Outlook 2010 view unread messages.

Why does Outlook 2010 make viewing unread messages so hard?

The unread message view can be restored to Outlook 2010 fairly easily.

In many past versions of Outlook there was a simple list of message views available and one of the choices was ‘Unread Messages’. It’s a popular option because many people use the Read/Unread status to mark messages that need action (eg reply, forwarding etc).

Outlook 2007 and before had a straight-forward pull-down list of views:

Outlook - simple View listing.jpg image from Outlook 2010 view unread messages. at Office-Watch.com

In Outlook 2010 this list has been greatly reduced and turned into a Gallery:

Outlook 2010 - default views for email.jpg image from Outlook 2010 view unread messages. at Office-Watch.com

We’re not sure that the Ribbon based gallery option was appropriate in this case since it takes up more space than a simple list. The icons are of limited help since user-defined views can’t get their own icons. Compare that with Word 2007/2010 Style Gallery which has a helpful preview of styles but users can revert to the standard pull-down style list. Sadly the Outlook team didn’t make similar choices.

For reasons passing understanding, Microsoft chose to remove ‘Unread Messages’ from the default views. The nearest equivalent is ‘Important Messages’ which relies on users tagging messages into the ‘Important’ category.


Restoring Unread Messages

The main step is to create (re-create) a message view showing only Unread Messages.

On the View tab click on ‘Change Views’ then ‘Manage Views…’

Outlook 2010 - Manage Views dialog.jpg image from Outlook 2010 view unread messages. at Office-Watch.com

(note that the Manage Views dialog hasn’t changed in Outlook 2010 despite the ribbon interface).

Choose the View that you’d like to show with Unread Messages and click ‘Copy …’ then give the cloned view a name (‘Unread Messages’).

You’re then shown the Advanced View Settings. Choose Filter | More Choices and set ‘Only items that are:’ on and choose ‘Unread’

Outlook 2010 - Set filter to Unread messages.jpg image from Outlook 2010 view unread messages. at Office-Watch.com

Click OK three times to return to Outlook proper.

Now when you choose ‘Change View’ there’s an ‘Unread Messages’ option.

Outlook 2010 - Change Views - Add to QAT.jpg image from Outlook 2010 view unread messages. at Office-Watch.com

Right-click on the gallery to see an option to add it to the Quick Access Toolbar for faster access.