clip_image001Outlook 2013 introduced some changes to the way the standard inbox view is presented. It’s basically a good thing, though if you have a lot of email and a small screen, it will certainly reduce the number of items on your default view. This means that once an email is (say) 15 from the top on your mailbox, then it’s off the screen and, for some people, it might as well be dead.

You could adopt an Inbox Zero policy and keep your inbox to as few items as possible, or you could admit defeat and become a piler like most people. We have computers to search stuff for us, so why does it matter if we delete or file things away? Meh.

Anyway, there are a few tweaks you can make to your Outlook view if you don’t much like the new version. Let’s look at a comparison between Outlook 2010 and 2013:

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Outlook 2010                                     

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Outlook 2013

It’s easy to see the screen real-estate effect – though 2013 is clearer, it’s a little larger.

clip_image005If you’d like to restore the view to more like 2010:

  • In the main Outlook window, go to the View tab, and look under View Settings
  • Click on the Conditional Formatting button.
  • Create a new rule (Add), and call it something like “Look like 2010”. Choose a Font by clicking on the Font button, and select “Smaller”. You may want to try some italic and bold settings just to spice things up a bit, but you can always go back and change it later.
  • Press OK, and when you are prompted, say that it’s OK for this rule to run on everything (since we haven’t created a condition for it to apply).

Now this will apply to all messages and will reset the default view to have smaller “From” lines.

clip_image007If you’d like to change the way unread messages are displayed (where, in Outlook 2010, they were just emboldened and with an appropriate message icon), repeat the exercise above but instead of creating a new rule, just edit the “Unread Messages” rule – set the font and colour, and party on!

There are many other inbox formatting tips which will take the views back into the mists of time – if there’s demand to find out more, maybe I’ll cover them in future ToWs.