued Contributor

For what its worth, I agree that with you @Mats Samuelsson, many admins what customization toggles for Office 365 Group features.

There is a new change about to roll out (or already is?) where new Groups created by Microsoft Teams don't show up in Outlook by default.


@Mats Samuelsson and @Ivan Unger - We hear you  and understand your concern. We are working on making some changes to Groups which will enable more customizability for you to see only the groups you want inside Outlook, and like wise on Teams. Please bear with us for a bit. 


Meanwhile, the Groups header in the Left Nav/Side Bar can be collapsed if you do not want to see any groups next to your folders. Any group that is important for you can be added to your favorites list in case you don't want to miss anything important. 


Does that help?

Senior Member

Ravin Sachdeva, what you suggest doesn't help at all!

What to do with the Groups folders if you are not using them at all, or never will be using them! The group header is just taking up valuable space on the display!

Occasional Visitor

Is this particular property exposed in the Microsoft Graph REST API somewhere, potentially as an extended property?  It would be useful to be able to determine if a particular user has this property turned on or off.

Occasional Visitor

Same as @Mats Samuelsson I'm also looking for a feature similar to Gmail, where it allows you to forward emails to members and delete from group, so it doesn't take a space. We hardly log into group to view emails as they are forwarded to members. And from time to time, I get a notification that mailbox is full. When there are more than 500 emails, you can't bulk delete all as it throws JS error.


emptyTableView.ts:63 Uncaught (in promise) TypeError: Cannot read property 'mailboxInfo' of undefined
    at emptyTableView.ts:63
    at new Promise (<anonymous>)
    at emptyTableView.ts:46
    at action.js:6
    at i (legacyApplyMiddleware.js:20)
    at t.promiseMiddleware (index.ts:4)

Also, we can't view really old emails in a group. When I select all, it says 54K emails selected and get above error, but when I manually delete there are only 200 or so recent emails are visible.


So what's the option to clean delete everything in the group mailbox folder?

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Last update:
‎Sep 05 2017 10:59 AM
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