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Binary "Priority Inbox" in Microsoft Outlook

Gmail’s “Priority Inbox” feature allows a user to separate messages in his/her inbox into multiple categories based on message attributes.

I use a simple inbox configuration in Gmail. In Google’s terms:

  1. Important and unread
  2. Unread
  3. Starred
  4. Everything else

Perhaps most importantly, among read messages, starred messages are presented above unstarred messages. I use a star to indicate that I need to take further action on an email at some point. The Exchange/Outlook alternative to starring a message is to “flag” it for follow-up.

To establish a simplistic “priority inbox” in Outlook, then, one needs to sort the inbox into two groups: flagged and unflagged. Outlook doesn’t offer this organization as a predined option; but it’s not difficult to set one up.

To do so, click the message list Arrange By header, go to Custom Arrangements, and choose Edit Custom Arrangements. Then, click New and give your arrangement a name. Here are the settings I use to mimic Priority Inbox: