Editor’s note 1/20/2017:
Update on rollout for commercial Office 365 customers: We are continuing our rollout of Focused Inbox. Here is an updated availability timeline by platform.
|Platform||Required build||Users in First Release||Users in Standard Release|
|iOS||Already available||Already available||Already available|
|Android||Already available||Already available||Already available|
|Mac1||15.26+||Began rollout in November ’16. Expected completion by April ‘17||Rollout will take 6-8 weeks after First Release completes rollout|
|Windows 10 Mobile||TBD||Rollout begins with select audiences in April ’17.||Begins after First Release completes.|
|Outlook 2016 for Windows(1), (2)||TBD||TBD||TBD|
(1) requires the Office 365 subscription versions of the clients. Focused Inbox will not be delivered to Outlook for Mac 2011, or the perpetual versions of Outlook 2013 for Windows and Outlook 2016 for Windows.
(2) While we have completed the Focused Inbox feature, we still have some work to complete to deliver the update to Outlook 2016 for Windows. We will update this blog again when we have an updated launch date.
Focused Inbox—focus on the emails that matter most
For many, the inbox is the command center for their day. It’s the way to keep track of what is going on and what needs to get done. Outlook’s Focused Inbox makes this process easier by helping you focus on the emails that matter most to you. It separates your inbox into two tabs—Focused and Other. Emails that matter most to you are in the Focused tab, while the rest remain easily accessible—but out of the way in the Other tab. You’ll be informed about email flowing to “Other”, and you can switch between tabs at any time to take a quick look.
For more about what makes Focused Inbox great, see Outlook helps you focus on what matters to you.
Admin controls available for Focused Inbox:
Tenant admins will have controls to ensure certain business critical communications, like HR, Payroll, etc., always land in the user’s Focused tab of the Inbox. These whitelists can be set up using mail flow rules from the Admin center or via PowerShell cmdlets. After these are set up successfully, all future messages that satisfy these mail flow rules would be delivered in the Focused tab of the Inbox on Outlook clients that support Focused Inbox.
Tenant admins will have controls to enable/disable Focused Inbox on Outlook clients for all current and future mailboxes or select mailboxes in their tenant. These controls will be available via PowerShell cmdlets.
If tenant admins enable/disable Focused Inbox, the Focused Inbox experience on Outlook clients would be turned ON/OFF for these users the next time they boot the client.
These controls do not block the availability of the feature for these users. If the users so desire, they can still re-enable the feature individually again on each of their clients.
Transition from Clutter
Focused Inbox is a refinement and improvement of a previous feature called Clutter. Clutter’s purpose was also to help you focus on the most important items in your inbox, but it did so by moving “Other” email to a separate folder. Focused Inbox makes it easier for you to stay on top of incoming email without having to visit another folder.
Active Clutter users will have to opt-in to Focused Inbox and will be able to do so from an in-app prompt in Outlook. After they opt-in, they will no longer receive less important email in the “Clutter” folder. Instead, email will be split between the Focused and Other tabs in their inbox.
The same machine learned algorithm that moved items to the Clutter folder now powers Focused Inbox, meaning that any emails that were set to move to Clutter will now be moved to Other. The learning and training that users invested into Clutter would be transitioned to Focused Inbox without any effort on the user’s part.
Users can keep using the existing Clutter experience through the transition. However, after the transition period, Clutter will be completely replaced by Focused Inbox. Tenant admins would be proactively notified before this change is made.
If you have previously disabled Clutter for users in your organization, we will not automatically re-enable Clutter for those users, nor will we automatically enable Focused Inbox for those users.
Roll out of Focused Inbox
Focused Inbox will be rolled out in a staged manner in accordance with the change management policies for Office 365. The feature will be first rolled out to customers who have selected First Release cadence. Once it’s determined that feature is ready for broader audience, it will be rolled out to everyone in the service, including customers who have selected Standard Release cadence.
Frequently asked questions:
- What happens to the Clutter folder after a user enables Focused Inbox?
After Focused Inbox is enabled for a mailbox, Clutter folder would be demoted to a regular user folder. All regular user created folder operations would be supported, including delete.
- Could admins clean up the Clutter folder for their users without enabling Focused Inbox?
We will enable admins to clean up the Clutter folder for their users, if they so desire. This will be supported via the current PowerShell cmdlets.
- Is Focused Inbox available to on-premises users?
Focused Inbox only applies to Office 365 Exchange Online tenants and users.