Email Clutter Feature

Email ClutterOffice 365 Email Clutter Folder


Microsoft’s implementation of Clutter for email has been seen by some as a time saver while others are frustrated when a message comes up ‘missing’. Read on for a few notes about how to make clutter work effectively for you.


What types of email go into the Clutter folder?

The definitive answer is – it depends. Clutter functions differently for every person. Using machine learning, Clutter learns by ‘watching’ what you do with emails in your inbox and analyzes those actions to determine the importance of a message depending on that handling.  The actions you take with an email (open, delete, respond, move, etc) are all part of a complex analysis to determine whether similar emails received should be sent to the Clutter folder.

What signals does Clutter ‘watch’?

Although much of the learning is done through monitoring normal activity, there are few strong signals that will trigger emails to go into, or be excluded from, the Clutter folder.  For instance, moving an email from your inbox to the Clutter folder is a strong indication that you want similar emails moved to Clutter as well.  Deleting a message from your inbox, or even leaving it unread for a long period of time, is another action that send a strong indication that similar messages should be moved to Clutter.  Alternately, opening a message(not just a preview), replying to an email, or even moving a message from Clutter to Inbox sends strong signals that similar messages should not be considered clutter and should be kept in your Inbox.

What is the Clutter Summary email?

On days when new or different types of messages are sent to Clutter, summary emails are sent to inform you about new types of messages considered to be Clutter.  A review of these summaries is important to be sure email is being processed correctly and to ensure important emails are not lost to the Clutter folder.  In addition, periodic reviews of the Clutter folder may be appropriate to be sure something hasn’t been missed.

Can I turn off Clutter?

If you believe the Clutter function is not working for you, there is a means to disable it for your email account.  Please note that when disabled, emails already in your Clutter folder will not move back to your Inbox automatically.

  • To shut off Clutter:
    • Log into your email account at
    • Click on the settings ‘gear’ in the top right corner
    • Type ‘Clutter’ in the search box at the top of the window that pops up
    • Click on the search result called Clutter (Choose whether to separate items identified as clutter)
    • After Clutter is selected, there are two options that must be unchecked to stop separating clutter.  Uncheck both the ‘Separate items identified as clutter’ and ‘Send more notifications about messages that are separated as clutter’ checkboxes.
    • Click Save just above the section containing the checkboxes.